She walked up to me with bleary eyes and a wrinkled face. She obviously must have barely had some good sleep in a long time. I almost didn’t recognize her but for our closeness from way back. She used to be very glamorous and super cute with all the curves in the perfect places, but all that has changed. She had just been delivered of her third pregnancy some months ago, they were twin boys and a total of four young children. Beautiful isn’t it? But why was she looking that way?
Motherhood is a mixture of pain and sweetness. The joy of looking at your own offspring and the pain of labour and nursing the child all sum up to what motherhood is all about. Yes, but in all, nursing the child shares the larger pie of the chart should we go statistically.
Birthing a child is not all motherhood takes but bringing up the child to the good use of the society is what it entails. Or of what use is a useless child to the society? To achieve this requires a lot of hard work which explains why motherhood is tedious and hence deserves a lot of respect.
She has to stay up all night because the world’s new intake needs attention. She stops her leisures to see to the baby’s needs. She no longer goes to places the baby shouldn’t be and never eats things the baby shouldn’t eat. She loses her beauty and body to this little bundle of joy and sacrifices her pride for its feeding. She stops to think of herself but the baby first and endures her pains to see it sound. Most nursing mothers do not sleep at night.
Ever wondered why the Igbo adage implies it takes the society to raise a child? This is to prove the demanding nature of motherhood. It is so demanding that it requires as many hands as possible. This brings me to think motherhood is more a lifestyle than gender based.
This implies that it takes one imbibing the love and care, the humane heart of a woman to raise a child – not just your child but any child at all.
Motherhood appeals to me more like an attitude than a gender perception. Be a man or a woman, you can take up the responsibility of motherhood, all you need is the heart. It’s beyond staying up at night to breastfeed the child, you do not need to have a child before you extend your tender loving care to another child.
In the absence of a mother, take up the challenge and give the child the desired comfort. If a woman could assume fatherly roles in the absence of a father, then anyone can assume any role. Have you ever thought that if you can care so much for the child of another what would happen when you have yours? So much! I could have gone on and on but we’ll take it one at a time.
So today, promise to adopt the motherhood identity which connotes kindness, warmth, love and care towards every child. Let love lead and you would find a fragment of you in any child you meet.
By Ruth Ij Daniels