I have always wanted to be a mother.
As I made the inevitable transition from childhood to my teenage years and finally a full-blown adult, there were many things I wasn’t certain of. In career, it took a while to discover what I would find joy doing and be willing to do even if I wasn’t going to earn a buck for it. Largely influenced by my father who was exceptional at his profession, as a child, I wanted to be a doctor. That did not quite work out, and at some point, the thought of being a medical practitioner wasn’t appealing anymore. In matters of love, I was once attracted to guys within my age range, later, my taste evolved, and I preferred older men. That would later change also as I went back to preferring men within my age bracket.
My opinion and outlook on life have evolved as I gained increased knowledge, became more mature, and unlearned and relearned concepts and contexts.
However, one thing has remained constant all through my childhood and adulthood—the desire to birth my own child. That has never wavered. I have always been certain I wanted to have children, and when this wish materialised last month, I experienced a profound sense of fulfilment, one that I struggle to describe even as I write this; it still feels surreal.
Ladies and gentlemen, an entire human being literally came out of me; how does anyone recover from that?
After getting married in April last year, there was nothing I wanted more than to fulfil my lifelong dream of getting pregnant and having my own child. I was also certain I wanted this to happen within the confines of marriage but would have considered making my dream come true if marriage never happened.
And so, top on the list of my prayer request was to be carrying my child by my next birthday in November. Now, imagine my joy when my prayer was answered months before the “target” I had set. The private thrill of nurturing a life within me quelled the need to celebrate elaborately even though I was turning a landmark age…as far as I was concerned, I already had all the gifts I would ever need and it was right there, inside of me. I only needed to rub my mid-section and the living, breathing being would respond in assurance.
I am grateful for the privilege of experiencing pregnancy (with all its attendant physical and emotional challenges) and reproduction.
Choosing to NOT know my baby’s gender
I am a firm believer that children are a gift from God and He chooses whom He wants to bless them with. This belief forms the premise of my unreserved gratitude to Him for counting me worthy to be a partaker of one of life’s greatest blessings as I am not unaware of the long and winding road many people have to journey on in their quest to have children.
I have and continue to witness this first-hand, and it formed a part of the basis for an uncommon decision I made during my pregnancy—choosing to keep my baby’s gender a mystery—even to myself. And so, every time I did an ultrasound scan, I would remind the doctor not to tell me the gender of my baby. Thankfully, I had family and friends who understood the need to respect my decision even if they thought I was a little weird.
A part of me wanted to be surprised when the baby made its grand entrance into the world; a gender reveal would have eliminated that. The other part was my way of going against a societal norm…why did I have to do what everyone was doing by way of having foreknowledge of my baby’s gender? I would love them the same so why did I have to know if I was carrying a boy or a girl?
Safe to say it wasn’t the easiest thing to do for a 10-month period (yes, pregnancy is technically 10 months), there were times when I was almost overwhelmed by curiosity but I was determined to not give in to the urge to know. And so, for the first time, I knew my baby’s gender when I met her on delivery day!
Of course, there’s no high that could be higher than living an experience you have always craved. The very fact that what I desired became my reality was all the high needed.
The physical and mental stamina to work full-time all through the duration of my pregnancy was also a high point for me despite the challenges.
In fact, I would say work was a blessing. It helped me take my mind off the psychological effects of pregnancy which aren’t talked about nearly enough. It also gave the much-needed illusion that the days were going by faster, and having colleagues who did their best to make tasks less burdensome and capped it off with a surprise baby shower on my last day at the office was a huge blessing.
I was spared common pregnancy-induced physical changes in the form of a swollen nose, acne, back pain, and stretch marks so I still looked pretty normal which is a huge confidence booster for any pregnant woman.
9 months felt like 9 years and I had a hard time dealing with the duration of pregnancy, especially during my first trimester so much so that I would often imagine being in a pregnant state forever.
I also fell into the bracket of those who never leave the nausea and vomiting stage behind. I kept waiting for the urge to puke to wane as I hit and surpassed the 12-week mark but it wasn’t to be. And as I hit the 20th and then the 30th-week mark, I made peace with the fact that this would be my reality for the entire time. I was right.
My food struggles were a major challenge. Heartburn and indigestion put paid to any fantasies of eating for two, I ate sparingly most of the time, and to go on to birth a 3.6kg (7.9 pounds) baby came as a huge surprise for me.
As someone who loathes taking medication, I found the endless doctors’ prescription meds I had to take depressing. Human interaction was a great chore; I disliked phone conversations.
Sometimes, I felt like running away; blame that on a combination of pregnancy hormones and the attendant stress of living and working in a high octane environment that Lagos is.
In all, I had a relatively easy pregnancy and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
It’s imperative to state that for someone who is quite guarded about her private life, sharing this took some self-convincing, but I knew I had to do it. If I can share my frustration with the Nigerian State and other sundry matters, then I can express my joy when the stars align in my direction.
My journey to motherhood is a reminder that many times, our dreams do come true with time.
I look at my daughter and I see the physical evidence of God’s love for me. Her cheeky smile makes me look forward to the full manifestation of her personality.
Gratitude doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.