We returned from our honeymoon in mid-October. Early November my wife started complaining of body weakness and nausea. At first, we thought it was malaria but then it persisted. A few days later, she checked for pregnancy and she was positive. We didn’t plan to get pregnant at the early stage of our marriage but the news made us happy nonetheless. A child is always welcoming news in a life of a new couple. The gossips didn’t understand how fast the pregnancy came. They started doing the maths and concluded that my wife got pregnant before our wedding.
That wasn’t something we bothered about. What we bothered about was how to take care of our unborn child until he/she arrives safely.
They told me the first pregnancy is always the hardest so I should expect some challenges and some weird behavior from my wife. I was ready—or let me say, I thought I was ready for everything until the pregnancy was four months old. My wife started having some weird cravings. The first was for chalk. She craved chalk. Yeah, the white thing teachers use to write on the blackboard. I was at work one afternoon when she texted me; “Is there a place you can get chalk on your way home?” I asked, “Chalk? Teacher’s chalk?” She responded, “Yeah, I want some. If you can get two or three pieces for me, I would be grateful.”
“Is someone coming to teach you in the house?” I asked. She said no. I ask again, “You want to start teaching the kids in the area?” She said, “Buy me a chalk and stop asking questions.” Immediately I got home, she took the chalk from me, dipped it in water, and started painting her lips with the chalk.” That looked weird. I asked, “Is it a new trick you read on Google?” She said, “I just like the scent. It smells so good. I want it where I can smell it all the time.”
I was watching her all evening. She’ll paint her lips and take a bite every now and then. The next morning when I was going to work she said, “Don’t forget to get me some chalk when coming.” I asked, “What happened to the three pieces I brought?” She said, “It’s finished. I ate them.” “You ate the chalks? When? How?” It turned out while we were sleeping, she was busy munching on the chalk. That day when I was coming from work, I brought home three boxes of chalk. Life is easier when you stock the essentials.
By the time the pregnancy was six, the cravings had piled up. One Saturday dawn, she tapped me to wake up. I got up thinking she was in pain or something. She said, “Let’s go to the beach.” I said, “Beach at this time of the night? Do you want to shake hands with Maame Water or something? Is that the new craving?” She burst out crying; “Why are you being hard on me? Why do you complain anytime I asked for a favor? Is that what a loving husband does to his pregnant wife?”
I started feeling bad for her. I said, “Dear, try and sleep. Soon it would be morning. I will take you wherever you want to go. It’s too late to go to the beach.” She blew her nose. She said, “First thing tomorrow morning we’ll go to the beach?” I said, “Yes, I will be ready for you.” Just when I was about to let myself down on the bed, she said, “Go and get me some chalk then.”
Early the next morning, I dressed up waiting to take her to the beach. I went inside the bedroom and she was snoring. I waited for a while. She woke up around 8am. I said, “I’m ready.” She asked, “Ready for what?” I asked, “Are we not going to the beach again?” She said, “Forget it. Ati me ni so.”
It didn’t stop there. Three days later, she woke me up at dawn again asking for us to go to the beach. I checked the time and it was 1:42am. I said, “Dear, please eat some chalk, we’ll go tomorrow.” It took me a lot of effort to get her to accept not to go to the beach at that time. She kept asking for it each day and she only asked to go to the beach at dawn. I asked what makes her want to go to the beach and she said, “It’s the smell. I feel like it’s the only thing I want to smell at dawn.”
Every new day comes with new cravings. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and plead with her to crave easy things; “Dear, whatever the cravings might be today, let it be something easy. I beg of you.”
Two weeks ago, she tapped me at dawn (It always happens at dawn). She said, “Something is smelling in this room.” I didn’t move. She said it louder, “I said something is smelling.” I didn’t move. The next one came with a slap on the shoulder, “I said something is smelling, are you dead?” I got up. “Dear, it smells just like our room, nothing different so what are you smelling?” She said, “Maybe you have a catarrh. Something is dead around here. I can smell a rotten carcass. A dead mouse or chicken.”
The room smelled ok to me so I decided to sleep. She said, “No you can’t sleep. Let’s look for that carcass.” She put the light on and for the next five minutes or so, we looked for a carcass that never existed. I went to the hall to get some water. I was in the hall when she screamed, “So it’s you. See, the scent is gone. Didn’t you bathe last night? Shower before you get here.” I didn’t protest. I went inside there and showered. I even used roll-on before going in. She said, “It’s worse. You have to sleep in the hall.”
I picked my pillow and cloth, went to the hall, and slept peacefully. I woke up with some slight body aches but it was better than being tapped at dawn to go to the beach. She went to work the next day and when she came back she said, “Why is everyone smelling? I could hardly stay at the office today.” I only smiled. I said in my head, “Cravings are gone. Welcome to everyone is smelling.”
We are eight months pregnant, going to our ninth month. I still carry the imaginary smell so for the last two weeks, I sleep in the hall. I’ve been sacked from my bed but I’m not complaining because I sleep better at night these days. I don’t want to wake up one morning and smell good in her nose. It would mean going back to sleep next to her. It would also mean being tapped at dawn to go to the beach. Or being asked to go and bring a piece of chalk. I don’t want to go back to those moments again so when I pray in the morning, I tell God, “Let the smell continue today till the end of the pregnancy. I sleep better these days and I’m grateful.”