Portraits of Motherhood [2]

Motherhood 2

An Undulating Journey 

I had no burning desire to be a mother. It was one more thing to tick off my life’s to-do list.

Medical School – check.
Become a doctor – check.
Get married – check.
Have children – check.

But my journey was to be an undulating one.

It was two years into my marriage before I realized ‘have children’ wasn’t just going to happen. There was a problem. The day I sat across a colleague, as a patient, and was told our hopes of having children naturally would never materialize, I died a little.

I understood the diagnosis and the limitations of medical science from a doctor’s stance. I would need to go through series of infertility treatments. Nevertheless, our faith in God held us steady.

As the years turned like the pages of a book, my longing to have a child became stronger. Each day seemed like a year, every menstrual cycle, a thousand years. I established myself as a general practitioner in that time. I examined mothers and their babies while aching for mine. Everywhere I looked someone had a baby in her arms except me.

Almost ten years later, during which time I had three failed IVF treatments and we leaned towards adoption, I held my son on my birthday. We had received a miracle. I cannot put the emotions I felt on paper. At my son’s Dedication Service, I rolled on the floor at the altar—all my yearning, hoping, waiting, crying congealed into worship.

My journey into motherhood began when the magnitude of the responsibility to guide this little person from childhood to adulthood hit me. Two precious daughters have joined the fold. It’s an honour and a privilege to be called mum.

Taye Umole enjoys sharing uplifting stories about how medical science and faith can complement each other. Running is a passion she and her husband share.


A Mother to Those Who Matter

From a young age, I mothered my siblings. My dad was present but absent while my mom was absent, not by choice, but present by proxy. From her phone calls, I learned to parent, nurture, discipline, and correct on the go.

So, by my mid-twenties I was certain I didn’t want kids of my own; biological, adopted, borrowed, or otherwise. However, when my siblings and best friends started to pop out little humans, cute and fair, my heart trembled and betrayed me.

Last Christmas, I met my nieces Tara, Didi, and Edikan for the first time. They hugged and kissed me as if they have known me all their lives. My nephew, Jedd, and I are yet to embrace, and I can’t wait to hold him.

I never went back to not wanting kids. Well, when the ones in my life start acting out, for a minute, I’m thankful they aren’t mine. Although I am older, I haven’t given up on having kids. I’m not paralyzed by fear of my biological clock falling apart from ticking for so long. Nor do I care about societal expectations. In the serene peripherals of my mind, I yearn for mine. But, I will not let this desire so consume me that I forget to enjoy living in my now.

My friends are gracious and let me share their kids. Like Elim, who is five going on seventeen. He still calls me Sunshine even though he says I’m not as bright as the sun. Did I already say he is five?

Sometimes, I lose myself in the lives of ‘my kids’ until their mums walk in and reality gives me a big slap. For me, contentment is knowing that I am loved as much as I love.

Every Mother’s Day I get phone calls and kisses from kids who add vibrant color to my life. Because in wiping tears and snot, kissing boo boos, clipping nails, giving baths, braiding hair, doing laundry, and in every other sense of the word; I am a mother.

I just didn’t get to push. Not yet.

Elaine Otuije loves media production, TV, movies, and film. She shares her opinion about most things on her blog.


The Bikini Cut

My eyes were glued to the monitor in the private hospital room. Why would my body not go into labour? What had the doctor said? Your contractions are too weak. The excitement that followed my water breaking sixteen hours ago was giving way to worry.

Waiting. Whispers. Deliberations. Phone Calls. Then: we’re going to deliver your baby by caesarean section. The ‘sentence’ sounded awful. I began to cry.

“Can we wait a little?” I had been praying, faithing, confessing, I am like the Hebrew women . . .

“We can’t take any chances Timi; it’s been over twenty-four hours already.”

“But I want to have my baby like normal women . . .”

I sobbed all the way to the OR. I sobbed while the nurse wiped the nail polish from my toes—bye bye pretty red toes. I sobbed until they held the gas mask over my nose.

When I came to, they brought him to me. Long, fair, a riotous mass of black curly hair. “Pretty like a girl,” the nurse said. He latched onto my breast and I latched onto his heart.

I was happy but ashamed that I had been less than a woman. I lied and painted sketches of a vaginal delivery whenever I found myself trading birth stories with other women.

This shame, where did it come from?

For my next pregnancy, I elected for a CS. I could not, would not, go through the trauma of trying for a vaginal delivery and be denied last-minute. Time had not healed my disappointment.

My friend shares a similar story. She would gaze at her preterm baby, a minuscule wonder lying in a glass spaceship, and feel gratitude and guilt and shame.

This shame, where does it come from?

Watching kids play in the park, I cannot tell which one was preterm or which one came by CS or birth canal. Does it matter? They are healthy. The doctor said my scar healed beautifully. He is right. After all these years, I hardly see it. I cannot feel it. I must look for it.

Bikini cut without choice. Bikini cut by choice. My scar of love, my bikini cut.

Timi@ Livelytwist
© Timi Yeseibo 2015



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70 thoughts on “Portraits of Motherhood [2]

  1. My stepson and his wife live in a tiny farm Town and adopted the most precious child who is the light of their lives. She had endometriosis and could not get pregnant. They saved an inner city child who may or may not have had 2 parents. They read all sorts of stories about familes and have continued to expose her to her African American roots. They both know how to make rows and braids. She is named Kennedy Rose. oxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kennedy Rose is a beautiful name. Adoption can be a wonderful way to complete and build the family unit for those who desire children. Theirs sounds like a home full of love. Thanks for sharing Robin.


  2. There is no right way to give birth. Being a good Mom and loving a child is all that matters. Adoption, teaching babysitting and foster kids plus nieces and nephews all “count” right 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m chuckling at your comment. 🙂

      Whatever way a woman gives birth, she still has the ‘job’ of raising the child 🙂

      In a sense, part of being a good mom is choosing a delivery method that is healthy for mother and child.


  3. Taye, Elaine and Timi, thank you for sharing your stories. Taye, i am thankful that you got your heart’s desire in due season. When yearning for a baby, all one sees are pregnant women and buggies everywhere. It takes strength to hang in there and keep trusting, that medical intervention would work, and that a miracle would happen. Elaine, you sound more like a mother than some of the mothers around today. Bringing sunshine intot he lives of children around you is ne mean feat, it takes a truly selfless heart. Well done for enjoying the where you are at the moment. Timi, hmmm. I was a Hebrew woman until I was wheeled in for an emergency CS. After that, my desire for a vaginal birth evaporated and I booked my other two elective CS procedures calmly and with great joy. Like you said, there’s no difference in appearance, as long as mother and baby are both healthy, that’s all that matters :).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joxy one of the beautiful things about sharing stories is finding out that others have walked a similar path. I’m giggling at your words:”… I booked my other two elective CS procedures calmly and with great joy.” XD

      I’m thankful that vaginal delivery isn’t the only option- several lives have been saved by C-sections. Sometimes we take sides and dwell on issues that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things: C-section v vaginal delivery; IVF v natural conception; pre-term v full-term, etc.

      Whatever the childbirth method, healthy mother and baby are the outcomes we hope and pray for, as you mentioned. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thx for these stories. The C-section technique does tend to get encouraged …so a mother-woman has to make a decision what she prefers…

    7 nieces and nephews from 3 sisters…I believe all were vaginal births..here in Canada.

    I chose not to have children and don’t regret my decision. My hats off to parents…it’s hard work and an enormous leap of faith and love, that one day they will understand all those years of daily patience, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @ choosing to not have children, being a mother is a huge responsibiliy. It’s great that you’re happy with your decision. Knowing yourself and what you want means you’ve solved one of life’s major equations. 🙂

      Thanks Jean.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Timi, as usual it’s always fantastic to read your stories.
    You know how to draw the reader in keep them longing and satisfy them at the end.

    I think you find the “I will have a “Hebrew birth” confessionals for pregnant women in the church circles.
    Well that’s where I heard about it first.
    You are encouraged to believe that you will give birth like a Hebrew woman, no pain relief and certainly vaginally.
    So I think I can understand the disappointment when one has to eventually have a CS when all through the pregnancy one was “confessing” a Hebrew birth.

    Nothing wrong with praying that you would have a pain relief free vaginal birth if that’s what you want, I suppose it’s when one is told that it is the norm and any other way makes you less of a “woman” that there is a problem.

    So apt when you said watching kids play in the park you cannot tell which one was preterm, CS or from the birth canal and to me that’s what is key.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Afi, I agree with the spirit of what you’re saying. I think one of the most important things we can learn (and it is a life-long lesson), is how to handle disappointment. The second is how to find a new perspective so we can move on.

      @You know how to draw the reader in keep them longing and satisfy them at the end, thank you! 🙂


  6. Elaine sunshine 🙂
    I found it interesting that because you “mothered” your siblings, you came to a place where you thought you didn’t want to have kids of your own.
    Maybe because you had been a “mother” at a young age and not by choice?
    Amazing though that seeing your siblings and friends babies changed your mind 🙂
    What is it about babies that makes us want to have babies?

    Never mind about the biological clock you will get to push or maybe a bikini cut 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Afi,
      You are right, the urge to be a mom was gone because I had that responsibility at a young age. But the truth is that babies are just so stinking cute and the way they love is just so all consuming. I walk in the door of a friends home coming from a bad day of God-knows-what and then their kids reach up and hug you and all your bad mood melts away like butter in hot skillet! There’s nothing like it 🙂

      After reading about Stacilys Brazilian women, that ‘bikini cut’ is sounding like an awesome idea that I wont mind exploring. Lol 😉


  7. Taye, thanks for sharing your truly inspiring story.
    It wasn’t what I was expecting at the end because sometimes our views are clouded by this fairy tale world of what is “perfect” which is so unrealistic so I was really pleased when I read how God gave you your miracle 🙂
    Your three children are blessed to have you as mummy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Afi,
      It is indeed a privilege to be called mother. I sometimes forget and get carried away pushing and being a ‘ mother’ then I remember to slow down and count my blessings 😀


  8. Ohhhh, lovely stories Timi. I found your story quite interesting because in Brazil most women opt for a C section. I personally don’t understand why they do. It’s encouraged by their doctors and they make an appointment to go an have major surgery to have their baby. Also, both times I gave birth, I only knew that I was in labor because my water broke (both times in the middle of the night). I would get to the hospital and soon after they would give me an IV with something to speed up the process. Can you believe it?
    Anyhow, great post. And a very happy be-lated Mother’s day to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Staci, you had pain-free labour, am I correct? If so, yes, I can believe it.
      In the comments below, Lani mentions how C-sections in Thailand are routinely performed for ‘cosmetic’ reasons. Might that be the case in Brazil? Who knows? Whatever the reason, I guess it’s wise to weigh all the risks.

      Happy Mother’s day to you too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha. No, it wasn’t pain free. It’s just that I was having contractions for three weeks straight, every five minutes or so. I was so used to them that I didn’t know when the time had come. I only knew because my water broke.
        Actually, I think the case here in Brazil is that the women are scared of the pain of labor. They don’t think about the ‘after the labor’ benefits of natural childbirth. Plus, on the medical end of things, time is money and space in a hospital. The quicker they can get it done, the better. With my first child, my water broke at 1:30 am. We got to the hospital about an hour later. I was checked and then waited in a pre-labor room. Then checked again about an hour or so later. Because I hadn’t dilated fast enough, they gave me an IV with some type of hormone to speed up the process. I’ve heard of women waiting until hours after their water breaking.
        Thanks Timi.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I like learning about how things are done in different parts of the world and why. I’m curious about this: ‘after the labor’ benefits of natural childbirth. What are they please?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, recovery time is a lot less. You may have to go through the pains of child-birth, but three days later I was walking all over the place, up and down stairs, cleaning my house. I could lift things that were heavier, etc. From what I know, after a C-section there’s a month or so that you can’t pick up weight, it hurts more to walk around, you have to take things really easy because it’s major surgery, gas. I guess the big thing here for the women is that they’re scared to go through the ‘pain’ of natural child-birth. For the doctors, it’s more of a time thing. Like they can schedule an appointment and get it done and over with. I’m sure there may be other reasons as well, but these are the only I know of.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks Staci. Fear is a powerful motivator. I think the recovery time for C-sections without complications is a bit quicker. They did require me start ‘learning’ to walk by day 2. Before long you’re walking properly. It’s always handy to have help whichever way the delivery occurs. 🙂

              Thanks again.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I remember when I was in the hospital after having my son. The woman next to me had a C-section (shared room) and the nurses always had to come in and get her to get up and walk. My understanding was because of gas or something like that.

                Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, we can still love other people’s kids. We can add nurture and value to the lives of kids far and near. You write for children and young adults, am I correct?

      Happy Mother’s Day to you too because as Elaine points out, there is more to being a mother than ‘pushing’.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Fantastic and utterly real posts on motherhood. Love it, Love it, love it!

    It is indeed a privilege to be called a mother – whether by birth, adoption or choice!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Timi Timi Timi!

    Your story got me all kinds of fired up. Fired up with compassion for you that you had to deal with all that guilt and shame.

    Where did the shame come from? It came from public opinion, mainly from uninformed uneducated, judgmental and unimportant faceless people. It irritates me to see the emotional and sometimes physical harm caused because of nonsense that people come up with. Can you tell how mad I am? lol

    On a more positive note though I love when you said

    Watching kids play in the park, I cannot tell which one was preterm or which one came by CS or birth canal. Does it matter? They are healthy!

    If that doesn’t shut them up I don’t know what will. Ha!

    (K, I’m getting off my soap box now)

    I celebrate your joy with your kids. Enjoy them!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


    1. Aw Elaine, I feel the love! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Isn't it interesting how our environment shapes our view of things? How we pick up attitudes? Because I cannot recall anyone schooling me on vaginal birth versus C-section.

      I remember wanting to have a pain-free delivery and focusing all my energy on that. I told my friends about my expectations. I was unprepared for a different script. Since I couldn't find answers for myself regarding my 'faith' failure, I felt as though I couldn't answer my friends' eager, "how did it go?" with, "it didn't, I had a C-section!" 🙂

      I hope the rhetorical questions I posed cause us to look inward… at least let's start there 🙂

      One of my favourite quotes goes something like this: the world is round, and that place that looks like the end, may very well be a beginning. See how a scar becomes a story 😉

      Thanks girl!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Taye,

    I don’t have words to describe the surge of faith I got from reading your post. This line…

    “all my yearning, hoping, waiting, crying congealed into worship”

    resonated with me so well. I see in your story confirmation that God cares about whats important to us and will make that light at the end of the tunnel “blindingly bright”

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks brownielaine,
      The Lord does care about us and answers our every prayer. My life is a testimony of that! I love to share my testimony to encourage anyone who is waiting so they don’t give up. Sometimes hope differed makes the heart sick and God is not always instant but always constant!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. In Thailand, most women want a C-section out of VANITY. For me, I find that utterly ridiculous, so it was a surprise to learn how much you wanted a vaginal birth for your children and have such a strong reaction. I think I would have reacted like you, but you didn’t have a choice so I’m glad you are no longer feeling guilty. Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Lani, what do you mean by vanity? I remember one of my doctors trying to dissuade me from elective CS (for another pregnancy), by reminding me that it is major surgery 🙂
      Labour and childbirth can be torturous, I can understand why women opt for a C-section. I’m curious, what does vanity mean for Thai women?

      The culture and circle I was raised in shaped my views and informed my strong desire for a vaginal birth. Months before my EDD, I had conceived it in my mind …

      Bye bye guilt! My scars are stories to tell. Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂


      1. They don’t want their vaginas stretched out. The benefits of a vaginal birth, it doesn’t seem, hasn’t entered everyday society. Also, doctors here try to pursuade mothers-to-be so they can make more money performing the C-section.


          1. No, I don’t think the fear is valid – at all. And I think C-sections should be performed only when it is necessary, not as a normal procedure. Culture is not only a way of life, but a way of thinking, sometimes its hard to be an expat because I don’t always understand the culture I’m living in!


            1. Lol@ expat 🙂
              When the medical community is involved in encouraging C-sections, it lends credence to what might be ‘faulty’ reasoning. I wonder when the ‘reasoning’ changed… obviously C-sections haven’t been around forever. If the operation has a high success rate, the trend might continue.

              I haven’t thought this one through or researched it to have a firm opinion. So in Hawaii, things are different?

              Liked by 1 person

  13. Wheeew, such touching experiences of mothers.motherhood. This post shows simply giving birth virginally or by caesarean section isn’t enough to be a called a mother. The love even before conception, the love and joy of holding this little soul and the selflessness of mothers who haven’t gone through the physical process makes it all what it is. Simply, just respect all mothers. (On another note, am I the only woman- lady who still has fears of not being able to have kids? or the fear of not being able to positively impact a little life and watch that life grow into an adult filled with humanity?)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol I don’t think you are the only woman-lady who still has fears of not being able to have kids or impact a life. I believe that fear goes away when we can identify with something bigger and stronger than the fear.

      I have moments where fear creeps in sometimes. My place of peace with my life came when I identified that God has done waaaay bigger things in my life. So the task of giving me my own kids whenever and however they come, will be a piece of cake for Him. And IF my own biological ones don’t come, then God will make it up to me somehow. Look what he did for Taye! So cool!

      I hope that helps?


    2. This life has some twists… what one person longs for, another has and discards. I think that some degree of selflessness can be found in a mother’s toolkit. It shows up and even takes a mother by surprise sometimes. But it can be cultivated.

      Thanks Vou!


  14. Such poignant stories about motherhood. The image of the bikini cut and what it means or what it doesn’t mean and that unexplained shame really stayed with me at the end. Also appreciated Taye’s undulations into becoming a mother and Elaine’s finding herself as a mother to so many children. Happy Mother’s Day to you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I found it interesting that what was once a box to tick mushroomed into intense longing for Taye- examining mothers and their babies while aching for hers …

      Elaine reminded me that being a mother is more than ‘pushing’ ….

      The bikini cut, that C-section incision, which I dreaded so much, has given me a story to tell. 🙂 Although some women in my circle at the time didn’t want to even ‘smell’ labour and opted for planned CS deliveries, majority had either toughed out or sailed through labour and natural childbirth. I expected to sail through natural childbirth, hence my disappointment and shame. I don’t remember anyone ‘putting’ any pressure on me though… not directly anyway.

      Happy Mother’s Day to you too Diahann. 🙂


  15. “My journey into motherhood began when the magnitude of the responsibility to guide this little person from childhood to adulthood hit me.”

    “For me, contentment is knowing that I am loved as much as I love.” “I am a mother. I just didn’t get to push. Not yet.”

    “This shame, where did it come from?” “The doctor said my scar healed beautifully. He is right. After all these years, I hardly see it. I cannot feel it. I must look for it.”


    It’d be difficult to find a more balanced collaboration online.Thank you Taye, Elaine and Timi for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Truly Ife, after all these years, the scars (from this incident), on my body and soul have healed. I wrote this one without tears.

      Where did the shame come from? Hmmm… Let me just say, well, that question that some women tend to ask, “Was it natural or by CS?” That question put me on the spot. Perhaps I was too young to know that I could answer, “What’s your own? Mind your business.” 🙂

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Taye, if “Each day seemed like a year, every menstrual cycle, a thousand years,” I cannot imagine what 9+ years of longing felt like. Miracles still happen. It must be wonderful living with the proof.

    In a sense all our journeys are undulating ones. Who hasn’t w.a.i.t.e.d for a dream to come to pass? Your story gives me hope. Dreams can come true! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your story with us.


    1. Taye….I love how you describe your joy: “all my yearning, hoping, waiting, crying congealed into worship.” How wonderful that even after all the disappointments your response was worship. What a wonderful witness and how well you brought us into your longing and disappointments and perseverance in faith. Awesome. Thanks so much for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Eileen,

        I don’t know how I did it, but I can sincerely say my faith was the anchor for my hope in those trying years. I just had to hold on to something and I held on to the Word.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Elaine, there’s so much in your first paragraph that makes my heart bleed. I am filled with hope as I read further and realize that just as some circumstances move us to take strong decisions, new experiences can cause us to reverse those decisions.

    I like where you find contentment. The pressure (internal and external), is real. I’m glad you’ve found a serene place.

    I join all the kids that add vibrant colour to your life to wish you Happy Mother’s Day!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have a slew of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but I also taught school and there are children who simply stole my heart and will always have a place in it. It’s wonderful when our hearts are open to all children, not just our own. You have a mother’s heart and children whether you ever have you own biological ones or not. Bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Eileen, I believe that teaching takes a load of grace to do when dealing with multiple personalities and temperaments. And I love the stealing of hearts part because I remember to this day every single teacher in my life that put a huge stamp of unconditional love in my heart. I bet you had a fantastic Mothers day!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Timi, I remember feeling the same way when I had to have a C section with my first child. It’s kind of silly in retrospect, since pushing out a baby without damaging it doesn’t exactly take brains, talent or even love, just a wide pelvis. But somehow that made it worse. I couldn’t do what natural mothers did whether they had brains, talent or love. Seemed like failure and like a terrible way to start out being a mother.

        Needless to say, I got over it and was glad enough to skip all those long hours of labor on the next four. 🙂

        Thanks for sharing that, because I think other feel the same way and it will help to know that they are not alone, but it’s not really failure.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes Eileen, that feeling of why can’t I do what everyone else is doing? …. and the thinking I had imbibed that a c-section delivery was ‘lesser’ than a vaginal one.

          I imagine that attitudes have changed or are changing in some places. C-section became a viable option and many chose it.

          If the story helps someone, then my work is done. Thanks.


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