Journey of women in ‘The Waiting Room’
The Waiting Room is an interesting book that portrays the ills in society. It takes us on a troubling journey into the experience of different women looking for the fruit of the womb and how society sees them. The stories in this book are astute with powerful emotional depth as it focuses on infertility, complications and solutions.
The Waiting Room written by Bolatito Adebayo is one of those books that captivate the mind of the reader with twists, turns and disclosures that are mind-blowing. In our society, women are most times blamed for the inability to have children overlooking the man. In some cases, the man could even be the one with the problem, but women take the brunt of the blame.
The 37-chapter book centres on three women Nkechi, Yeni and Tale, their quest to get pregnant. Also, the issue of IVF which some people look at with disdain was explored. It also exposes pastors or prophets who use people’s situations to exploit them. These women had it rough getting through the IVF process and faced disappointments. Also, it takes a look at ignorant pastors who try to dissuade couples who, after several attempts to get pregnant, considered going for IVF.
These are strong women who never gave up despite all the harrowing experiences they encountered, but were hopeful and kept pushing in their quest to get what they desired (children). Oftentimes, mothers pressurise their children. Nkechi had told her mother to stop pestering her but she wouldn’t budge. In chapter two, Nkechi’s mother (Lolo) said, “A woman is disadvantaged in a childless marriage.” Lolo has harped on the firm belief that her daughter was particularly disadvantaged because she married Shola, a Yoruba man.
For Yeni and Tunde, money wasn’t an issue as they both have profitable jobs and live a good life, but Yeni has had miscarriages. A series of tests showed she had uterine abnormalities.
Miscarriages occurred because the embryo either could not implant or once it did, could not get the needed nourishment to survive. The doctor said it could be corrected by surgery. Yeni had earlier told her husband of copulation with a phantum figure in her dream but her husband (Tunde) didn’t believe her.
On page 78, Yeni’s husband started believing his wife’s dreams after her second surgery because, on their last visit to the clinic, the doctor certified them okay and told Tunde candidly, “There are no medical reasons for your wife’s continued sterility.”
On page 286, Yeni’s pregnancy was an emotional roller coaster. She was practically in and out of the hospital and at a point, the mother had to move in to support her. She went into labour twenty-four hours after her medication and delivered the first baby vaginally in thirty-five minutes.
On page 287, The second baby was not easy. The baby was transversed, the doctors tried to turn her but their heart rate dropped. They hurried out and informed Tunde (her husband) that she had to have a C-section. Yeni called in Tunde to send word to the pastor to join them in prayers. She was afraid and later dozed off, leaving the doctors to try to save the other baby. She woke up few minutes later, muttering prayers. Thirty minutes later, the second baby came out pale. Yeni heard complaints of breathing issues. Five minutes later, the doctors were rewarded with a shrill cry, the most amazing cry Yeni had ever heard. The most traumatic part of her life was over.
On page 117, Tale and their husband had gone back to their doctor fourteen days after IVF. They had invested so much in fervent prayers but there were complications. As the fighter that she is, she kept trying. At the end of it all, on page 301, after years of being vilified, Tale had two children at a go and everyone was happy.
Nkechi later got pregnant. On page 290, before Nkechi who was about to deliver her baby through caesarean operation was wheeled to the theatre, her mother made her drink holy water and sprinkled some on her body. Nkechi laughed and caught the look of rebuke on her mother’s (Lolo) face. She could feel her mother’s fear. Nkechi assured her that she would be back with the baby. She nodded and muttered some prayers. On pages 292 and 293, Nkechi had a bouncing baby boy. The doctor held him up for her to see. The nurse whisked the baby away as she was being stitched up. The doctor congratulated her once she was sutured.
Adebayo who sees nothing wrong with IVF having had a handsome, healthy boy years ago through that process after years of looking for the fruit of the womb, in her book tries to enlighten couples not to see IVF as a bad thing because there had been many success stories. She urged couples to be patient during the process and work together.
Each character is well portrayed. The easy to understand book gets better page by page. Areas touched in the book are religion, infidelity, the issue of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), tribal differences, marital conflict and so on. This book is an eye-opener for women looking to get pregnant and will give them another perspective on life.