BY TONY OGAGA ERHARIEFE & OKEKE PRECIOUS
TODAY, she is a happy mother of a set twins (a boy and girl). Once upon a time, the actress known as Lepa Shandy (Folashade Omoniyi-Adewale) battled childlessness for many years and was haunted by the social stigma attached to barrenness.
In a-no-hold-barred chat with Entertainer, the movie producer opened up on her experience and admonished people never to mock or look down on women battling childlessness.
“I don’t want to go into the challenges I went through but it was terrible,” begins Lepa Shandy, who premiered her latest movie, Eri Ife, and celebrated her birthday last Sunday in Lagos simultaneously at an event that attracted industry stakeholders at LTV. “It was a very emotional experience for me. All I do now is thank God for blessing me with my set twins. You know, like the popular saying goes, ‘leave your past with the past,’ I don’t want to go into the past. All you just do when God has helped you to scale through is glorify and thank Him.”
Lepa Shandy says that while experiece lasted, she was a victim of mockery and scorn.
“Do you know what it is in the typical African society for a couple to get married and be unable to bear children? That is what I went through. However, I have put the entire experience behind me. But I want to use this opportunity to sensitise people that it is neither the wife nor husband that make babies; babies are a gift from God and the moment people start realising this they will stop disturbing married couples that are yet to have children.
For couples who are lucky enough to have kids as soon as they tie the knot, Lepa Shandy has a message: “It is not your doing but God’s when you get married and have children almost immediately. It happened that way because God wanted it to be like that so you don’t need to make mockery of people who find themselves in that situation.
“While growing older and until now, I have never made a mockery of anyone seeking a child. So, when I was in that situation and I had my experience, it was heart-breaking. My brother, I thank God; he used my situation to glorify his name,” the light complexioned actress says, beaming with the smile of a proud mother.
Having seen it and done it all, Lepa Shandy has a word of advice for couples battling childlessness and its attendant stigma. She says: “I would just tell them to close their ears to whatever the world is saying. The only thing they should be doing is listening to The Word of God; that is just the food they need. People should know that there could be situations where its neither the wife’s nor the husband’s fault so couples must close their ears to what people say and open their ears to what God is telling them and believe solely on God and they will see the miracles of God in their lives.”
Lepa Shandy secretly married her Dublin-based lover, Dayo David-Adewale, an indigene of Ogun State in 2012. She is currently based in the UK but shuttles between Nigeria, Ireland and the UK. She shot to limelight in a movie produced by Bayowa in the early 2000s where she played the role of a character, Lepa Shandy, and as a consequence of her delivery, the name stuck to her and it became a sobriquet.