It’s a hell of a life. It’s demanding and quite expensive to manage. In some cases victims and parents manage to scale through in one piece and for some it has been entirely tragic. Victims of sickle cell anaemia go through a lot. It can happen to anybody , status not withstanding. Here Eucharia Anunobi shares her experience of treating and managing her son all alone …without his father. There are lessons to learn from her experience.

What’s your view on single parenthood and Nollywood?
First of all, I want to say single parenthood has nothing to do with Nigeria, it has nothing to do with actresses or any particular country. As a matter of fact, it is a worldwide thing. It has always been, even in the bible. I am sure Haggai the mother of Ishmael, was a single mother. You know about her heritage and if I’m not mistaken Barrack Obama was brought up by a single mother.

I have given examples from the bible and real life. It means that single parenthood is not a Nigerian thing; it a worldwide thing. Why is it so? It’s because irresponsible men abandon their wives and children, they don’t have the spirit of God dwelling inside them. If a man is responsible in the real sense of the word; I mean responsible in terms of finance, responsible in terms of religion and spirituality, responsible in terms of sex, responsible in the sense of emotional stability, he would not abandon his family, his wife and children.

But when you find out that a man is spiritually low, financially low, emotionally low, they feel incapable and before you know it they abandon their family. So I want you to understand that it is not a Nollywood thing. Have you ever gone into the banking industry or the hospitality business or the insurance business and there are no single mothers there? It has nothing to do with Nollywood, it is a worldwide thing.

There are thousands or millions of people outside there in other sectors of the economy who are single parents and I can only add that men are no longer men and they’ve never been men. Any man who has never taken care of his family, who runs away from his responsibilities, abandons a pregnant woman, abandons the children is not responsible. Especially those who are not filled with the spirit of God, those that don’t fear God. You can ask anyone who has ever had a husband who never lived up to his responsibilities and you will discover that most of these things that I have mentioned are lacking in them.

So what we will do is to pray that our men including the aged ones and those about to come, would have their heads immersed in Christ, living and working according to his will. When men derail, when they do not do the will of God , they will live according to the world and how is the world operating? The world is ruled by Satan and Satan has been condemned and as long as he has been condemned he will not go to hell alone; he will take as many people as possible. You should know that marriage is an institution ordained by God to replenish the earth. Satan knows that the will and joy of God is that people should be happy, married and be blessed.

What did he do? He attacked this first, that is why you see homosexuals everywhere. Instead of a man marrying a woman the way God designed it, a man will go and marry another man. A man will open his mouth and say I am born with dysfunctional hormone that is why I am gay. That is a lie from the pit of hell. You know God is not an author of confusion. I don’t know if you can understand me. He won’t create a man and put the hormone of a female inside him and he won’t create a woman and put the hormone of a man inside her and say okay you have a female body but start thinking like a man. These are all twisted ideas of the devil including lesbianism.

So when Satan sees people that are already married, he looks for loopholes through which he tries to penetrate, but while one partner might be spiritually high, unfortunately the other partner might just be low. He looks for a lukewarm partner and then he enters, that is why the Bible says the devil is roaring to and fro looking for whom to devour. He will come in by all means that are possible. He would come in by making the man incapable. I want to say that even if a man is incapable financially, he can as well be strong spiritually, by attending church and reading everything that has to do with God and following his ways. There is no one who has ever followed the ways of God, that will not be rewarded for following God at the end of the day. The Bible says “…I never told you that you will not walk through fire, I never told you that life will be easy but as long as you walk through that fire, I will always be with you”. So life has never been a bed of roses, we were meant to have challenges, we were meant to have ups and downs but if you hang unto God, he will make the journey easy. Anyone who abandons his home and turns women like us into single mothers is not responsible.

I have two relatives who have sickle cell anaemia . In fact we lost one of them. Can you shed more light on challenges of raising your son alone ?
I like the fact that you know what it means to have a sickle cell gene. You know sometimes when I talk to people and I tell them my son is sick, they tell me to pray that it will soon go away. I just look at it and laugh. I call it ignorance because I think they don’t know about it. Imagine somebody saying don’t worry, he’ll outgrow it, Maybe they think it is asthma. Sickle cell is not an asthmatic condition. You can’t outgrow it when the weather changes or when the person takes further care of it. It is a condition that can only be changed miraculously by God or if you want to try to play God, be doing what we call bone marrow transplant but even with bone marrow transplant the person’s cell will not be any better, the person will still end up having low blood count and a lot of inabilities. Bone marrow transplant means trying to inject the bone marrow of a donor which may never adapt because it is foreign. It might never produce enough blood that the original sickle cell patient had. That might lead to low blood count. A sickle cell gene is not something any patient can outgrow, unfortunately it is a life time condition. With sickle cell, all we can do is pray to God and get better medication and then eat as much healthy food as possible and the rest is in the hands of God.

What’s the experience like?
I’m sure you know that it is a very traumatic experience. People cannot imagine the tears I shed, you cannot imagine the agony that I go through. I’m always in the hospital with my son. Sometimes, it will be three times in two weeks or four times in two weeks, I’ll be in the hospital with my son when he’s down with crisis. Nobody can understand what I am going through. Most times people see me looking gorgeous, they don’t see beyond the clothes. I’ve got to hang in there, I am not going to kill myself or go down because the devil wants me to go down. In the night people don’t know the tears I shed but I am only shedding tears because I know my God will do something and he will carry me through. It is traumatic…I go through excruciating pain.

Sometimes I wonder why my heart has not collapsed, sometimes I wonder why I am still carrying on, sometimes I wonder why I can’t even die myself because sometimes when my son is going through this crisis, I cry to God and I’m like, why can’t I just suffer the pain myself… why can’t I heal the pain. We are talking about a situation where you see your child begging for sleep or sometimes whilst sleeping he screams out loud in excruciating pain that might have affected one of his joints. Sometimes, I feel like killing myself because it pains me that I brought a beautiful child into the world to go through so much pain.

I ask God to please let the love of his mercy be with me and my child, and take a little bit of the pain away, nobody can understand it. It’s worse than toothache. Most times it means that blood vessels have been blocked and oxygen and blood are not passing through which will cause excruciating pain . I don’t even know how to go about it or explain it. It has not been easy but God has been my only strength. No one can understand unless you live with me in the house.

I remember sometime ago there was this pastor , who only came to visit once in a while maybe when my son is having crisis and he’s on the bed for four days, he will pray and say don’t worry he will be fine, God will do a miracle. I would say yes, I know God will do a miracle, at least God is doing a miracle in providing me with the finance to buy my son’s drugs and being able to take him to the hospital whenever he has a crisis. That is beyond me to take care of. I’ve spent a fortune buying his medication. So he is practically taking drugs on a daily basis.I am sure you understand? So this particular period we spent a little time in his place …on holidays. Unfortunately one night, my son broke down into crisis.

The pastor and his family started praying with him from 11:30pm till 1am. My son was still wailing and crying and screaming in pain. I was backing my son, rocking him, caring for him, having not slept myself from that 11:30pm till 4 am. The pastor came back after a while and asked. My sister is this what you have been going through? You mean this is what you’ve been talking about? The pastor started weeping and started calling on God, saying…. God where are you,…. God how can this boy be going through this? Though I was caring for my son who was crying, I had to start placating the pastor. He couldn’t believe it.

He asked… “So this is what you meant the time you told us your son was having a crisis, you mean this is all what is all about,… you mean this child has not slept from 11:30 to 4am? I said now you know what I’m talking about. By the time we continued this kind of thing for the next four days, they almost ran mad. So I am trying to make you understand that this could go on for two weeks.

So I go through sleepless nights, most times I am standing on my feet sleeping. I have to console him, I have to pray with him, I have to tell him that God is there, that he will take care of his pains. So nobody can understand what I am going through in my home. That is why when people go about and gossip or write lies or some nonsense about us, I just laugh because they don’t know you and they can’t understand what you are going through. Because I am in showbiz, I have to look good to get the job. I can’t look haggard and still get the job. I have to do the show before I get the business side of show business, but you have to understand that we go through a lot too.

How old is he now?
By the grace of God my son is 8 years now.