“Don’t hide your hurt, beautiful soul. Grab a hold of it. Run it through the purifying flame of your heart and mold it into something beautiful. Allow the depths of your pain to expand the breadth of your compassion. Gather up your stumbling stones and build a bridge for someone else. Remember what it’s like to be lost in darkness so you can be someone else’s much-needed light. Don’t deny your pain or bury it away. Let it rise to the surface. And then transform it into something that makes it worthwhile.” ― Cristen Rodgers
No words can describe a beautiful couple of Ken and Editah Trip like the quote above. Instead of hiding the pain and anxiety that comes with being childless, the couple has decided to reach out to other couples that are going through the same predicament. This, did not, however, happen overnight as it took ten long years of waiting for a child for them to know how it feels, the cocktail of emotions that come with it, the many questions they asked themselves and also having to field questions from other people as well.
Then there is the Know- it- alls who will say the most ignorant and mundane things that you have ever heard over and over again never mind the fact that they have never worn your shoe.
A famous quote I read on some cards aptly described such people by saying, “The hardest part about Infertility is people telling you it is God’s plan and then telling you to be patient. Obviously, you don’t know what it is like. ”
I guess at this point anyone who does not know how it feels should not fall over themselves to offer advice or suggestions that the couple has thought about before. People in the medical field are the ones better placed to offer advice in such situations. The wearers of the shoe are the ones who knows how much it pinches.
In an interview with Afromum.com, Editah Trip said she came from a Christian background that included going to church and a lot of singing. Her parents who were teachers instilled discipline in her and school was mandatory. Unknown to her, the journey to marriage had started four years before she began a friendship with Ken Trip, her husband.
“My husband’s singing group (Royal singers) from Maseno University visited our local high-school church. I was at Koru girls high school. I saw him looking at me. He says he also saw me stealing glances at him. We love singing so I guess we appreciated each other. That was our first meeting, explained Editah who is clearly in love many years later. ”
“We met again four years later again in a singing group in Nairobi. He said when I joined the group, his frustration to find a perfect alto ended. He was smitten,” she added about what is clearly a predestined relationship.
Editah, who works at Toyota Kenya and Ken, a businessman got married in 2007, and she describes their marriage as fun and beautiful.
“Still feels like we are on honeymoon. Of course, there are “roommate ” days when we don’t see things the same way, but we talk. Literally, talk about everything. We have our little moments, inside jokes, codes, etc. Am old school, I believe that he’s the head of the house and respect that position and support him,“ she elaborated.
Just as with any other married couple, this one wanted a child and probably even had names and a rough picture of what their life with their child would look like. However, ten years later, they are yet to get a child. A series of tests later confirmed that they were both okay. Editah, was, however, diagnosed with endometriosis after being in the marriage for some years.
“We have now waited for ten years. We support each other big time. This has helped us in handling societal pressure, and insensitive comments like, what are you still waiting for?” “Consider buying a child or why are you wasting time? ” said Editah as she talked about societal expectations and how they have managed to counter them.
Editah, also sadly narrated the way every trip they took back to their rural home was a chance for someone to face them and push some herbal medication their way.
“I took quite a bit of medicine. Am tired, I won’t take any more. I felt like a swamp sometime,” she told of her treatment journey.
Not getting a child at the expected time is bound to take its toll on a marriage and the Trips acknowledge this as well. They have devised ways to cope with the situation.
“My husband is so supportive. He also calls himself awaiting womb. We believe that children come from God. That’s why we don’t buy these barren or infertile stories.
Our in-laws love and respect him and me. You know life is not just about having a child. We impact their lives in different ways. Extended family can be the problem at times. We’ve grown thick skin though. Anyone who comes to us with those weird suggestions gets a chance to be a waiting wombs ambassador. We are on mission awareness creation,” said a determined Editah.
When we inquired how her husband Ken has coped with the situation, the answer was that he is a believer in God and often brushes off weird suggestions from some people to get a second wife because he knows that children come from God. His message to men in similar situations is,” Support your spouse; childlessness doesn’t make you any less a man. ”
Waiting Womb Group
According to the couple, being a waiting womb in Africa is not easy given the stigma and societal pressure. Having gone through this, the couple wanted to create a channel where the affected can come out and share experiences. There are also those that have walked the path and succeeded to come out and encourage the waiting ones like us. So far, the closed group boasts 2000 members. They have shared all kinds of issues among them unexplained infertility, blocked tubes, endometriosis, hormonal imbalance, lack of finances to fix small issues, male infertility issues, etc.
“The burden is much lighter knowing that one isn’t alone. Since its inception, all my break times are spent listening to some, praying with them. It’s so therapeutic just to have someone who shares your experience. The comments on our closed Facebook group ( waiting for wombs (WW)) gives us every reason to continue doing this. I see the depressed smiling. The messages in my inbox are so encouraging. Some also say that they suddenly feel that they don’t have issues after reading other experiences, ” she said
In addition to the Facebook platform, Editah says that they also get referrals and hold private meetings as well as visits almost every other weekend. They also have chats and calls with their members.
“Since we found ourselves in the same boat three years into our marriage, (younger couples think that we are maybe two years married until we tell them), I’ve had many lady friends share about their frustration as they wait. I had been reaching out to such even before we went public, ” said Editah.
“We are working on a website, and we are reaching out to men too. We’ll also be having our first meeting in June God willing,” she added.
Since its inception just a month ago, the Waiting Wombs group has made great strides that surprise the couple as well.
“At fast they are down, alone, carrying a lot of burdens. Reading other experiences lightens things. I see people getting easy, free, hopeful and trusting God even more. The support really helps.
“We are currently exploring partnerships with doctors who are willing to give us services at subsidized rates and well wishers too. So far so good. When we have our wings and can fly easily, we will move to every corner of the country to give some hope to the hopeless by God’s grace,” concluded a woman who is clearly on a mission.
According to the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, Kenya’s birth rates have been on the decline with women having an average of 3.9 births. This is a decrease from 4.6 which is the total of the fertility rate that was recorded in a survey for the years 2008-09.