Death has a way of sending implicit messages and lessons about life and living. It has been doing so, doling out life lessons, from the beginning of time and on Sunday, 14 June 2020, it did again.
While Nigerians were having a time in church virtually, the news of Ibidun Ighodalo’s death shook everyone who knew her personally, and those who did not, but knew her work.
The tributes were heart-warning and emotive, but more importantly, they spoke more about the life she led, her devotion to women and her willingness to support women in their journey through life.
“I get very anxious and concerned about two topics, motherhood, and mental health. I always looked up to Ibidun Ighodalo on the whole motherhood journey, and now, she’s gone,” laments a mental health advocate, Lawal Dolapo.
The deceased founded Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation (IIF), a non-profit organisation to raise awareness about infertility and to provide grants for couples that require fertility treatments such as in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intrauterine Insemination.
She started the foundation after being told by doctors that she would not be able to get pregnant without being assisted.
In a note shared on the foundation’s website, she wrote: “I made a covenant with God and told Him that I would leave it completely in His hands. In the interim, as we wait for our miracle, I would help couples going through the same challenges by providing spiritual, financial, and psychological support.
“I was ready to do my part to get rid of the stigma attached to childlessness. I wanted people to instead see couples-in-waiting as blessed mothers and fathers of nations!”
Many women like Dolapo, whether those looking to having children or inspiration for similar projects, learnt from her exemplary life and benefited from her benevolence. Despite eleven failed IVFs, Ibidun was determined to help other couples experience and enjoy the gift of parenthood and fighting the stigma that accompanies the challenges of having children. And she did.
“I can’t believe this beautiful soul is gone. This woman is the reason many couples heard the cries of babies in their homes through her foundation. May God rest her soul…,” Ifeoma Stella, a social media user, wrote.
Although she adopted her children, she believed that “parenthood is a reality that should not be denied to any couple that desires it.”
Away from her commitment to couples, she was one of the few women who placed a premium in being a pillar to other women. Celebrities like Nollywood comedian, Funke Akindele-Bello, aka Jenifa, spoke of how supportive she was.
“(I’m) so confused! Don’t know what to write! Ibidun, you were a good friend, you supported my brand when I was very low. You helped position the Jenifa brand, you taught me how to be classy and decent. You were always there for me…,” actress, Jenifa, said.
The deaths of both Dr. Arene, another woman who was passionate about the paucity of women in leadership positions, and dedicated many years to changing the narrative; and Ighodalo, have shown that life and living are about impact.
We truly live by living for others. The relevance of our lives will be marked by the number of people who were inspired, impacted, and changed by your actions or inactions both directly and indirectly.
They will tell your story when you’re no more here to tell it yourself. Ighodalo did it. Through her service, she lives on in the hearts of Nigerians.
“I would like to take the time to say a big thank you to your foundation for funding my IVF treatment last year…. Your intervention gave us, my husband and I hope,” a grateful Nigerian and beneficiary wrote.