Immediately, she sat down beside me, this new found friend of mine started to complain. I will call her, Ada. “Oooh!, Why did our flat have to be located on the third floor?! And who builds these kinds of houses sef, without giving consideration to how pregnant woman would go up. Aaah! My back sha.”
And then she launched into her narrative, “I don’t know how I’m going to do myself with this baby o. My mom that would have come to help me is too old, and my aunt that I would have asked is finally pregnant, for the first time since I have known her. She is almost 50 o. I don’t know how she will be coping sef.”
When I asked if her mother-in-law could come instead of her aunt and mom, she said, “She can come but I don’t want her to come joor. She would be expecting me to be cooking all day for her and she would not even help me with the baby. No, I don’t want her to come. But, who will help me to bathe this baby? Will you help me?”
At that, I burst into laughter, and told her I now know exactly what she was concerned about, when someone else bathes the baby, she can pretty much stretch her legs, after putting all that is needed within reach of the baby bather. She then said one thing that made me pity her small. “I don’t think, I remember how to do all that baby wahala again.” I feel her.
Ada had her last child 13 years ago, and this daughter is in JSS2. Before her, there was a boy. She and her husband decided that was enough, and they closed shop, until she started falling ill, like no man’s business, last year. At one stage, she was hospitalised for one week, and when they asked her to take a pregnancy test, she said she couldn’t possibly be pregnant! After all, she had been pregnant twice, and knew the symptoms. She asked the doctors to seek the infection terrorising her system instead.
She was discharged, and two days later, her husband rushed her to the hospital, as she had fainted while cooking. She spent another two days in the hospital, before she was allowed to go home, but during this time, not only was a pregnancy test performed on her, she had a scan, and it became pretty clear that a junior Ada had taken up residence in her womb, for close to three months. Hmmm!
When she called her husband to inform him, he had nothing to say. He just said, “Okay” and hung up. When he got to the hospital, he couldn’t talk to her. He just looked in on her, told her he was going to the doctor’s office, and off he went. Even Ada did not know what to say to him. What do you say to your husband in such a circumstance anyway?
After he confirmed from the doctor that his wife was indeed pregnant, the doctor followed him back into his wife’s room, and began with the prep talk they give pregnant women. That was when it sunk in for both of them that they were going to become parents once more, after 13 years. Ada said her husband placed his hands on her tummy and said, “Hello baby” and that set the tone for her pregnancy.
They have accepted that they are going to have a baby, even when they thought they had already completed that business. Ada is however apprehensive about how she will cope with a new baby. Well, she finally admitted that she had become so lazy, since her kids have taken over so many chores in the house…and now this. She is still asking me to come and bathe her baby when it gets here and, to make sure I do, she gave me her address, her number and collected mine. And we talk every other day, with the talk ending with, “Shey you never forget say you go bathe baby o” The truth is, I don’t think I still remember how to bathe a baby o. ☺
Another mom who did finish the child bearing business latter than usual was one of my older cousins, and it was due to secondary infertility. She had given up hope of having another child, when it happened for her. I have no idea what the challenge was, but growing up, I knew her as Mama Shade. Everywhere she went, you can bet her daughter, Shade was not far behind. They were like bread and butter, inseparable.
However, early one morning, my Dad opened the door to a troubled man, who turned out to be my cousin’s husband. They had this hush hush conversation and soon, my Dad left the house with him.
It was later that we heard that my cousin had been hospitalised because she was pregnant, and the pregnancy was threatened, hence, she was confined to her bed, not at home, but at the hospital. Taking care of her family became a challenge, which her younger sister, who was then unmarried, did not want to undertake, in spite of their parent’s directive. Her mother was already staying in the hospital with her, but her health was delicate, and in order not to have two ailing women on their hands, they wanted her relieved; so my dad was the man for the job.
It was a hard pregnancy for her. I only got to see her once in the hospital, and she did not look good. I felt like she was trying so hard. Trying hard or not, she eventually had the baby, and at first, she had more strength and wanted to do most things by herself. Very soon, she tired, and relocated to her mom’s place, where my mom went every morning and evening to bathe the baby and cook them breakfast.
My sisters and I took turns following our Mom to the baby’s place, and her favourite statement was, “Is that how they do it nowadays?” My mom, who had birthed three kids, while my cousin waited for her second child, often told her yes. Her reactions to the baby business provided us with plenty comic material, as we often mimicked her.
Between her mom, my mom and her daughter, that baby, who is a boy, was raised, and he is a strutting peacock now, who sometimes misbehaves, but I know his reset button.
There is this saying that you never forget how to ride a bicycle. Perhaps motherhood can be likened to that, you never forget how to be a mother. Not even to a new-born. You just get into the motions, even though your body might be finding it hard. Over time, it becomes easier.
Moms, let’s keep pedalling; we have lives to mould and territories to claim.
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