I am always humbled and grateful to God every time he gives me a platform to speak and share my experiences and also my purpose and vision. I did an interview with Aderonke of Thisday and I am sharing it here. God gave me a mandate that “hurt young girls do not have to be broken women” and that is the vision behind this site. A safe haven and a refuge place for all of us to speak, share and heal. I admit that this is not just for women because there are men who also have their battles. I also hope that those who have dealt with pain, loss, disappointment and other emotional battles will find their healing and find God as their healing Father here as continue to share. I say this all the time, this is not about me in anyway but I am just a vessel that God is using to achieve his purpose. I hope this interview helps someone. Check it out below.
Culturally we tend to keep our hardships and sorrows closely to our chest. Generally, it is seen as a sign of weakness to openly share your problems or to even admit to them, this is far from sustainable. In addition to the culture of silence there is a culture of shame. We feel ashamed for struggling through a difficult experience. Those who strike the bravery to share painful experiences are often accused of being soft and weak. In the midst of this culture of shame and silence the root causes never get addressed.
Tito Idakula has chosen to break these walls of silence and shame, by sharing her story and the stories of others. She recently went through a challenging experience that she was able to overcome through her faith and belief in God. After the loss of her daughter, she found relief through her religion. She then decided to share her story on her newly launched website (mylighthouse.com.ng). This website is for people who have gone through trauma and been able to overcome them through religion. The website is barely two weeks old and has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. In the following interview she shares her journey
What gave you the courage to share the story of how you lost your first child?
God did. From the very beginning I knew I would share a testimony although I thought it’d be a very different testimony because I thought my daughter was going to be alive so that was going to be my testimony that despite what Doctors said she survived. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but I kept hearing God say to me ‘Don’t you think I am still worth praising”? The more time I meditated on it, the more convinced I was that it was what God wanted me to do, to share his goodness through my pain. So I just chose to obey although I had no idea the magnitude of what I was doing. I realise today that although I only got to have her for a few hours I still remain grateful to God for giving me those hours and using my experience to comfort and encourage others.
What has been the public response like?
Public response has been incredible. I have personally not come across a single negative response, which I find amazing. I have received emails and phone calls and messages from so many people. I am glad that people going through pain and loss and doubt in God are being encouraged by my simple honesty and act of obedience to God. Based on the response, I now totally understand why God told me to share because I realised so many people are going through so much pain and bottling it up and God used me to show them his comfort and his healing power.
Is there a sense of relief now that you have shared your story?
There is a sense of relief because it was a burden on me to keep carrying it as a secret almost as if I did something wrong. It was also a burden because God had laid it in my heart to share but I kept hesitating. The minute I did share was the minute I felt truly free. It was also great because a lot of people used to see me in public and ask how the baby was and it was very awkward and painful to have to say the baby died over and over again. So I am quite relieved.
What’s your advice for those who have shared your experience?
Trust God. I know it is incredibly painful but God is our comforter. The moment I learnt to stop being angry and instead trust God to give me comfort was the moment I truly started healing. Also talk about it, don’t bottle your emotions in, you didn’t do anything wrong and don’t think its because of something you might have done that this happened. Take your time and don’t rush your healing but everyday try to get out of bed and live. I also used to write a lot especially when I felt particularly overwhelmed and maybe I couldn’t pray so I would just write letters to God and express what I was going through. Please believe that God has the ability to turn a terrible pain into terrific praise.
Is there anything a friend or family member can do to help someone who has gone through a miscarriage?
Although my situation was not a miscarriage as I had actually carried my daughter over full term and had to be induced after 42 weeks, I still think I can identify with those who have experienced miscarriages as well. I think the loss of a child even through a miscarriage is still painful because we really bond with our babies and we give them names and imagine what they will look like and to lose all of that is emotionally draining especially if you have to go through it a few times. I think people tend to shut down and try to avoid speaking about it because they often don’t know what to say. So they are almost forcing the woman to keep her pain in. A lot of times when I tried to speak to certain people about it, they will just kind of change the topic and I was often frustrated.
Also just let the family dealing the loss lead and deal as they want, some people will talk and others might not, but as friends and family, just respect their choice. Don’t force your own emotions or feelings on them. Please let them know you are available if they need you. I was quite upset when I felt people I considered friends and family were avoiding me because they didn’t know what to say and that was more hurtful. Please be very careful what you also say to people who are experiencing this. Someone in innocence said to me that she wondered if I had been drinking (I had stopped drinking way before I got pregnant actually) and if maybe that affected my daughter.
I knew she didn’t mean any harm but to me I felt she was blaming me in her quest to try to understand and have an explanation. Another lady told me how people kept saying to her “it is because of your lifestyle”. If you don’t have anything nice to say, please don’t say anything at all. For me personally, I appreciated it when people will holler and just talk to me normally, I didn’t want people calling me and crying or asking me a million times “how are you”. But everyone is different; just go with the flow of what the couple wants. This is especially true with miscarriages when people tend to dismiss it by saying “another one will come”. Although they mean well, I don’t think its as comforting because the woman already started bonding with the baby so to lose the baby is just as painful regardless of how many weeks you were pregnant for.
In addition to your faith, did you seek any other method to help with your experience such as counselling?
Not immediately, it was mostly my faith that helped me. I did meet an amazing person who became my Life Coach, Coach Lillian Adegbola. I was able to completely express myself with her and all my lingering issues and I had a good cry session and I admit this helped me to feel very free. What happened through my experience of losing my daughter was that other issues came to the forefront, which I had to deal with, and she was extremely helpful.
What are your long term plans for your website?
This is not just for women dealing with miscarriages or the loss of a child. In my experience, I realised I had other pain I was carrying as well and I had never really been able to talk about them and they came to the surface. The website is to create an avenue for those who are hurt and in pain to speak and find healing as we all share. My long-term vision is to create a community where we can all help each other to deal with whatever it is we are going through.
Through the website I also believe God has given me a mandate that “hurt young girls do not have to be broken women”. So many of us are hurting from experiences we had in our childhood or even as adults and inside we are broken although we look like we have it together. With the website I want women (and even men) to find hope and healing through their emotional pain. We will also be interviewing people for the site who have gone through various experiences as victims and have become victors. People whose tragedies have become testimonies. We just want to show God’s light and give people refuge, which is why it is called My Lighthouse. It belongs to all of us and when you need a plan to run to, you can just run to www.mylighthouse.com.ng.
Religion plays an active role in the lives of many Nigerians. For some, religion can be dark, self-serving, hypocritical, hazardous and even life threatening. On the other hand, it can uplift and empower. Nigeria can be harsh, difficult and brutal. This leads many to churches and mosques to find meaning, solace and ultimately serve God. Religion may not always be the solution for everybody or every situation but Tito Idakula’s story is a testament to her faith and the faith of many others. Her website gives a voice to those who are suffering which makes it one of the most important websites in Nigeria.