Following the drama that trailed her marriage to Pastor Ituah
Ighodalo of Trinity House in 2007, the rather private Mrs Ibidun
Ighodalo has opened up about her struggles with conception in a rare
The former beauty queen who, expected to get on the baby-making
business immediately after marriage, got very candid about her
experience and what she is doing about the situation.
Though it’s been 9 years of marriage without a child of her
own, rather than dwell on this challenge, the C.E.O of Elizabeth R has
opted for a coping mechanism: to help other childless couples through
her Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation, IIF.
Speaking with Thisday, she noted the pressure of being childless in this environment and how she came about starting her foundation.
Read excerpt below.
“I have heard stories of in-laws calling the woman
painful names. Those are hurtful things to say. There are names you
don’t want to call a woman that is looking up to God.”
“People may not want to be mean, but they don’t know that certain
statements and body language hurt. It is good to raise awareness and
understanding about childless couples.
“The shoes of women who are waiting on the Lord are not very easy
shoes. Emotionally, mentally and psychologically, hormonally, when you
are going through treatments, it’s a rollercoaster-you deal with
in-laws, society, friends, there’s a lot going on.”
“People who get married and have children don’t know how lucky
they are. I mean you are even careful not to get pregnant again, you are
so blessed by God, you should thank God every day. It is not easy to
find yourself in a situation where your friends are doing school runs,
you don’t know what that is, you don’t even know what your first
trimester is. The friends you had bridal showers with are having baby
showers, it takes the grace of God to remain sane, honestly.”
Her Turning point was last year when she turned 35.
Going through with her ritual of a wish list on her birthday and then
ticking-off the accomplished ones on her next birthday, she scored high
on every point, but one: Childlessness
Prayers and medical intervention were yet to birth the desired result
as the issue remained and the quest for a child consumed her.
“I had tears in my eyes when I told God, ‘you know
what? This is enough. You are going to do it when You want to do it, in
Your own time and if You are not going to do it, let it be left undone.
This is You. I trust You. Right now, it’s ok, I’m going to live my life.
I found out that I had stopped living, because that was all I wanted. I
said no, I’m going to be happy, live my life and leave it all to God.
I’m grateful to God for my own family, for the family I’m married into.”
Ibidun Ighodalo then decided to step outside herself, reaching out to
others facing the same predicament. She shared her desire with her
husband who supported it wholeheartedly.
“My focus now is to help others, one at a time. I
want to make a family happy and with the help of God, their prayers
would be answered. I know the pain and what it feels like. It will give
me joy to see them jumping and rejoicing, saying that they are expecting
their own children. I have seen it happen.
“I have seen the two sides during my course of treatment. I said
God help me, let me do this. When you focus on helping others, you don’t
know the blessings that come back to you. It is difficult but I said
,Lord you have put this in me, You have to provide.
“When I was going through some treatment, I would get to the
clinic and someone who has just done a pregnancy test was being told
that it didn’t work, it was always so devastating for me to hear them
wonder aloud where they would get money for the next treatment.
I have met women who came to the hospital to get the treatment
but they couldn’t afford it. Some couldn’t even afford the test to know
what was wrong. I have also met women who decided to share their burden,
this is how financially draining this treatment can be.”
Through her IIF platform, Mrs Ighodalo will award grants for
fertility treatment such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Frozen Embryo
Transfer and Intrauterine Insemination.
Her initial plan to help one or two couples was shelved owing to the
tonnes of applications she received. The plan has now changed to
accommodate 28 couples.
“There are some couples that have applied that have
been married for between 20 and 25 years and when I read their history,
they have come to a point where they are tired. I even found out that it
was their family that applied for some of them. A lot of people have
asked me why I don’t face my life, why am I trying to be Mother Theresa.
What is it? Is it that you have so much money you don’t know what to do
with it. I can’t even explain it.”
Ibidun Ighodalo seeks to help address the prevalence of couples in
this situation while providing enlightenment on the causes of
infertility and ways it can be dealt with.