How Can a Child be Called a Mistake by Viola Okolie

How Can a Child be Called a Mistake by Viola Okolie


Everyone has made one at one time or the other in their lives, some people more than most and some others, maybe not quite as much as they should have.

Take for instance, the day I had an appointment somewhere in Maitama, Abuja. Being one of those city dwellers who actually resides in one of the suburbs otherwise referred to as “Abuja Axis”, I had obtained general directions to my destination with the intention of calling when I was in the vicinity to receive the specifics. So, dreadlocks in place, lip shimmering glossily, I set off for Maitama, arrived safely, pulled up to a street corner, reached for my bag to retrieve my phone to make the call and pulled out…

… my television remote control!

In my hurry to leave the house, I had mistaken the remote control for the phone. Since I did not have my appointment’s contacts off hand, I had to make a return trip to the house to pick up the phone. Double the time, double the effort, double the expenses, double the wahala – the only thing which shortened was the actual time initially allotted for the meeting.


That…was a mistake.

Now, check this out – Boy meets girl, he asks her name, she answers. He asks for her number, she obliges. He asks for a date, she accepts. From the date, one thing leads to another. Maybe they have a million and one dates, maybe they have just one. Bottom line is, they end up on a bed somewhere, he takes off his clothes, she takes hers off too. They collapse on the bed and end up doing the “do-do”.

Maybe midway one offers a condom and the other declines, maybe not. Maybe they are too caught up in the passion of the moment and skinny dip. Maybe they have countless more couplings, maybe it is just the one.

Who knows?

Who even cares? Definitely not me – whatever two consenting adults do behind closed doors and out of the public eye is none of my beesknees and should be none of yours too – capisce?

Anyway, the decision to have sex or not is usually deliberate; so can hardly be referred to as a mistake.

So, why the bejeezers would the product of such couplings be referred to as a mistake?

I listened in the other day as an OAP berated a young lady for the “mistake” she made in getting pregnant out of wedlock, asking her whether she regretted the “mistake”, made her apologise to (I guess since the world was listening in), the world at large for the “mistake” and advice other young ladies like her how to avoid making the same “mistake” – and I was thinking, “No, No, No, Hell Enn to the Oh, this is not happening”!

It was made much worse by the fact that said “mistake” was not taking the labelling quietly either, she was yowling at the top of her lungs, protesting the qualification as a product that should be dismissed and given second class treatment simply because a ring did not encircle her mother’s finger before she was born. How on earth do you begin to remedy the painful conditioning of a young parent’s mind that a bundle of joy is a “mistake”? Unwanted? An irritation?

How do you repair the psychological trauma that is inflicted on the child who is derided, mocked, made to feel unwanted and unloved? In all of this, the only character that escapes the labelling and stigma and is sometimes goaded on to continue with the ministry of “multiplying and replenishing the earth”, is the man.

Listen, you who decide(d) to have sex without adequate contraception, YOU are the mistake. If a bundle of joy is delivered nine months after the sentencing to hard labour, then that child is simply put, A CHILD! And should be treated as such. Matter of fact, it is my candid opinion that in these days of pro-choice and easily obtained abortions, the woman who decides to give her child a fighting chance at life, an opportunity to etch his or her name in the sands of time, should be celebrated and not labelled.

Nigerians, pull your ears and note the following names of world famous “mistakes”:

  1. Oprah Winfrey (next time you sit in front of a TV and gawk at the multi supra billionaire, remember that in Nigeria, she would have been labelled a mistake)
  2. Pope Clement VII (Gasp! Yes, you heard that right! One time spiritual Oga patapata of the world)

Confucius (think The Golden Rule, think Confucius)

PS: I don’t know whether if I add Jesus Christ to this list, deeply religious Nigerians will not jump on my neck and start complaining about how it was the Holy Spirit that impregnated Maria di nso, but the villagers definitely thought otherwise and labelled him a mistake yet look, millions of us believe in and worship him as the saviour of the world.


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About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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