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Thursday, January 09, 2020

A Cord Of Three.....(4)




“What did I miss?” Azuka said, glancing at Adaora, before slowly lowering her body to the sofa across Mina. She was eight months pregnant and found that she had to move slower than she used to. She always told them jokingly now that she finally understood what Mina meant by waddling.

Adaora sat opposite her before speaking, “Mina is on some weight-loss drug.”
Her baby kicked at that moment and Azuka rubbed her belly and said, “I came here to eat, biko. Don’t give me news that’ll spoil my appetite.”

“It’s not a drug,” Mina said, eyeing Adaora before continuing, “They are herbal supplements.”

“One of those that seem to be the rave now?” Azuka asked. When she got no response from Mina, she said, “You shouldn’t even be thinking about stuff like that, you know.”

“She said that Baridi had been putting more pressure on her to lose weight,” Ada said.
“Is that enough reason for her to put her life at risk, again?” Azuka asked, almost angrily.

“You don’t understand,” Mina said, turning pleading eyes on her friends. “I have to do all that I can to keep my husband attracted to me. If he wants me slimmer, getting slimmer’s not such a big deal is it? I’m not putting myself at risk of anything too.”

“How can you say that to us, Mina?” Azuka said heatedly. “I was the one that found you, remember? It is a big deal, don’t you get it?’ Turning to Adaora, she said, “I’m sorry, Ada, I have to go, abeg. I can’t deal with this senseless drama now.”

As she stood to leave, Mina quickly got up and held her hand, “Don’t go, Zuky. I’m so sorry, guys. I did what I thought was best in the circumstance.”

“Zuky, abeg no go. I slaved in the kitchen all morning and if you leave, who wan chop all that food? Dozie’s out with the kids and they won’t be back till evening. Mina’s starving herself so she won’t eat much. Moreover, I made special food for my god daughter,” Adaora said.

“My god daughter,” Mina corrected, still holding Azuka’s hand.
At that Azuka started laughing and hugged Mina. “You have to stay safe, Mina. You just have to.”

              ***

With her head on Baridi’s chest and one of his arms draped across her back, later that night, Mina dreaded what she had to do. She had promised her friends to have a talk with Baridi and no matter how she felt about that, she knew that was one promise that she could not break.

“Babe, I need to talk to you,” she finally said.
“Hmmm. That sounds serious. What’s up?” Baridi said, stroking her hair.

“There’s something I have to tell you.”

His hand stilled. “What has got you this worried?”
“You remember when I had Soprinye and had to supplement with infant formula?”

“Yeah, I do. You said he ate a lot and wasn’t getting full anymore.”
“He did eat a lot but the reason he wasn’t getting full was because I wasn’t producing enough milk for him.”

“Hmmm. It’s not a big deal, really. He thrived beautifully, in spite of that. Don’t beat yourself up because of that.”

“You don’t understand.” Mina said, pushing away from her husband’s body to sit.

“What don’t I understand?” Baridi asked, in confusion.

“It was my fault that I wasn’t making enough milk for him, only I didn’t know that at the time.” When Baridi wanted to speak again, Mina held up a hand and said, “Please let me finish.”

“I started taking diet pills when he was nine weeks old,” she started only to be interrupted by Baridi.

“Diet pills? Whatever for?”

“I had started gaining weight after I had him, have you forgotten? You even teased me a number of times about that. The day you made a crack about my tummy still looking like Soprinye’s twin had been forgotten inside, I decided to do something about that.

 During my post-partum check-up the previous week, the doctor had told me that I could start exercising so I quickly registered in a gym. Two weeks later, I hadn’t noticed any difference so when I overheard one woman telling her friend at the gym about how she had dramatically lost weight while on some diet pills, I spoke with her before I went home and got the name of the drug. It was very easy to purchase as it’s an over-the counter drug.”

“Why did you not tell me about this?” Baridi asked, sitting up now.
“I couldn’t!” Mina exclaimed. “The pills worked because almost immediately, they suppressed my appetite so I couldn’t eat so much even if I wanted to. I finally started losing the baby fat and you started paying me compliments. So, how could I have told you that I was cheating to get those results? I was still going to the gym to get toned so you assumed that was why I was losing weight. I didn’t want to correct that impression.”

“But you were breastfeeding at the time? Are you supposed to take such things while nursing a baby?

“I wasn’t supposed to but I didn’t know that. All I noticed was that my milk supply dwindled drastically till I had to supplement Soprinye’s feeding with formula.”

“You put my son at risk, just so you could lose weight?” Baridi said, through clenched teeth. At this point, he was sitting with his legs swung over the side of the bed and his back to Mina.

“He’s my son too!” Mina said, heatedly. “Do you think that I would have taken those things if I had thought for a second that they could harm him in some way?”....

    
To be continued






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