But just when they thought that they had triumphed over barrenness, another round of battle began as Gloria had to carry her pregnancy for more than three years before she was delivered of a baby last month.
Gloria and her husband share a lot in common. They are both of the Migili tribe in Obi Local Government area, Nasarawa State. Both of them are also primary school teachers in Keffi, Nasarawa State, where they live.
They had fallen in love as students of College of Agriculture Lafia; a relationship that culminated in marriage after they graduated from the school.
Gloria recalled the intense pressure she and her husband came under from both families in the 12 years she stayed without getting pregnant, saying that it was a miracle that their marriage survived the pressure.
The proud 40-year-old mother of a bouncing baby boy said: “I battled with infertility for quite a long time. It was much more a problem for me during the period than it was for my husband because he underwent fertility tests and the results showed that everything about him was normal.
“I know that most men are heartbroken and are not happy with their wives when they cannot conceive, but that wasn’t my experience because my husband loves me and wants me to be happy. Yet, my failure to conceive made me feel like I was not functioning as a woman
“When I got married after about three years of courtship, I thought pregnancy would happen straightaway as I was only about 28 years. It happened for all my friends without any concern and infertility should only be a problem with older people
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“I felt guilt and anger every day having to wait for so long to get pregnant. I also felt angry with my husband for always asking me to wait for God’s time when we could have adopted a baby.
“On a number of occasions, I went to the hospital to carry out some tests but the results kept saying normal; that I only had fibroid which doctor said was not big enough to stop me from taking in.
“However, it was not long before the excitement of marriage turned into disappointment with tests after tests coming back negative.
“Initially, my cycle was irregular, so my period would come when I would least expect it. To me, this was a constant reminder of my failure to conceive.
“It was devastating. I cried many nights in my husband arms. I felt that as a woman, I was not functioning as I should.
“My husband reminded me that we were in it together, but that did little to comfort me as I started becoming resentful of others who got pregnant so easily.
“It became difficult for me to behold the pregnant women in the community, and
every baby I met was a reminder of what I wanted but didn’t have.
“I even found myself not wanting to socialise with my friends who had children, or attending functions where pregnant relatives or friends would be discussing the imminent arrival of their bundles of joy.
“The once outgoing, full of life lady which I was became one that was questioning every move she made in case it would reduce my chances of conceiving. I even started to refuse nights out in case people would ask why I wasn’t having an outing with my husband.
“I confided in some close friends, and Iam so grateful to those that have been very supportive. Others wouldn’t bring up the subject at all, most likely for fear of not knowing what to say. However, saying nothing made me feel even worse.
“I eventually knew something had to change. I couldn’t continue to live my life like that, but I didn’t know what to do.
“After about six years of my marriage, I started wearing my mask. My mask was my brave face; the invisible shield I wore when I left the comfort of my home.
“It allowed me to smile at others and congratulate them on their great pregnancy news. It allowed me to laugh off the big question, ‘when are you going to have a baby?’ It helped me to go to work and do my job.
“However, my mask would always come off when I got home, and tears of disappointment and frustration, the feeling of loneliness and isolation and confusion as to why this still hadn’t happen for us would take over.
“I was lucky that my husband and I have a solid relationship. However, we were suffering in silence, and it felt like we were carrying a great big secrete that no one understood.
“About four years ago, during an appointment in the hospital, I asked a question about fertility treatment and I was advised to go to a fertility clinic as they were the specialists. This was a real eye-opener for me.
“I also struggled to have a baby out of envy, especially when I saw other mothers carrying their babies. I felt we deserved the chance to become parents too because we are good people.
“But it never came and I continued to have my mask and go about my day to day life with the hope that someday, our dream of having a baby would come true.”
Asked how she felt the first time she realised that she was pregnant, she said: “When I first took in, I knew that I was pregnant with signs and test that confirmed that I was.
“Three months later, I went to the hospital for another test, but the result showed that I only had fibroid and not pregnancy. Subsequently, I began to experience bleeding at least once a day. Sometimes, my tummy would protrude in the semblance of pregnancy.
“I went to different hospitals but kept receiving the same result that nothing was wrong with me. But deep down in me, I knew that all was not well.”
She told our correspondent that she was taken aback when a middle aged woman in their church told her that she was pregnant.
She said: “Based on the tests that showed I had fibroid, I was angry with the woman for giving me false hope. Thereafter, I started going from one church to another and from one native doctor to another, but the result that I got from them was the same. I became so confused that I prayed for death to come
“I went again to the middle aged woman about one and a half years later and complained to her about the pains that I was going through. She told me again that I was pregnant. She prayed with me and advised me to be more prayerful so that God would deliver me from the hands of the devil.
“While I kept praying, I was also asking myself why the baby was not kicking if truly I was pregnant.
“I bought a lot of herbs based on advice from many people that they would cure the fibroid. I took a lot of local cleansers but to no avail and this went on for almost two years. This whole saga lasted for almost four years. Then God took pity on me and decided to wipe away my tears on the first day of November 2020.”
Recalling that she gave birth to a baby boy on that fateful day, she said: “Initially, I thought it was worms that were trying to come out of my body. I did not believe that it was a baby. That was what I told the middle age woman when she came to assist me at the hospital after praying for me and helping to examine and encourage me.
“I was in deep pains, so I ignored her advice that I should push. I later became unconscious for about 27 minutes. When I regained consciousness, I heard the cry of a baby. I was surprised and confused seeing my baby. I couldn’t believe my eyes. But I thank God for my life and that of my baby.”
Her husband, Isaac, told our correspondent on the phone that he and Gloria had been together as husband and wife for about 12 years.
He said: “We met in the collage and dated for about three years before we tied the nuptials knot and decided to throw away the birth control pills. It felt so incredible daring to do so particularly because both of us were young and we were both just graduating from the school.
“We knew it might take a few months to get pregnant and we figured it was best to start early. Little did we know that it would take much longer than a few months.
“I can’t even tell you how many tests we ran during the period. But thank God it finally came after 12 years.
“Within the waiting period, a lot of people told me stories. Some even suggested that I should quit the marriage for a fresh one. But today, God has answered my prayers. So I thank God, and that is all I can say.”