Choosing Motherhood [1] Learning to Dance

Dance

Learning to Dance

I got married at twenty-one. Our first son was born a year later when I was in my second year at the University of Nigeria, studying radiological science. My Parents tried to make me see reasons to wait before starting a family, but the day I stopped breastfeeding my son, I became pregnant with my second son. My husband, Ben, at twenty-nine had lost his job before our first son was born and was still unemployed by the time our second son was born.

My Parents harboured us, providing emotional and financial assistance. Ben was studying for an MBA, while I combined schooling with business, selling anything to support my growing family.

One day on campus, I cried in frustration from exhaustion. I practised exclusive breast-feeding so I breastfed all night while studying. Then I slept for less than five hours and drove to the university every morning. A lecturer tried to talk me into moving to campus and leaving my boys in the care of my parents and their nannies. I declined. I told him being a mother came first. Motherhood had chosen me because every family planning method I tried had failed.

I had few friends because I was the only married girl among my peers. They left me alone to work out my new challenges. I was not socially aware. I never partied and didn’t have fashion sense. Ben and I couldn’t afford to go out like other unmarried couples. I was devoted to my family and I wanted to prove to my parents and everyone else that I knew what I was doing.

By my final year, I was looking forward to moving out of my parent’s home. My dream came true when I landed a job in Lagos using my mum’s connections. Ben and the boys joined me shortly. After a while, I fell sick. To my dismay, I found out that I was pregnant for the third time. I was twenty-six.

I was depressed. We still faced financial pressures and I resented this intrusion to my dreams. I scheduled an abortion although it was against my values. On the day of my abortion, a doctor who is also a family friend disclosed my plan to my mum and she called to discourage me. I cancelled the procedure.

After my only daughter was born, my husband found his bearing. He got a job that enabled us move to our own house in Lagos. I also started a cleaning company that became very successful in no time. While we prospered in career and business, our marriage suffered.

From the beginning, Ben only wanted one child and he had not even wanted a child so early in our marriage. He came from a large family while my family was small and I had always looked forward to having many children. Four years after our daughter was born, we had another son. This put more pressure on our strained marriage. When we moved to South Africa, Ben eventually left me and the children.

It takes a village to raise a child. I could not have navigated my motherhood journey without support from family and friends. Looking back, I see that although I have always wanted to be a mother, I did not plan to be one. Children are precious gifts from God and deserve a home with parents who have lovingly considered the ramifications of their presence. Given another chance, I would choose motherhood in a heartbeat, but would wait until I finish school before starting a family.

My children are now 22, 20, 17, and 13. There is no time for regret only gratitude to God as I watch them mature into adulthood. I tell them that there is time for everything under the sun. We need to give ourselves time to grow and allow school to pass through us instead of just passing through school before settling down.

Motherhood cannot be distilled to a formula. It is a privilege to be embraced and it requires determination and wisdom. I grew up with my children, teaching them respect, compassion, responsibility, and love. They in turn gave me lessons in patience and hope. I am learning about fashion and music from them, practicing the latest dance steps and cool moves with them. We laugh together like siblings, when I go off beat.

 

Ada Obi-Okafor makes her home in South Africa. She’s a licensed radiographer who enjoys soccer, movies, a good book, and a clean house.

 

© Timi Yeseibo, 2016

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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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Mommie Dearest

mommie dearest

Her eyes opened. Six o’ clock. Panic clouded her brain. She should have already started her round on Ajeleke Street where the drone of generators and echo of the muezzin’s call, did not compete with her megaphone. Into that serene place, Mommie’s voice had boomed nearly every morning for the past two years. She was not careful as she bounded from bed.

In the sitting room, Ejiro, Ufuoma, and Yoma sat with arms crossed over their chests. Their stare reminded Mommie that her head-tie sat on her head at a lop-sided angle threatening to fall. In the corner, Lucky stood like a wallflower not daring to meet her eyes. She smelt sabotage. No one offered her a chair to ease her discomfort. She steadied her head-tie with both hands.

Miguo Daddy,” she addressed Ejiro, her husband.

 

Miguo Mommie,” they all chorused.

 

“This has got to stop. It must stop today!” Ejiro spoke first.

 

“Mommie, we are tired of you embarrassing us with your microphone!” Ufuoma spoke second. She did not observe protocol; Yoma was older than she was.

 

“We are not saying you cannot preach,” Yoma relaxed his hands as he spoke, “but surely there must be a better way.”

 

“Hmmm, I see.” She folded her arms over her chest, spreading her legs.

 

The men knew when to retreat, but Ufuoma continued.

 

“Mommie, you are the wife of the honorable chief judge. We live in Effurun GRA. You drive a V-boot. You are supposed to be a society lady. Carrying a loudspeaker and preaching on the streets makes you a common, common—”

 

“Common what? Say it, I am waiting.”

 

Yoma looked at his mum who was now standing at akimbo and then at Ufuoma whose chest was rising and falling rapidly, “What she means is—”

 

“I know what she means! My ungrateful family! Ejiroghene when you wanted a promotion, you asked me to pray to the God that you are now ashamed of. Now that you have arrived, my serving God is an embarrassment enh?”

 

Ejiro pushed his glasses higher up on his nose. He regretted allowing the children persuade him to confront their mother.

 

Turning to face her only son, she spat out her venom. “Ogheneyoma who prayed and got you out of trouble time and time again? Who prayed until you finally got that Shell job?”

 

“You did.” Yoma sighed and stretched, he’d never liked waking early. He wished he had not come home for the holidays.

 

“Mommie, stop it. Stop it!” Ufuoma had had enough. “This isn’t about us!”

 

“Ufuoma, you, you? You of all people. Where do I even begin? Should I start with that useless boy Richard your—”

 

“Look, look, this is all getting out of hand. Mommie what we want to say is that we admire your fine Christian character, you are truly a virtuous woman; none would dare disagree. Your aggressive proselytizing with that thing,” Daddy gestured at the megaphone lying at Lucky’s feet, “only serves as a noise pollutant at a time when people are stealing the last vestiges of sleep. This militant evangelistic style coupled with your emotion-laden sales pitch is rather old. We are just saying that it’s time for new tactics.”

 

He stood and placed his hand on her shoulder, “Mommie, bikó.” Taking her right hand in his, he softened his voice, “You cannot browbeat people into accepting our faith since it is a work of grace, and grace is never more clearly demonstrated than in our actions. As Francis of Assisi said, ‘Preach the gospel all the time, and if necessary, use words.’”

 

“Ssssss! I thought you were going to say something constructive!” Mommie pulled her hand away and glared at him, “Ejiro, I don’t know which Bible you read that it has become our faith. The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent taketh it by force. The day that Muslims stop calling for prayer, Hare Krishnas stop dancing on the street, Jehovah’s Witnesses stop knocking on doors, and Cele start wearing shoes to church, that is the day I will stop preaching!”

 

She marched over to Lucky.

Miguo Mommie,” he curtsied.

Vre-ndo Lucky. Doh my pickin. Is everything set?”

“Yes Mommie.”

Let’s go!”

 

Lucky handed her the megaphone and followed behind.

 

“Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!” Mommie’s voice rang out startling Lucky as he turned the lock and lifted the latch to open the gate. She looked at him with a half-smile, “Charity must always begin at home.”

 

Once outside the gate, Mommie began to lecture Lucky. “We must forgive our critics. The Bible says that a man’s enemies will come from his own household . . .”

 

Lucky turned and followed her eyes. Surprise registered in his. Richard was escorting a girl to the junction that led to the bus stop.

 

“Ufuoma! Ufu-oma o! Come see your boyfriend dey carry gonorrhea!” Aiming her megaphone in Richard’s direction, Mommie cried even louder, “Repent! If you die today, will you make heaven? Turn from your wicked ways!”

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

p.s. Happy Mother’s Day to you. After many false starts, I wrote this caricature, which isn’t about us, because the places I had to go to write the post I wanted seemed too far; the emotions, too raw, bleeding as they did only yesterday.

***

 

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design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2014

My Mum the Superhero

Awesome mum

My mum is a woman ahead of her time. Living in a society and a day when having male children was the ultimate sign of fertility and the highest compliment a wife could pay her husband, she did not wring her hands and weep in the maternity ward year after year in quest for a boy child. No, after three girls, she dulled her ears to the murmurs. She dedicated her life to being the best thing that came out of Sapele and poured herself into her daughters so we could be all and more than any male child could ever be.

three daughters

My mum is big-hearted. She stretched the meaning of nuclear family until it extended to include people with whom we shared no blood connection. As a result, we grew up with more cousins, aunts, and uncles than most. Her seeds of kindness have matured and we are recognised and rewarded for being the children of Aunty Gina.

My mum is beautiful. From her I learnt that I too am beautiful. Whenever people called me little Gina, my heart welled with pride. I wore her oversize clothes and shoes, and opened her trinket box to deck myself with her jewellery. Then I sat on her dressing table and put on her make-up. When I looked at the mirror, I no longer saw a gawky child. I saw my mum, my beautiful mum.

mom is beautiful

My mum is a planner. If we had to travel, she would sneak into our rooms at 4 a.m., six hours before we needed to leave, and drag our luggage to the veranda where the sleepy-eyed chauffeur would be waiting to put them in the trunk of the car. She would wake us up at 5 a.m. and cajole us to get ready, hollering our names, pulling the bed covers, and yanking our pillows. How we idled away the five hours until departure time is an unsolved mystery. Today, I pack like a pro and my luggage is at the door five hours before I need to leave my house.

wake up now

My mum is a believer. She told me the sky is the limit; to reach for my dreams, to never give up, to believe in myself, and to believe I could do anything. Yes, I could be anything; as long as I was a doctor or lawyer first, fulfilling her cherished dream. I watched her walk in uncharted territory and bounce back from setbacks. Ever the optimist, even now, she asks, “Timi, do you know what is beyond the sky?”

reach for sky

My mom is an entrepreneur. She has a heap of white play sand in front of her home to tempt the grandchildren into getting dirty and saturating their hair with sand. While we grimace she claps with glee the whiter their hair gets. She encourages them to play in her white sand and repay her when they are older by buying her Land Cruisers and Range Rovers. Although I have tried to explain to the grandkids that they are mortgaging their future by accumulating car debts, they cannot resist the heap of play sand in front of grandma’s house.

playing in sand

My mom is a prayer warrior. She called me recently.

Mom: I hear you started writing on the internet.

Me: Yes.

Mom: Why?

Me (thinking): Well, I’ve always loved writing… it’s a global platform to display my writing and not only reach, but also engage wider audiences. I hope to inspire, entertain, and inform. I want to—

Mom (interrupting): After all that grammar, how much are they paying you?

Me (pausing): Em, nothing.

Mom (after a while): Did you quit your job?

Me: No.

Mom: Good. I will pray for you.

My mum is a supporter, my avid fan. She asked my sister to print my blog posts for her to read. Will she read them? I don’t know, but I know she will make at least four hundred copies. She will paste a few copies on the gate that leads to her home and on her front door. She will litter her living room with several copies and carry the rest in her big bag, evangelising everywhere she goes, “Google Timi, she’s on the internet!” Finally at night she’ll bring one of the copies from her bag and look, and look, and look.

It’s mother’s day in The Netherlands. Happy Mother’s Day mums! Look at you; appreciate how far you’ve come. Honour a woman who has nurtured you. Tell her, she’s your superhero!

©Timi Yeseibo 2013

Image Credits:

Awesome Mom by Shad Fox: www.creationswap.com

Disco gal by Robot: www.vectorstock.com

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Girls Three by Spike: http://www.clker.com/

Pink 2 Frame author: / inky2010 Glossy Transparent Frames: http://all-free-download.com

All other people illustrations, animes, avatars and vectors by Microsoft

Design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2013

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.