The stigmatisation of people who have or do not have children is a phenomenon that has stayed longer than bearable, and Nigerians need to unlearn it already.
The Baby Drama series reminds us of all the troubles women go through after marriage to prove, through childbirth, that they are ‘real women’. Baby Drama follows several women from different backgrounds, in various careers, connected by the impact of a baby or lack of one in their lives.
We meet ‘Esosa Essien’, a woman who has been married for seven years and has all she wants – except a child. After many failed In vitro fertilisation (IVF) attempts, and visits to fertility clinics that yielded nothing, her husband, ‘Oscar’, begins to treat her with animosity. He goes as far as having an affair.
Next, we meet ‘Iye Adeyemi’, a top-level executive at a financial firm who is a workaholic. As Esosa’s sister, Iye does her best to be there for her through her trying times. But, work and dealing with the misogynistic men who try to undermine her efforts is her focus. So, when Iye finds out that she’s pregnant, it throws a wrench in her plans. Although she tries to hide it, her husband, ‘Seye’, soon finds out and is thrilled. But, Seye can’t see how Iye’s pregnancy would ruin her career.
‘Kese Ajayi’, Iye’s sister-in-law, is unmarried but wants to become a mother urgently. Moved with this desire, she decides to freeze her eggs (mature oocyte cryopreservation) till she can find a suitable person and have kids. Unconventional, but it suits her purpose. She then meets a new co-worker who sparks her interest and unknowingly triggers a latent PSTD that leaves her with nightmares. She now finds herself in a self-made love triangle between her co-worker, ‘Hassan’, who has proposed to her, and the cute medical doctor she sees at her hospital check-up. Kese has begun to imagine a relationship with one evolving from someone who wanted nothing to do with men.
‘Amara’ is an actress who is obsessed with maintaining a particular social standing, even when she isn’t exactly there. Amara is having an affair with Oscar – Esosa’s husband. And yes, she knows he’s married. And, to complicate the troublesome cycle, she gets pregnant for him. With all this drama, Amara becomes an unlikely pair with ‘Oni’, her student assistant on the movie set.
‘Oni’ is also pregnant, although hers resulted from a one-time drunken tryst with another actor on the film set. When Amara faces emotional stress onset, Oni proves to have a calming effect on her and brings out Amara’s maternal instinct. Oni is also the only one who knows Amara is pregnant, so she helps her with costume fitting as Amara gains weight. With her pregnancy, Oni also faces difficulties. She’s a student from a poor home who has no way to support a baby. As abortion is not an option, naive Oni is forced to grow up to find a way to survive quickly.
One thing this drama has taught us so far is that we need to demystify childless marriages. Of course, not every woman can give birth easily. Some will need IVF procedures; some will have to use a surrogate. But the point is, women should not be ashamed because they can’t have children.
We also see the characters grow as they navigate the complexities of their situations. They may not have it all figured out yet, but we are excited about what will happen next. It’s refreshing that there is finally a drama exploring this aspect of life, shedding light and hopefully educating people about it. Adoption should also be an option people need to explore. We can’t wait to see how these women navigate their problems in the remaining episodes.
The show is halfway done, and we have unanswered questions. What will become of Esosa and Oscar’s marriage? Will Amara be the final straw that breaks their already cracked marriage? Will Kese allow herself to find love? Will Iye keep the baby, or will her career take a higher priority?
Baby Drama airs every Wednesday on Africa Magic Showcase (DStv channel 151) at 9 pm. DStv viewers can watch the series via the DStv app on multiple devices at no additional cost. The app is available for download from the Apple and Google Play app stores. Baby Drama is also available on the online streaming service, Showmax.