Talking about making babies is one thing, making them turned out to be a very different kettle of fish altogether. We are already parents to a delightful adoptive child, and my wife and I had planned to try for biological children.
For one thing, there was the performance anxiety to deal with. You would be surprised how fast time flies towards an appointed date. Before I knew it, it was time to start trying for kids and I wasn’t ready! Don’t get this twisted, I was ready to have more children but I wasn’t ready for all the work involved in making them. We wanted twins and we wanted them to be girls. We had prayed on it, we had read all the literature we could get our hands on and we had started to eat the foods that you eat to have twins … peanuts, spinach, that sort of thing. We had even chosen their names so all that was remaining was to get on with it.
And therein lay the problem. I thought about not needing to use contraception anymore and what a paradigm shift that was going to be. I thought about the fact that I am the firstborn boy of my parents and therefore the natural choice to bring forth an heir and what a cultural responsibility that was going to be. I wondered what I would do if we started trying for a child and didn’t succeed for weeks, months, a year, two years, more than two years. What if I was sterile? What if my soldiers were packing blanks? What if it turned out that our blood groups were incompatible or we both turned out to be sickle cell carriers? What if my soulmate and I couldn’t conceive, then what? This most pleasurable of marital benefits was, for me, slowly morphing into a nightmare.
I remembered my (very Catholic) cousin telling me whilst I was still dating my wife to go ahead and make a baby, pre-marriage, just to ensure that the plumbing was working. And how I brushed aside her suggestion. Now here I was, fixing to go into the bedchamber and I was sweating bullets. As newlyweds, we were expected to go at it like rabbits and at any other time I enthusiastically upheld my end of the bargain. As long as it was for pleasure’s sake, I was up for a good time, any time. But now, we were making a child, we were doing grown-up stuff and I felt totally out of my depth. And it wasn’t as if I could talk to my Father’s Union fellows (or my wife) about this. In Busoga, most fertile region of the country, how do I let the side down? How do I be the one to drop the ball?
I agonised for days, nay, weeks. And then it was time to get it on and put my back into it, literally. So I did. I used that wonderfully male capacity for compartmentalisation, put my fears and insecurities to one side, thought about the pleasure becoming a Ssalongo would give me and went in.