Sometime last year I came across an article aptly titled ‘Mind Your own Womb’ by Nadirah Angail. In the article Nadirah describes the relationship between society and the woman who is of a child bearing age. She speaks of different scenarios where people make assumptions or ask questions about when a woman will decide to have children or why a woman hasn’t had children. She also delves into the criticisms that society bestow upon women who decide to have more than the national average of two children. In both cases Nadirah beautifully describes the feelings of these women, their emotions, their tears and their heartache behind the reasons why they’ve had children so late or why they’ve still not been able to biologically birth a child. The article is beautiful and extremely moving.
The article got me thinking alot! It got me thinking about my cultural background and the insensitivity of some African mothers, aunties, grandmothers, sisters, cousins and dare I say it mother-in-laws.
Personally, I didn’t leave it long enough to experience such insensitivity and abuse because I became pregnant five months after my husband and I got married. I can actually only remember one time that my mother-in-law mentioned having children (besides the standard grandchildren prayers) she asked me to ‘go home and convince my husband’. Ironically I had done my 4th positive pregnancy test that morning so I was 100% up the duff by then. In actual fact our (my husband and I) plan was to wait two years before we had a baby, however Dr. Google convinced me that it’ll take six to nine months before the contraceptive I was using at the time left my system. So, not being sure how long and kind of hoping that it’ll take a year to conceive, I came off my contraceptive and fast forward exactly a month after my last period two blue lines appeared on that white stick. The tears flowed as I wasn’t mentally prepared for a baby. My husband on the hand was ecstatic and excited to become a father. So there I was pregnant with only five months of marriage under my belt! The comments that came after I kind of expected…I mean I surround myself with Africans I didn’t expect anything less from them. “Wait you’re pregnant? Didn’t you just get married yesterday?” No actually we got married five months, ten days and nineteen hours ago but anywhooo (my mental response). “Oh Congratulations, you guys didn’t waste anytime boi”. Errrrmmmm we’re married, married people have sex, it was going to happen eventually….congratulations on its own would have sufficed (I’m screwing my face at this point and rolling my eyes). I soon realised that people always had something to say regardless. Mind Your own Womb or you wife’s Womb! Leave mine alone!
I’ve often heard stories of mother-in-laws or family members who insensitively pressure their daughters/daughter-in-laws to get pregnant immediately after getting married and for some odd reason will place the inability of conception as the woman’s fault and not the man’s. News Flash!! Men can also have fertility issues!
For the Africans reading this post, we have all seen the Nollywood films where the man and woman have been married for years and yet they have no children. Conception seems to be difficult for them and hence the strain of such pressures can be seen in their marriage. Then along comes mama Ade who makes things worse by abusing her daughter-in-law by professing that she is barren and insists on calling her ‘Barren Woman’ instead of her first name. Mama Ade doesn’t stop there though..she takes it a step further and encourages her son to find another woman and impregnate her, which foolish Ade does. Ade then finds a young little miss and does exactly what his mama advised him to do (at this point I’ll like to encourage all single ladies NEVER marry a mummy’s boy! You’ll thank me later) and Little Miss is pregnant. The day Ade tells his wife about little Miss and her pregnancy…his wife tells him that she too is three months pregnant! Chineke! That’s some real life stuffs.
Although I’ve made light of this issue the truth is many women go through this torrent of abuse daily, monthly, yearly. Their pain is so real, so raw, so deep. The feeling of being made to feel inadequate because of no fault of your own. Being made to feel less of a woman because you may have chosen not to have children. Being made to feel less of a wife because your body cannot physically cope with carrying a child. Even being made to feel like some sort of irresponsible sex addict because you chose to have more than two children. The thing is it’s your womb, your business! Not any one else’s.
So to finish this post of I’d like to say…
To the women who are waiting to have children…take your time and have children when you’re ready. It doesn’t make you any less of a woman because you chose to have a child at 38 instead of 28. Remember you’re the one that has to do the nightly feeds and the nappy changes….no one else.
To the women who have more than two children..there’s a reason why you have the amount of children you do. They all have a purpose in life. Remember that. God will give you the grace and the tools to raise the amount of children he blesses you with.
Finally to the women who are trying for a baby to no avail, or who have been told not to have children due to health issues or even that they can’t have children…DON’T LOSE HOPE! A very close friend of mine was told (when she was 15) that she couldn’t have any children. Fast forward twelve years later at twenty six years old and two months before her twenty seventh birthday..she defied doctors as she gave birth to her first born…a bouncing baby boy! Then there was another friend who was told that pregnancy would kill her, her local hospital refused to treat her because they had advised her against the pregnancy. Fast forward nine months…then along came that baby boy who doctors thought wouldn’t survive, healthy and very much alive! Oh and the mother who doctors thought would die during pregnancy is also very much alive and is probably changing nappies as you read this post. You don’t have to believe in God to believe in miracles because miracles really do happen to any one! Keep believing and one day you too will be holding your bouncing baby boy or your graceful gorgeous girl.
I apologise because this may not be your conventional Mother’s Day blog post but I thought it was a message that needed to be passed on. Let’s be sensitive and loving this Mother’s Day because we never know what other women are going through when it comes to their womb.
Happy Mother’s day to every single woman out there!
Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You
Love Mabs xx