On a street off the road that leads to Osun State University, Ikire, sits a church – Wayfarer Ministries. Though just growing, Sunday, December 13, 2015 was a day the entire neighbourhood hosting the church saw a fleet of vehicles of different models parked in front of it, while others lined up the sides of the streets.
It was the day the twin babies of Pastor Yemi Asegun and Barrister (Mrs) Dupe Helen Awosemusi were being dedicated. And the friends of the Awosemusis really had cause to turn out in droves to honour the day: The twin girls were the first children of the Awosemusis, 16 years after they got maried. The adorable girls were delivered on November 1, 2015. They were named Goodness Oluwadarasimi and Mercy Oluwaferanmi.
As the shepherd of the church, Pastor Awosemusi spoke just a few words. But his wife, the mother of the twins, rolled on the floor and sang songs of praises to Almighty God, when it was time to give testimony of the journey of 16 years which was initially tagged barren.
For many who knew Mrs Modupe Awosemusi of the Ministry of Justice, Oyo State, they did not know she had yet to have a child. It was their belief that she already stopped child bearing before she joined the state civil service about 11 years ago.
No wonder someone in the judiciary who noticed her bump beneath her robe at the state high court premises, called her to say: “Madam, I believe the pregnancy you are carrying was a ‘mistake’.”
When Saturday Tribune visited the home of the Awosemusis for an interview, it met a beehive of activities. The twins’ maternal grandmother and relations were at hand to give a helping hand to care for the babies.
Speaking with Saturday Tribune after she finished nursing one of the twins, Mrs Awosemusi shed light on the 16 years of waiting which culminated in the bundles of joy she is currently nursing.“When the judiciary staff made the comment, my pregnancy was over five months then, almost six months. He gave me a call after we left the courts to express his observation, but I replied: “No, it is not a mistake. This is my first pregnancy in 16 years.”
“I heard as the phone fell off his hand and I started saying: ‘hello, hello.’ When I didn’t hear anything from the other side, I hung up. When he called back, he asked me to repeat what I said earlier and I did. He started apologising, asking God to forgive him.
“He said that he and his colleague discussed me when they saw my bump, wondering what I was looking for to make me get pregnant at my age. He also remarked that none of them knew about this challenge because they never saw it on my face. He then said that the children would be named Goodness and Mercy, unknown to him that I was carrying twins.”
Narrating how the journey of her marriage began, the mother of two said: “I got married on the 27th of November, 1999. Naturally, I expected that after the wedding, children should start coming, but hopes upon hopes, nothing was forthcoming.
“There were times I missed my period and went for pregnancy test, only for the result to be negative. Naturally, one would feel bad, but we kept praying and believing that God would answer us one day.”
She revealed a comment made by someone close to her family which she said became remarkable during the waiting years. According to her, “shortly before we got married, my husband and I went to visit someone. The first thing the person said to welcome me was ‘Sarah’. At that time, I was not spiritually mature so I did not attach any meaning to it. I was naïve and did not get the spiritual message behind that name. I thought the person mistook the name for mine or just wanted to call me by that name.
“It was later I got the spiritual nudge to reject the name. Apparently, my father-in-law saw more than I did in being called that name and he was the one who opened my eyes to the spiritual connotation of that name when I casually told him about the name I was called.”
Despite this, the Awosemusis did not allow their situation to weigh them down, as they still related with people very well and continued to serve God zealously. “I remember that sometime in 2001, someone came to us in our café, called me aside and said God told him that He was going to answer our prayers. We actually thought it would happen that year, but year after year, nothing was forthcoming.
“We kept hoping, though at a stage we got discouraged. I personally lost faith in becoming a mother. About three years ago, I called my husband and said that with or without children, I wanted to serve God.
“At that level, I had closed the chapter of becoming a mother in my consciousness. I told myself that children would not be a criterion for me to have a place in the kingdom of God and inheriting a crown after this life.
“A lot of people said a lot of things about me. Someone even went to the extent of saying that I was a principality; that I had donated my womb at our coven. There were lots of bickerings, issues. There were thunder and windstorms but I was not carried away by them in the journey of 16 years.
“I also had a lot of encouragements and prayers from people who felt concerned about us. My father-in-law is indeed a father in a million,” Mrs Awosemusi told Saturday Tribune.
Challenges from husband’s family
Incidentally, Mrs Awosemusi, who is also a prominent member of FIDA, a body of women lawyers, said her father-in-law stood by her throughout the trial period. “We did not really have any problem from his family members because my husband did not give room for such. I think it is God’s grace. Instead of giving me problems, my father-in-law was always praying for me.
He would call me and send text messages to encourage and counsel me. He is a father indeed.”
Times of discouragement
But there were times of low morales in the lives of the couple. The woman stated: “Sometimes, we heard some nasty things being said about us by some people during outings. For example, we went out one day and I reprimanded a little boy who misbehaved.
“The next thing his mother said in parable was that I could not realise the worth of what I didn’t have. She said I didn’t know how it felt to carry a pregnancy and give birth to a child. Instead of allowing the statement to weigh me down, it became my prayer point, as I told God to let me know how it feels to become a mother.
“Sometimes when my husband went out and met with such nasty statements, I would read it on my husband. Though he would not tell me at that moment when I asked him, the issue would come up later and he would tell me what transpired that led to the change in his mood. I know my husband loves me, but in addition to this was God’s grace that made him stick to me through our period of waiting. Sixteen years was no joke.
We went for medical check-ups. I was told that I had ovarian cyst which was removed. That was at the early stage of the marriage.
But you know there is nothing in the spiritual realm that does not have physical representation. Medicine will always give a name to whatever has happened in the spiritual realm. We believed it was a spiritual thing and we attacked it spiritually since we had no negative report medically.
How I discovered I was pregnant
“Usually, when our marriage was eight years old, I stopped monitoring my monthly cycle. My husband and I agreed that he would be the one to monitor it because of anxiety. I had programmed my mind to forget anything about dates in my monthly cycle once I finished my period in a particular month. If you asked me a week after, I would not remember. At a stage, my husband also got tired of monitoring the cycle.
“On March 30, this year, I just remembered that my period had yet to come, so I went for pregnancy test. I did not remember my last menstrual period (LMP). I usually bought packs of sanitary towels. After the test, the laboratory technician asked whether he should seal the envelope and I said no.
“As I left him, I partially opened the envelope when I got back inside the car. I peeped and saw something that looked like a plus (+) symbol, which signified positive. I quickly closed the paper and pushed it back inside the envelope. I opened it again, peeped and closed it the second time.
“When I got to my office, I locked my door, and opened the envelope very well and saw the positive symbol. I was so overwhelmed that I put the result in my bag, locked my office window and door, and went back home. It was around 11 a.m.
“It was like a dream, and I could not tell my husband immediately. I thought: Could this be true? Thereafter, I was expecting my belly to just shoot out. Many times, I went in front of my dressing mirror to look at my tummy. This was because I did not experience early morning sickness, vomiting or tiredness.
“Eventually, the lower part of my abdomen started bulging. My bump became noticeable. Then I thanked God and thought: ‘Now, I know how one feels as an expectant mother.’ The journey started like that and I was strong throughout. I think it was just God because I had strength throughout. I would climb the stairs to the last floor of the Ministry of Justice where my office was. God renewed my age. I was almost 48 years old.”
How I knew I was carrying twins
“It was when my pregnancy was about four months old. The first scan I had at eight weeks revealed a single fetus. I went for the second scan at 16 weeks and the doctor asked: ‘Is it a multiple gestation?’ I answered: ‘I wouldn’t know; but you have said it.’ As he continued to scan, he announced that I was carrying twins. I called my husband and announced the good news to him.
“I was delivered of my twin babies at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan on November 1, 2015.
“I still look at my children and marvel, thinking: ‘So, this womb actually carried these wonderful gifts. I hope I am not dreaming’. I bless God for making me a mother and taking away my reproach. I am not just a mother, but a mother of children.
“Even our members of our ministry in Ikire, Osun State, were shocked to know that the pregnancy was our first. They said that the way I served God with zeal would not make anyone to know that I had yet to have my own children.”The same was the expression from other colleagues in my office and profession. This was because whenever items for children were brought to my office for sale, I would buy for my nephews, nieces and cousins. They thought I was buying them for my children.”
She had these words for waiting couples: “I want to encourage those who are waiting for the fruits of the womb to believe that it is not over until it is over. It is God that has the final say. Let us wait patiently; keep praying, believing that it will come to pass.”