Women are confronted with the decision to choose between family and their career at every point in their life.If she chose work over family, she’s seen as a selfish woman who cared less about being a mother to her children and a wife to her husband and so they suffer the guilt in silence. This is her story….
” Eti sen”? meaning how are you in Ghanaian language.She looked at me bewildered and ask”Are you from Ghana”? I nodded in the affirmative and asked where she’s heading. Long story short she told me about her impending visit back home to see her sister who has a nervous breakdown.
Akua narrated the story about how her older sister Matilda met the love of her life Fiifi at Legon at the greater Accra region in Ghana. I glanced at my watch, still got 45 mins before my flight, adjusted myself in my seat as I look pensively at her.She continued her story.Matilda was the 3rd of 5 children born to Mr and Mrs Forson. She was a vibrant girl growing up and everyone loves her. She had her Senior high education at Yaa Asantewaa girls and took a course in business administration at the University of Ghana where she met Fiifi. He was a medical student and they hit it off.After school ,found a job at a prestigious bank at the ring road central in Accra while Fiifi completed his two more years in medicine.They continued dating and later got married. Life was nothing but roses.She was making good money and he, twice as much in his practice.
After 3 years came along their first born son, Andrew and then Mika their daughter came,2 years after and then Aiden who was 8 months at the time. Matilda relied on her babysitter to cater for her children as she continued working until one evening she noticed strange bruises on Aiden’s back while giving him a bath. He has been crying all evening so she decided to give him a warm bath to calm him before bed.Her worst suspicions were confirmed when she reviewed a hidden camera in their living room and watch with horror how Ama the babysitter slammed Aiden on the couch and slapped him when he wouldn’t stop crying.
Mika was crying in the background as Ama yelled at her to shut up. She calmed the baby to sleep and waited for Fiifi to come home so she could break the news to him.He was angry after watching the video and demanded that Matilda quit her job and become a full- time mother to her kids. At the time Fiifi was making more than enough and her staying home was a brilliant idea. She got pregnant with their fourth another girl Freda. Their family is now complete, Matilda put her 100% in raising her children while Fiifi comes home with the bacon.
15 years into their marriage Matilda noticed a drastic change in her husband. He stopped coming home early and if he does come home, complains about the way she managed the house, treat her with disrespect. She thought it was the pressure from work and so took every punch until one night when he came home at 3.00 am demanding her to get up and fix him something to eat. She was still in bed when he grabbed her by the arm, dragged her and threw her down the stairs in his effort to get her to the kitchen. She broke her hip and has to be taken to the hospital for surgery. She spent a month there with limited visits from Fiifi and their children.
When the time came for her to be discharged, her mother offered to have her moved in with them to continue care to nurse her back into health. Fiifi and his family visited her and ask that their marriage dissolved.Matilda still in shock at what is happening fainted and was taken to the hospital once again. Fiifi didn’t pay her a visit neither nor her kids. They later heard that Fiifi had remarried and has filed sole custody of their children declaring Matilda dangerous and unfit to be around her children. Tears welled in my eyes as she said that’s why I’m traveling back home to give my sister support.
I asked “Why do women have to choose between work and family ? Will it be different if she has chosen her career over family? Society will never give it a rest for a single woman without kids and a husband.They see you as worthless and not attractive enough to catch a man’s eye. No matter how much money you shower on your family,they’ll keep reminding you of not having their grandchildren and you’re not getting any younger.
I almost startled when the announcer mentioned my flight. I got up and hugged Akua. I asked her to update me on Matilda as we exchange numbers.
Tell Matilda that all is not lost …she should get up, dust herself and continue moving.This is not her end ! I said and waved at her. I didn’t hear from her for over a month. She called back. Matilda is finally doing well but she lamented at how she can’t get a job at 50 with her limited skills.
I assured her that I have a friend in the tech industry who can train her in IT with her knowledge in computer science,she will be good to go.Matilda was trained and got a job as a database administrator at a firm. Life is back to normal.She bought herself a house and devoted her time to her work. Two of her children are currently at the university while the other 2 are in SHS. She got a lawyer who revoked the custody arrangements and the court granted her equal custody of her kids. She contributed 50/50 to her children’s need.I was checking my mail when I came across a beautiful handwritten note with the heading…
“Thank You” Sister Gifty
” God sent you to me that night and it made a whole lot of difference.Keep up the good work.
I’m happy to help I said to myself….Its people like you that gives me the strength to wake up every morning and help.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens