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“She’s so cute,” Adaora said, after cooing to the baby who nursed contentedly in her mother’s arms. She was kneeling beside Mina, who rocked on a chair as she fed her five-month old daughter. Azuka lay on her side on the king-sized bed in the middle of the nursery.
Abeg, ‘cute’ is not a word that describes my god daughter accurately,” Azuka said, rubbing her belly. “She’s absolutely gorgeous! I can’t tell who she looks like just yet, though.”
Ah ah. Why you dey talk like that? Look well, jor; Sotonye looks just like me,” Mina said.
Laughing, Adaora said, “That’s exactly what Baridi says. I think she’s a perfect blend of the both of you, jare.” She stood and walked across the carpeted floor to join Azuka on the bed. She sat cross-legged, placing both hands on the leg that was on in the front.
“Whoever she looks like doesn’t matter. She’s a beauty and she’s all mine,” Azuka said.
“You keep rubbing in the fact that she’s your god daughter, this woman,” Adaora said. “My Soprinye’s a fine boy so you no fit chance us o!
When Mina said, “Na me be their mama o!” her friends started laughing.
Thank God o! I go soon born my own, too,” Azuka said. “I just don’t like the fact that I’ve put on so much weight in the process. Every part of me seems to have doubled in size.”
“Welcome to my world,” Mina said, sighing. ‘It was so easy for me to lose the baby fat after I had Soprinye. I don’t know why it’s so hard now. Instead of any weight-loss, I’m getting bigger than I was while pregnant.”
“Sister, you’re a nursing mother, abeg. Moreover, have you forgotten how you were able to lose weight so quickly with Soprinye? I’m sure you don’t want to go down that route again.” Adaora said.
“I know, jare,” Mina replied. “I just wish I was like those women that lose weight naturally when nursing their babies.”
“Mina, I think you eat way too little for someone who’s nursing a baby,” Adaora said. “While breastfeeding, your body actually requires more energy and if you’re not getting it through a proper diet, your brain sends signals to your body that you are starving and as a result, your body holds on to all the stores of fat it can lay its hands on. You’re not working out at all too. That may be why you’re finding it difficult to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.”
Na wa for you, madam doctor. You try,” Mina said with a roll of her eyes. “I’m desperate to lose weight and there you are, advising me to eat more. About working out, you know me naa, I don’t want to over-do it so I’m going to wait till I wean Sotonye.”
Okay o. I don tell you finish, sha,” Adaora said. “You should, certainly, not pig out on food but a little more could nudge your metabolism along.”
“The way I see it, this phase will last for only a short while so I don’t think it’s something to obsess over,” Azuka said gently. “Our bodies are doing amazing work and the knowledge of that makes it easier for me to deal with the fact that none of my clothes fit anymore.”
“Zuky, none of your clothes are supposed to fit, naa,” Mina said, starting to laugh. “No be human being dey inside your body?”
Adaora and Azuka joined in the laughter. “You don’t get it, Mina,” Azuka said after laughing for a while. “I’m talking about the maternity clothes I bought. I have to get a new set because overnight, I seem to have grown out of almost all of them. My bras don’t fit anymore too and they’re also new. Then the stretch marks that spring up almost daily, on my huge belly, are so annoying because I know that they would always be there even after I have the baby.”
“Women get plenty wahala, sha!” Mina exclaimed. “Don’t worry, sweetie. In three months, you’ll have your beautiful daughter in your arms and gradually, you’ll get your body back. After you have my god daughter, we can work out together and chase the flab away.”
“Your god daughter?” Adaora asked, laughing. “We shall see.”
No try me o. I laid claim on her immediately I knew Zuky was pregnant,” Mina retorted. “You can have her next baby.”
“My next baby? Abeg, make I born one first. About exercising, I don’t relish the thought of all that hard work, jor. Considering the fact that I would still have other babies, what’s the point, really?” Azuka grumbled. She sat up now and swung her legs over the side of the bed.
“My dear, it’s better if you can get your body back to its pre-pregnancy state, after each pregnancy, before getting pregnant again,” Mina advised. “If not, you’ll have a lot more work to do when you’re finally done with having children. That was why I worked out as much as I did before I got pregnant with Sotonye.”
I don hear but as I no dey like exercise before, nko? Besides, all the work wey you do before never spoil finish?” Azuka retorted. “Abeg, Ada, what do I do about the stretch marks?”
“My sister, I’m so grateful for the fact that I didn’t get stretch marks on my belly during my pregnancies. I used good old shea butter each time, though. It may or may not have helped. I can’t say for sure because my mother had five of us without getting any of such marks and she said she never applied anything on her belly. Mina swears by Bio Oil. She says it works like magic.”
“It didn’t work for me, abeg,” Azuka said as she stood and raised her top for her friends to look at her belly. “I started using that immediately I got pregnant and still got all these. Maybe, I should give shea butter a try.”
Scrunching up her nose, Mina said, “Zuky, Ada buys locally-prepared shea butter from the market o!”
Okuma? It’s smelly, naa. Ada, I thought you meant something bottled and perfumed, even.”
Dey dia, naa,” Ada retorted, laughing. “No be you dey find wetin you wan use? The smell grows on you, anyway.”
“Ha, Adaora! How can one ever get used to that smell? What’s wrong with buying a product that contains shea butter, instead?” Azuka asked, covering up her belly again, as she sat on the bed again.
“Those products may contain shea butter in a tiny percentage and still be labeled as if it is the major content,” Adaora replied. “Also, some are actually refined shea butter sold as the 100% unrefined product. With Okuma, you’re sure that you’re getting shea butter in a concentrated and raw form. It’s very cheap too. So, if you want to test the efficacy of shea butter, I suggest you buy that instead.”
Na wa o. So, I’m stuck with that smelly thing. I hope I don’t start reeking of it,” Azuka said, rolling her eyes at Adaora.
Laughing, Adaora retorted, ‘Abeg, the smell’s not so bad and it fades after a while too. I didn’t smell each time I was pregnant, did I?”
“We were just too kind to tell you,” Mina said, sticking out her tongue.
“Yeah, you remember that perfume I got you when you were pregnant with Ashley?” Azuka asked and when Adaora raised an eyebrow, she added, “That was why.” 
“I see that Team Orobo has ganged up on me,” Adaora said, sending her friends into fits of laughter.    
After laughing for a while, Mina said, “I can’t believe you just called me orobo and I actually found that funny. You should have seen how angry I was this morning when Baridi called me fatty bombom. I guess it was because of how he said it. That man, eh. I just tire sometimes, true true.”
Azuka and Adaora exchanged glances before Azuka spoke, “Are you guys having problems again? When we were here for Sotonye’s christening, both of you were all over each other.”
“Zuky, that was over two months ago, naa. Lately, he’s been on my case to lose weight. He keeps talking about how beautiful I was when I was slimmer. Coming from someone who hardly ever paid me compliments, even then, that is so insulting. I’ve explained to him that the reason I’m gaining weight is because I’m still nursing Sotonye and he says that I’m just making excuses. He always reminds me that after I had Soprinye I lost weight very rapidly.”
“I think it was a mistake not to tell him all that happened then,” Adaora said, gently.
“And give him more ammunition to attack me with?” Mina asked, dismissively.
Nne, he’s your husband and you shouldn’t hide things like that from him,” Azuka said, gently.
Abeg, leave matter. I’m the one wearing the shoe o!” Mina said, rolling her eyes. “I do want to lose weight and get fitter than I am now but, honestly, I’m really in a happy place, right now and I also don’t see the need to hurry all that up. My tummy may not be as flat as it used to be, I actually have a roll where my waist used to be and my butt certainly jiggles more. Hey, I could actually draw up a list of all that’s changed in my body but I’m happy and I’m content. That’s all that matters. It’s so hurtful that he thinks that sending barbs my way is the way to get me off my butt long enough to do something about my weight before it gets worse.”
“He said that to you?” Adaora asked, concernedly.
“Yes, my loving husband said that to me this morning,” Mina said. “I was so livid that I almost threw what I was holding at him till I realized that I was actually using it at that moment.”
“What was that?” Azuka asked.
Laughing, Mina said, “I was mother cow at the time.”
“Mother cow?” Azuka asked, puzzled, while Adaora laughed. “Oh, your breast pump?” Azuka asked, lifting both eyebrows.
“Yes, Einstein. It sure took you time to figure that out,” Mina said, still laughing. “Don’t worry, real soon you’ll have a baby or a gadget glued to you almost all the time and you would most likely buy new bras again then. So, get ready o!”
“Minabelem!” Adaora exclaimed through laughter. “You sef!”
Abeg, no put fear for my body, jor,” Mina said. “Only my mother calls me by my full name and she does that only when I’m in some sort of trouble.”
“Then, you must have heard your full name a whole lot because your mouth too sharp,” Azuka said, also laughing.
At that point, Mrs. O., the children’s nanny, knocked on the door and came in, cradling a sleeping Sotonye. He had played on the swing, by the side of the house, till he was bored with that and had promptly fallen asleep immediately she brought him inside the house. After putting him on the bed, the nanny left.
Mina got up, from the rocking chair, to put her now-sleeping daughter into her crib. After tucking Sotonye in, she stood there for a few seconds staring at her daughter. Turning to her friends, she sighed and said, “I would do this motherhood thing all over again even if I had to get as fat as a cow.”
As her friends started laughing, she added, “Abeg o. Let’s leave here before you guys wake my babies. It’s time for lunch, anyway and I’m starved.”
As she stood up from the bed, Adaora said, “Starved ke? I’m the only one allowed to eat lunch as the only lepa in the group.”
Mba o, I have to feed my baby,” Azuka said, slowly getting to her feet.
“Excuses, excuses. Make una no fear, there’s enough food for the lepacious Ada and her orobo friends, one of whom has just been advised by her doctor to start eating a lot more,” Mina said, leading the way out of the room, while her friends laughed.

“Babe, don’t deny it,” Mina said heatedly, one night, three weeks later. “I saw the look on your face very clearly.”
“How can you tell me what I was thinking when I have no recollection of that?” Baridi asked, heatedly too. “Mina, look eh, I’m tired and in need of some rest. I don’t need any drama, whatsoever.”
“If you didn’t really care about what I had to say, why did you ask why I was moody? That was you just being polite, right?”
“You’re impossible, really! I felt that we needed some time away from the kids and I made all arrangements necessary to ensure that we had a nice time out and this is what I get? Goodnight, abeg.”
“Goodnight, you say? Avoidance has always been your reaction to anything that makes you uncomfortable in the least bit. You can deny it all you want but I know what I saw.”
“You can think whatever you want, Mina. It’s your prerogative. Goodnight.”
As her husband lay on their bed and turned away from her, Mina stood staring at him for a while before joining him on the bed. She kept her back to him and soon, the sound of his even breathing let on to the fact that Baridi had fallen asleep.
So, he’s slept off already, she thought, in annoyance. I’m still lying here, wide awake and he calmly closed his eyes and slept off. He wants to ignore me, abi? Okay naa, we’ll see who gets tired first.

Mina couldn’t sleep for a while as she recalled the events of the day. Baridi had made dinner reservations for both of them at their favourite restaurant. Since she had Sotonye, almost six months ago, they had not been out alone so she had been excited when he had told her about the date and had made special effort to look great. They had enjoyed a meal of pasta and grilled marinated shrimps and when Mina wanted more shrimps, he asked, “Don’t you think that’s a lot?”

Laughing, she teased, “Don’t worry about the bill, I can chip in a little bit.”
Laughing too, her husband responded, “It’s not about that, really. I’m a big boy, after all.”
“Mr. Big boy, what’s it about then?”
“I just think that would be too much food for you.”
“You do, huhn?”
‘Forget I said that, sweetie. Feel free to eat as much as you want to.”
Saying that, he had summoned a waiter but before the man got to their table, Mina muttered to Baridi, “I’ve changed my mind. I really shouldn’t eat some more. I’m full now.”

They had stayed only a little longer after that, before leaving. Mina had left the restaurant first and smiling as they walked to their car, she had turned to Baridi, who had been behind her on the narrow paved pathway that led to the car park. She had discovered that he had been staring at her back with a frown and a look she had interpreted as distaste on his face. Mina had halted in her tracks then and asked quietly, “What’s the matter?”
Her sudden halt had forced Baridi to stop too and looking at her face, he muttered, “Nothing.”

Her mood had plummeted at that point and even when he had tried to make conversation with her on their way home, she had responded in monosyllables till he had taken the cue and left her alone. When they got home, while she had been checking up on the kids, Baridi had taken a shower. Getting to their room from the nursery, she had quickly stripped off her clothes and gone into the bathroom for a quick shower.
As soon as she came out of the bathroom, Baridi, who was already in bed, asked, "Why did you go all cold on me on our way home?"
Drying her body with a royal blue, plush, cotton towel, Mina muttered, "Nothing."
"Come on, babe. Don't give me that. You only give me the silent treatment when you think I've offended you."
"You're a smart man. So, I'm sure you can figure it all out."
"Now, you're being ridiculous, Mina! I wouldn't have asked if I had known what I had done this time. I'm no mind reader, you know."
Slipping into a purple silk nightgown, Mina asked, "Why had you been staring at me that way, after we left the restaurant? I thought the look on your face was one of disgust."
"This woman, you will not kill me o! What look was that exactly?" he retorted and an argument started then.
As Mina drifted off to sleep, she stared at her husband’s back and thought, This was, definitely, not how I had thought this night would end.

The next morning, Mina felt her husband nudging her awake and groggily, she rolled over from her stomach to her back. “We need to talk,” Baridi said, as he got up from the bed. Walking to the light switch beside the bedroom door, he flipped it and the room became bright.
“Can’t it wait?” Mina responded with the beginnings of a frown on her face. Looking at the wall clock in their room, she continued, “I need to sleep for two more hours before I have to get ready for work.”
Coming over to her side of the bed, Baridi sat and looking at his wife, said, “I’m sorry that I’m waking you now but I think that this is the best time for us to talk. I’m sure the week would be very busy for both of us as we have to go to work. I don’t think it’s in our best interests to start the week fighting with each other when we might not have the time to make up till the weekend.”
Sighing deeply, Mina said, “Baridi, we could have talked about this last night but you blew me off, remember?”
“I’m sorry about that, okay. I just hate it when I can’t explain how I feel about anything without you jumping at me.”
Mina sat up and replied, “I wasn’t jumping at you. I was angry because I had seen you stare at me like you didn’t like what you were looking at and I wanted to be sure that I had only misunderstood you. Yet, you completely denied ever looking at me in such a manner and insisted that I had been imagining things. The only thing that would make me agree to stay awake for any discussion is if you were to be honest about what that was all about.”
Baridi was silent for a while. He sighed deeply and said, ‘I’ve been awake for about thirty minutes thinking about the events of last night and I finally admitted to myself that you may have seen such a look on my face.” At the raised eyebrow Mina directed his way, he held up his right hand and said, “Please wait a minute, let me finish. Whatever look there had been on my face then, it hadn’t been intentional. That was probably why I didn’t know what you were on about last night.”
“And what was it about?”
“Babe, this is hard to talk about because you get so defensive anytime I try to discuss it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Last night, when you walked in front of me, you looked familiar but you didn’t look like my Mina.”
At Mina’s look of confusion, Baridi said, “Babe, since you had Sotonye, you’ve changed so much. You look completely different from the lady I met, fell in love with and married.”
Trying to inject some humour into a discussion he already knew would get tense, Baridi smiled and added, “You’re the lawyer so you have a better understanding about contracts than I do but this feels like a breach of contract to me.”
Not in the least bit amused, Mina asked quietly, “How exactly do you mean?”
“You lost all the baby fat less than three months after having Soprinye and you looked amazing. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for you to even try to do that now, especially as there’s a lot more to you than ever before.”
“Quit beating about the bush, abeg. You’re saying that I’m fat now, right?”
Rubbing both hands down his face, Baridi said, “This is exactly the reason I don’t talk about this with you. You get all defensive about it. I’m trying to have a reasonable conversation with you and...”
“What’s so reasonable about a conversation aimed at putting me down, Baridi?” Mina said, cutting him off. “Have you looked at yourself lately in a mirror? That little pouch on your belly certainly wasn’t there when I met you, fell in love with you and agreed to marry you, was it? I may have pregnancy as an excuse for how I look now. What’s your excuse?”
“Now, you’re being ridiculous, Mina,” Baridi said dismissively, self-consciously rubbing his belly. “Who’s talking about me, anyway?”
“I’m talking about you, Baridi. You’ve dished out these overt and subtle insults about my body for too long for me not to take a good look at yours. You had the semblance of a flat tummy way back in day. Where is it now? When I shopped for you after Sotonye’s birth, I noticed that you’ve gone up a size. Why is that? You talk to me about a breach of contract. Didn’t you have a full head of hair on the day we got married? What’s with the receding hairline that you now camouflage by going clean-shaven? Why exactly do you think you can get away with any changes in your appearance and I can’t?”
“You certainly have been taking note of all the changes in me but you’ve never said anything. That’s really interesting because you didn’t sound, just now, like you liked any of them.”
“You miss my point, entirely!” Mina exclaimed, exasperatedly. “They are not changes in you but changes in your body. There is a world of difference between the two. And the reason I have never said a word about them to you before today is because they are only minor changes and have absolutely nothing to do with who you are. You’re still the man I fell in love with, agreed to marry and the father of my children. That, to me, is more important than how you look now. I’ve noticed the extra inches on your waist and the body that is no longer as toned as it used to be when you were younger and very interested in sports. However, I neither dwell on them nor make them something to fixate over. In my mind, you’re still the most handsome man ever so why do my extra inches make me less beautiful in yours?”
After staying silent for a while, Baridi responded, “I don’t have the gift of gab like you do so I might not be able to explain this perfectly. Mina, I think you’re still very beautiful as you are but I think you’d be even more so if you got back to your pre-pregnancy weight. You’re not so much bigger than you were before so I know it won’t be a big deal for you to lose the extra. Can you do it for me, please?”
“You’re right, Baridi. I’m not too far away from how I looked before. That’s why I don’t understand why you’re exerting so much pressure on me about my weight. Honestly, I don’t get it!”
“Babe, let me give you a simple example. You’ve always loved wearing shorts at home. I don’t remember seeing you in a pair lately. I’ve missed seeing the confidence you’ve always exuded, knowing that your body was near-perfect,” Baridi said gently, reaching out to hold Mina’s hands in his.
“Mina,” he continued, “I work in an industry in which there are a lot of females of all ages, sizes and shapes and the knowledge that my wife is a hottie, always made me it easy for me to resist any form of temptation or attraction to any one of them. It’s not been as easy lately, though.”
Mina pulled her hands away and shifted away from her husband and quietly asked, “What exactly are you saying? That I’m not good enough for you anymore? Are you attracted to someone else?”
“No, I honestly am not, Mina. But, it’s hard not to be because all around me, I see women that remind me of how you used to look. For the sake of my sanity, I want that Mina back. That’s all I’m saying.”
Reeling with hurt, Mina shook her head, at a loss for words. She turned away from Baridi and lay down with her back to him. She reached down to pull the duvet up to her chest.
“Don’t be like that, Mina,” Baridi pleaded. “I’m not sure if I explained accurately, what I meant. I was only trying to tell you, as honestly as I could, how I felt. Would you have preferred it if I pretended I didn’t want to see some changes?”
“Please, leave me alone,” Mina murmured. “I really can’t deal with this, right now.”

Adaora went to the door on the sound of the doorbell. She was expecting her friends for lunch so she guessed that it was one of them. When she looked through the peephole to be sure, she saw that it was Mina. Opening the door, she exclaimed, “Wow!” before drawing her friend close for a quick hug.
Mina was wearing a cobalt-coloured jumpsuit. It was strapless with some ruching at the top and had a mid-calf length. She was wearing a pair of strappy, high-heeled pink sandals and had a beaded purse in the same colour. The long, curly weave she had on was swept to one side of her head and held in place by a pink flower hair clip.
“You look absolutely stunning, Mina!” Adaora exclaimed, looking her friend over.
“Thank you, darling,” Mina said, beaming.
As they walked into the living room, Adaora asked, “Has it been that long since we saw each other? You seem to have lost a tremendous amount of weight or are my eyes deceiving me?”
“No, you’re right, jare. I’m on my way to becoming a hottie again, according to my husband” Mina said, laughing, as she sat on one of the sofas. “I have not only gone back to my pre-pregnancy weight, I have lost a little bit more too.”
“Hmmm...” Adaora said, sitting down beside her friend and twisting her body so she could face Mina.
“What’s does that mean?” Mina asked with a frown.
“You looked just fine before you got pregnant and now, you actually seem a bit skinny.”
Na wa for you, madam. The first thing you said to me was that I looked great. In the space of a few minutes, I now look a bit skinny. Make up your mind, abeg.”
“You do look a bit skinny, really,” Adaora maintained. “You’re tall and have always been able to carry off more flesh on your bones, very beautifully.” Shaking her head from side to side, she continued, “This look… mba. It doesn’t suit you at all.”
“First, I was orobo and now that I’ve done something about it, you still think it’s not good enough. Abeg, make I dey go house.”
Make I hear word, jor, drama queen. You just got here anyway,” Adaora said, impatiently. Lowering her voice she asked, “I’m concerned, that’s all.”
“What exactly are you concerned about?” Mina asked and when Adaora only stared at her, she said, “I’m wiser now, Ada.”
“Really? So, tell me how you lost so much weight. Zuky and I had lunch with you barely three weeks ago and you certainly didn’t look this way.
“Where’s Zuky, by the way?”
“She has an appointment with her doctor. That’s not what I asked you, though?”
“I hope she’s alright.”
“Yes, she is. She couldn’t go for her routine antenatal visit during the week so she decided to pop in today to see her doctor before coming over. Quit changing the subject, Mina. How did you lose so much weight in such a short period?”
“I started working out, like you suggested.”
“I don’t think that just working out would have given you these results so quickly. What else are you doing?”
“Do I have to be doing anything else,” Mina asked, looking away from Adaora’s intense gaze.
“Mina, what’s going on?” Adaora asked quietly.
Almost rebelliously, Mina looked at Adaora and said, “I’m not nursing Sotonye anymore.”
“Really? I thought… Never mind that. How does stopping breastfeeding relate to an extra-skinny Mina?”
“Yeah, I know I said that I would nurse her till she’s at least nine months. She’s thriving on infant formula and I’ve started her on a few solids too but I feel so guilty for stopping earlier than I had planned to. But...”
“But, what?” Adaora said when Mina kept silent.
“Ada, you have to understand, I needed to do something drastic, to save my marriage. Baridi was already talking about the possibility of getting attracted to someone else and I didn’t want that happening.”
“What’s going on, Mina and what have you done?”

After the argument Mina had with Baridi, five weeks earlier, about her changed looks, the next few days had been tense in their household as Mina had avoided Baridi as much as she could. They had still slept on the same bed but could have been in separate rooms for all the attention she had paid him. Any night he had reached out to her, she had coldly rebuffed him. In those days, whenever Mina got back from work, she made sure to quickly get Baridi’s dinner ready. As soon as he returned from work, Mina quickly served his meal and to avoid talking with her husband, quickly went upstairs to their room.
One day at work, she had gone for lunch with a colleague of hers, who had just come back from maternity leave.
“Tayo, you look amazing! No one would believe that you have three children and they would certainly not believe that one of them is a three-month old,” Mina had said as soon as they sat down on a table. “Biko, share the secret. I’m still struggling to lose weight six months after having Sotonye and I was even slimmer than you before.”
“My sister, I no wan make Lagos babes snatch my husband, abeg,” Tayo had replied, rolling her eyes. “A lot of these girls don’t care if a man is married so as a woman, you have to protect your turf well, make your man no stray.”
“Tayo, I think about that all the time now o! But, wetin I go do, naa? My body seems to be having a love affair with any fat that enters into it, so much that they cling to each other. I’ve drastically cut down on my food portions, yet, all I achieve with that is this constant feeling of faintness. I’m still breastfeeding too so that doesn’t help matters because the craving for food is so much a lot of the time.”
Na wa for you o!” Tayo had said. “Na you dey cause problems for yourself, naa. Jide is barely three months and I haven’t nursed him for almost a month o!” At the open-mouthed look Mina had given her, Tayo said defensively, “My sister, a girl has to do what a girl has to do. I gain weight while breastfeeding so I usually stop early so that I can safely start a diet without worrying about the effect it’ll have on my babies. When I’m away at work, they take formula so completely stopping nursing at two months is not such a big deal. I just replace with infant formula.”
“Hmmm. So, what kind of diet have you been on?” Mina had curiously asked.
“A friend of mine is a distributor for a company that sells herbal weight loss products. I could hook you up with her.”
“You take diet pills? Those are not safe.”
“They’re herbal supplements, my sister and are completely natural. So, there’s nothing unsafe about them. I don’t need to work out while taking them so I have something that is absolutely perfect for me as I hate all manner of exercises. They really work so…”
That conversation had stayed on Mina’s mind the entire day. Tayo had given her the name of the company and while researching their products on the internet, Mina had read wonderful testimonials from other users and had become convinced.
When Baridi came home that evening, to his surprise and relief, she had a hug and a wide smile for him. Mina had made his favourite meal and they had dinner together.
Later, drifting off to sleep in her husband’s arms, she had thought, “No way am I losing you to Lagos girls.”

“How long have you used these products for?” Adaora asked after Mina finished her story.
“Tayo’s friend got them to me, at work, a little over four weeks ago and I started using them immediately,” Mina said.
“We saw each other three weeks ago and you never said a word.”
“I couldn’t, Ada. I knew that you’d be worried and there’s no need to be. They are not diet pills.”
“Do you know the long-term effects? Are there records of that?”
“Ada, why do you always have to second-guess everything? They work right now and have no side effects and that’s all that matters. I’ve been working out too so that I don’t have to use them for too long.”
“Mina, you’ve always been a very beautiful woman. Even when you were heavier, you still looked amazing. I’ve never been able to understand where your obsession about your weight comes from.”
“When your husband reminds you that as the manager of the customer care department of a large multinational telecommunications firm, he comes in contact with a lot of beautiful women, you just might understand what my obsession, as you term it, is all about. Abeg, leave me o. Na person wey wear shoe know as e dey take pain am.”
“Mina, tell Baridi about the last time or I will,” Adaora said, quietly.
“Threatening me now, are you?” Mina said, heatedly. “How dare you, Ada?”
“I dare because you’re one of my best friends and I love you dearly. I dare, Mina because I won’t stand by and fold my arms while you go down a path that may hurt you terribly.”
As Mina was about responding, the doorbell rang and Adaora got up to get the door, leaving Mina muttering to herself.
When Azuka came into the room with Adaora, Mina glanced at her and said, “Hi, Zuky.” She quickly looked away, but not before Azuka had seen the mutinous look on her face.
“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 couldn’t 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 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?”
“Why are you telling me all this now? You kept it a secret for so long, already,” Baridi said, after a while. Almost immediately, he turned and cast a sharp look at his wife, “Wait a minute. You suddenly stopped breastfeeding Sotonye and you also have lost an amazing amount of weight. Are you taking them again?”
“No way! Not after what happened to me the last time I did.”
Turning fully to face Mina, Baridi asked, “What exactly happened to you?”
“I had taken then for about two months when I started getting headaches. On occasion, I would become nauseous too. I even took a pregnancy test at some point. I never thought the pills were responsible even when I started getting diarrhea all the time. I just became more careful of where I ate because I thought it was caused by food poisoning.”
Mina covered her eyes with her hand as she said, “I can’t believe how ignorant I was, really.” She paused for a while and let out a breath before opening her eyes to look at Baridi again. She continued, “The weekend you were away in Abuja for an NCC convention, Azuka dropped by on a surprise visit. Mrs. O. was with Soprinye in the living room when she came so she told Azuka that I was upstairs, in the nursery. I had been putting away Soprinye’s clothes into his drawer earlier. Zuky came to the nursery and found me on the floor, unconscious.”
“What!” Baridi exclaimed.
“She tried to rouse me and quickly called Ada to come over. Before, Ada got here, I was already conscious, even though I was still on the floor. All I could remember was that I had experienced a sudden tightening in my chest before my heart had started beating very fast. Zuky and Ada rushed me to the hospital immediately where tests were run. When I was asked if I was on any medication, I remembered the diet pills and told them about those. It turned out they were the culprits. They were responsible for the other symptoms I had been experiencing all along. I was ordered by the cardiologist to stop taking them. Fortunately, there had been no lasting damage as all those other symptoms went away as soon as I stopped taking the drugs.”
“I came back from Abuja two days later. Why didn’t you tell me anything?” Baridi asked, sadly.
“I didn’t know how to tell you. I was too ashamed, particularly as Ada had to come back here to bring Soprinye to the hospital for tests. I thank God he was fine. I don’t know how I would have lived with myself if I had hurt him in some way.”
“Why did you tell me this today?” Baridi asked, afraid of what he would hear.

Baridi paced the floor of their room as Mina told him about the weight loss supplements. At a point, he cut her off and thundered, “For such a smart woman, how could you do something so stupid, Mina? I came close to losing you, without even knowing it and you found it easy to do the same thing again?”
Tearfully, Mina said, “Babe, I thought I had no choice. After our last fight about my weight, I felt that I had to do whatever it took not to lose you.”
At that, Baridi stopped pacing and stared at his wife who had started crying miserably. Coming over to her, Baridi knelt and pulled her from the bed and into his arms. “I’m so sorry I pushed you to this,” he said over and over again.
When Mina’s tears had subsided, Baridi stood and gently pulled her up from the floor. Holding her by the hand, he led her to the wide ornate mirror on one of the walls of their room.
Together, they silently stared at their reflections till Baridi said, “I see a very beautiful, smart and unbelievably sexy woman who did me a big honour by agreeing to become my wife. I see the beautiful mother of my children. Mina, you’re not just beautiful on the outside but on the inside too. You are kind and you are warm. That’s all I’ve ever needed you to be. Don’t ever forget that, even if a very stubborn and sometimes annoying man, who thinks he knows it all, tries hard to make you to.”
“Hey, that’s my husband you’re insulting,” Mina said, smiling through the tears that had started flowing again, as Baridi pulled her into him arms for a long hug.

To read the first part of this story, please go to A Cord Of Three


  1. Jenny1:07 pm

    Now u just made me cry! Real nice Ola!

  2. Juliett2:31 pm

    This is so touching.I know if I were Mina,I would have done same........The things we do for love.Well done Ola;lovely piece!

  3. Sugar3:12 pm

    Hmmmm!!!!!!!!! Things we really do for love

  4. PregnAncy and weight loss, walahi, God should just make it possible for men to experience pregnancy! Nice one babes......

  5. Anonymous12:25 pm

    Wahala!!!!!! I can relate to it oh! Ola well done.

  6. Anonymous4:38 pm

    Hmmm...things we do for love,nice one ola

  7. Brick's momma11:46 pm

    Hmmm, this whole preggie and weight gain thingy is a real headache. my hubby keeps saying i look really nice after having our son but i look at myself and wish pregnancy didn't cause so many changes. The life of a mother....but the lil life we create is all worth it:-)

  8. Jenny; Thanks, sweetie. I'm sure the tears have all dried up now ;)

    Juliett; Thanks, dear. I understand why any woman would want to do exactly what Mina did but it's one route that could very easily get out of hand. A proper diet and a healthy exercise regime are the way to go.

    Sugar; You knowwwwwwww ;)

    Ng; Thanks, dear. So lol @ your men and pregnancy comment. We can only wish ;)

    Anon 12:25; Thank you :) This is one annoying cross most women carry in common.

    Anon 16:38; Thank you :) The things we do for love...

    Brick's momma; Brick's papa isn't lying, jare. You do look great, particularly when you have that cutie in your arms :)

  9. Well done babes. Me I no go kill myself for weight loss. I understand her sha but a lot of self control goes a long way.

  10. Anonymous10:46 pm

    Very useful blog. Keep up the good work.

  11. articulate n resourceful piece. I welcome my changes, afterall a mama must av some flesh!

  12. Anon 22:46; Thank you so much :)

    Rowzlyn; Way to go, girl! If it were a choice between my once-upon-a-time-very-flat-tummy and my cuties... What am I saying, sef? There's no competition between the two!

  13. Anonymous7:02 pm

    Finally a person that puts some real work into a blog. I do like what you have done with the blog.

  14. Anon 19:02; Thank you!


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