So this is my first post of the year and I finally break the silence and get with the program of world domination *cue ominous music* dom dom dom...
Lol. Well happy new year since I didn't say it in January and nice to see you again since its been so long! There have been so many thoughts and topics in my head to write about that short of feeling overwhelmed, I am excited that I have that much content swirling around in my head. Goodness!
But lets start off with a bit of catching up!
I've had a baby since being away and will tell you a bit about being pregnant, going into labor and delivery.
Oddly enough, before I started to show I found I wasn't open to sharing my piece of good news and was very conscious of keeping it that way for as long as I could. This was not so much because of the paranoia of not telling about a pregnancy in order not to jinx it or be jinxed by supposed bad belle people (a very Nigerian thing I find) but it was because it was very personal and I didn't want to share this new, sometimes unglamorous (the sick part), life changing and exciting phase in my life just yet. I needed time to cradle the news to myself first and get used to it. And so it was that sometimes I fought knowing eyes, telling smiles and careless comments in a bid to keep the announcement on my terms.
This was not the only unexpected reaction to pregnancy I had, in fact I surprised myself a lot. For instance I was not the the picture taking, journal entering mum- to- be I thought I would be and did not like being the center of attention for being pregnant, especially when it was in some not so flattering way.
For instance, I was in the market one day doing a little shopping and quite like them, the naughty shop keepers were calling out and sometimes touching shoppers in an effort to get them into their shops. Now, I have been called "oyibo" for my light skin and typical names by those shop boys but I was taken back when one addressed me as "Mama Ejima". First it was unusual because "mama" would be for an older woman so I put it down to the guy trying to be creative but after passing a few more streets and hearing the same name I quickly realized it was because of my protruding belly. While I can have a laugh over it now I didn't find it funny and felt picked on at the pointed "jokes" that came my way during my pregnancy.
But there were good experiences too like when I found myself on a long queue at a bank and was just wishing for a world where there was provision for disabled and pregnant women to jump queues when the best example of telepathy I have ever experienced happened and the lady at the teller signaled for that pregnant woman on the queue to come forward. It was the one time being called "that pregnant woman" felt like winning the lottery! I would have objected to the disrespectful innuendo that tends to tinge that title at any other time.
Well being pregnant quickly went from new to normal and as I counted down to my due date, I became apprehensive again about the unknown- labour. I remember sharing this with a midwife who told me matter of factly that if I knew how to make a bowel movement then I knew how to have a baby. I was not convinced!
I had spent a little time selecting scripture to meditate on to combat some of my concerns and pray for my baby which really helped. I even wrote some mantras for coping with labour in cosmo but interestingly having been through it, I can share a few more as an added bonus to my readers on this blog.
The best tip I can give to anyone expecting is rather than pray that the cup of labor passes over you, surrender to it and let it have its way with you. I found that the more I thrashed around or spoke during the contractions the harder it was to cope with so I just braced up to it and let it take its toll knowing it wouldn't last. The most helpful thing was being reminded of this and Haruna was so good at counting down the seconds till I could expect the pain to subside.
This experience has become a metaphor for difficult moments. I find that knowing a difficulty or discomfort or even an intense feeling is temporary helps me call on my powers of rational thinking or exercise my muscles of self restraint till it tides over. And when that moment of heightened suspense passes, I realize that even though it felt it would never end, never change or was soo important, it really did end, could change and wasn't that important.
I labored naturally on my own for 12 hours and although I had a birth plan for a natural birth without strong pain relief, I did ask for an epidural and now swear by that concoction of analgesic and anesthesia! Once administered I could sleep through contractions and preserve my strength through the hours dilating without food and the final push to birth baby. All in all, it was a wonderful experience; certainly the most physically painful but not all of the horror I expected.
Something that does live up to its reputation is having a baby. I felt I knew who my baby was because we shared my body and I was her mother, but when she came out it was like meeting a new person. I blinked at her for a while and found her almost alien cry and suit of veneal strange. I needed to get to know her and came to accept that she had her own personality and I couldn't predict anything about this individual except what I knew by observation. She also appears to be getting to know me! I catch her observing me and chide myself for not realizing sooner that she had been seeing me and I haven't been seeing her back! lol!
Having a child has also added a shade of meaning to being God's child. I am ever alert for her cry with a watchful eye as God must be of mine and when she jerks from sleep I remind her that she is safe in my hands and question her fear when I am so near. And sometimes she cries because she can't see or feel me but I am there in the room with her and although she screams because she tastes something new in the medicine, I don't take her out of her misery because it is for her good. While she spends a good deal of her sleeping and sometimes waking hours oblivious of me, I spend mine with her on my mind.
I take notice of the gradual changes in the sounds she makes, from staccato shrieks and grunts of discontent to cries that peak and fall and last as long as any chart topping hook. Hearing all and seeing all, I applaud her increased vocal range from which she produces coos, gurgles, and yelps of delight to go with her developing facial expressions and gesticulations. I celebrate her going longer minutes of playtime without crying and longer hours of sleeptime without waking. Her loud, smelly farts and explosive poops elicit the right mix of surprise for being "adult loud" and cheers for having overcome trapped gas. I'd like to think that the way I delight in every detail of her life is an incline into the way God delights in the details of mine and the way I enjoy my child is a glimpse into his thoughts and affections towards me.
I am also learning from her. When she sleeps she lets loose and her face is the definition of peaceful sleep and when she wakes, she takes long stretches, extending limb after limb while letting out sounds of satisfaction through the stretch. So I try to learn how to sleep and stretch from her. Observing how uninhibited babies are, how unaffected they are by graces and airs, farting with abandon and being themselves without apology; it makes me wonder how a person can go from being a baby without so much as a care in the world to being an adult and disliking some part of their body or believing that they are less than adequate in some way! Oh well.
While I have not been blogging myself, I have been reading some of my favorite bloggers every day and had to banish myself from blog hopping today until I wrote a post of my own and I am quite satisfied by the results.
Till my next post (hopefully sooner rather than later), keep your happiness, hold your peace and count your blessings- don't give them to anyone for any reason!