Having got married 20 years ago without a child, Mrs Freda Yohanna, wife of Pastor Promise Yohanna of Rivers of Life Bible Church International, Bauchi in Bauchi State, was blessed with a set of triplets after several miscarriages. She spoke with journalists during the Thanksgiving and child dedication service held in their church recently. ISHOLA MICHAEL was there.
Tell us more about yourself?
I am Mrs Freda Yohanna from Takum in Taraba State. I am 50 years old and I have been married to my husband, Pastor Promise Yohanna, for almost 20 years. It will be exactly 20 years on December 19 this year (2018). I gave birth to my babies on July 30, 2018.
What was your experience over the years without a child?
After about a year of marriage, I got pregnant but I had a miscarriage. I got pregnant again and I still had a miscarriage. I had a miscarriage during the third pregnancy and after about seven months, I had another miscarriage. After that, I waited for about five years before I got pregnant again and same thing happened. I remember that in 2014 I got pregnant and the scan showed that the pregnancy was a set of twins. After five months, it came down. I nearly lost my life. I had over 10 miscarriages. I was at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, (ATBUTH) Bauchi; Apple Clinic, Bauchi and Diff Hospital, Abuja while the travails lasted. We then decided that God should not give us a child again. I eventually gave birth at Alps Hospital in Jos (Plateau State).
What was going through your mind during the experience?
We really didn’t know what was happening, but knowing that it is God that gives babies and He knows everything, nothing takes Him unawares; so I trusted Him. It was just that the 2014 experience hit me so hard that we told God not to bother giving us a child again because my husband said he didn’t want to lose me. But God, in His infinite mercies, made it possible for us now and instead of twins, he gave us triplets.
Did you get frustrated that you had no child to show from the lost pregnancies?
The truth is that we were not disturbed. Our relations were most disturbed. As far as we were concerned, God has an assignment for us which is the Ministry and we are doing it. I remember 10 years ago, 2008 precisely, I resigned from my work to join my husband fully in the Ministry. The good aspect of it is that we have many children that we had raised and given some out in marriage. We always have children around the house; so, we were not really so bothered.
Was there pressure from your family members or friends?
I would not say there was no pressure because once in a while when we visited home they would ask what was wrong but we would tell them that it was not us but God, because human beings do not give children. There was pressure but it didn’t give us frustration and didn’t cause us to lose sleep.
How did you feel when you became pregnant and eventually gave birth to a set of triplets?
There was a prophecy that we would dedicate our child. Lo and behold, pregnancy came and normally, what I used to do if I took in was to continue doing my normal daily activities because I do a lot of things. But during this particular pregnancy, I stayed calm because age is no longer on my side. God really helped us; not because I stayed calm but it was God that helped us.
How would you describe your experience during labour?
There was no labour because they are triplets. At my age, I would not be allowed to go through labour. I gave birth through caesarean section.
Were you afraid of going through the operation?
No, I was not scared because I was already aware that they were triplets. From the first month when I had a scan, it was discovered that they were triplets. Scan could not show the s3x of one of the babies; it only showed that there were two boys among the three. They only saw the side of the third baby, so I was expecting either a boy or a girl. At the end of the day, the first baby came out and it was a boy, so were the second and the third. I expected the third child to be a girl but God gave me three boys. I was not scared because I prepared for triplets.
How has it been taking care of the babies?
It has not been easy, but the grace of God has been available because I cannot do it alone. I need people around and thank God people have been there. God sent helpers. Our church members have been helpful too and my sisters have been around; it has been wonderful.
I stayed away from the village for three years due to childlessness —Pastor Yohanna
Pastor Promise Yohanna, the elated father of the triplet, also spoke to journalists
How would you describe the experience before the birth of the triplet?
At a point, I felt I should no longer disturb God. I am 50 years old, a pastor and from Mubi South, Adamawa State. Honestly, it is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our sight. Last year when my wife told me that she was pregnant, I said wow! because in the past she had been pregnant but the ability to carry it to delivery stage was not there. She went for scanning after two months and a doctor said she was carrying three babies. When I was informed, I shouted and I said God wanted to compensate us with three children after waiting for this long, almost about 20 years now. I was excited actually but I was also afraid lest there would be a miscarriage and we were trusting God that it would work out. God helped and she was delivered of triplets.
How did you manage the period of waiting for a child?
There was pressure and it came as my wife started getting worried that she had no child and those married after her had got babies. We were not getting younger but older. Then, apart from her, my parents could not confront us directly; my father didn’t really disturb us much but my mother pressured us much. Every time we went to the village, she kept asking when would you bring my grand children? At a point, I stayed away from the village for almost three years. I said to myself I am a Pastor and I had come to the point in walking with God that my service to God is not based on what He does for me or not. I have come to the point that whether He blesses me or not, I will continue to serve Him. That was the position I took. It got to a point that I felt that I had been praying and trusting God for it and it didn’t materialise so why should I disturb myself? It is not every prayer that God will answer. If He doesn’t answer that’s not a problem. It was not like I gave up but I felt that life can be lived with or without children; that was the position I took. But lately, somebody met me, one of the Pastors, and told me not to give up. Also, my uncle’s wife, Mrs. Bunmi Jakko, told my wife same thing. We told them that it’s not that we have given up but it’s because we had other things to pray for. I am a nurse by training; so, I also used medical knowledge.
Do you worry about how to cater for the triplets?
I know that taking care of three kids with the economic situation is a tough thing but I know that God who brought them would provide. I am a pastor living and working by faith. I have also brought up people’s children in my house and God has helped me to take care of them. I know, having three children at the same time is not an easy task but I know God will see us through and he will provide.
How did you feel on the day the children were dedicated?
Honestly, I was overwhelmed with joy because I didn’t know people loved me that much. The goodwill was massive. People came from Lagos, Abuja, from my village, my wife’s village and from outside the country.