For girls like me Rebellion was not an act, it was a necessity. It was Reflex, like the air I breathe.
Rebellion for me was never with the mediocre things like late night parties or leaving the house in a mini skirt. I always thought bigger, wider, life changing…
I was sure that like many other girls from my side of the country, my fate was sealed.
School – Graduation – NYSC/Find a husband- get married and begin procreation 9 months from the night of the wedding.
And then settle into the life of the dutiful Igbo wife. Breastfeeding baby, Making Oha Soup, Making Egusi, Abacha, Jollof rice on Sundays.
Plus conjugal duties, plus that miserable civil service job you had to take so that you could be able to pick up the kids & spend time with them, since Oga closes work at 8pm.
There is absolutely wrong with that life, I just vehemently refused to let it become by reality. I wanted more.
My first major act of rebellion was my decision not to have children. For me, it was natural. As I got older, I realized that my maternal instincts were never going to kick in, because they were never there to start with.
I am a smart, beautiful, almost successful; tax paying, upright Nigerian Woman. But all of that is forgotten the moment I say I do not want kids. The day I let it slip from my lips, during an afternoon of drinks with my girlfriends, you needed to have seen the way they looked at me. In that moment, I might as well have been Adolf Hitler or Osama Bin Laden.
How dare I decide I don’t want what thousands are begging God for daily? How dare I defy God, when he commanded that we be fruitful and multiply?
These are some of the questions I was confronted with.
I learned that it is easier to lie to the world, including yourself, rather than face the unpopular truth. Maybe it is my societal or religious duty to procreate, I get that. But I’m not sure if I want to have kids. Slaughter me!
You can imagine how unpopular my view is, in a climate such as Nigeria, where being pregnant is the equivalent of getting a degree from Oxbridge. You are announced, celebrated, congratulated. Your parents are proud and of course your spouse is beyond elated. He is truly a man.
But what about you?
Are you truly happy or are you simply reflecting what society has demanded that you feel?
21st century mommies, the Instagram mommies, the super mommies; have made child bearing & Child rearing, Glam!
Photos upon photos of perfectly orchestrated 1st birthdays, 1st steps, adorable smiles, taking baby to swimming lessons and French school, while still looking on fleek and maintaining a top notch career.
Then there’s the social media frenzy known as #TeamSnapBack😳 What post baby weight? The silent struggle to be the thinnest possible version of yourself, as quickly as possible after childbirth.
In my humble opinion, Babies are cute when they are someone else’s, only.
You spend a fuss free hour with them and gaze and aww at their curly hair and tender skin. Pick up your bag and head to your baby free apartment. The End.
What happens to the woman who is stuck with the baby 24/7?
Who is the poster child for sleep deprivation? Constantly bathing and feeding. Constantly trying to figure out why baby is crying. Dirty diapers, spit up, child care etc.
Forget Hollywood; but the price your body pays for having a child, physically and psychologically is unbelievable. Despite all the body magic and hours in the gym, does any one actually get their pre-baby back 100%?
Puberty has left me with enough stretch marks; Thank you very much. Who needs more?
Call me vain, but these things matter to me at least. Let us not even talk about ‘downstairs’. Does it ever stay the same? What is the effect on your relationship with Oga; the one with whom you started? Does your love and attention move from him to the baby? What happens to your chemistry?
Does it get stronger or is it a constant race to get away from the house & away from baby’s screams?
What about the physical? Does that fly out the window? Since you have made the transition from gorgeous girlfriend & wife to Mama Bomboy.
What about the physical act of child birth. For some it is ‘miraculous’; for some it is ‘quick’ and virtually painless (as if); but what happens to the other 50% who don’t have a ball, for whom is a struggle between life and death. But are expected to make at least 3 more trips to the labour room.
And who even talks about Post Partum depression? It is very much real.
Questions to which I have received, frankly unsatisfactory answers.It is a constant game of giving and giving and giving.
Then they attain the age of walking a.k.a the age of breaking shit. Oh, then there’s tuition. It goes up with every year and every new class.
Is the price really worth it in the end? Is everybody meant to be a mother?
I Like peace, quiet, tranquility, order, glass, a good night’s sleep, a healthy bank account, a great body (without living in the gym) all of which I don’t see happening for me in baby-ville. I do love kids, ironically. I can actually stand them, for about 3 hours max. Until they get restless and get into tantrum throwing mode. And I just want to drop them back into their mother’s waiting arms.
I have made peace with my reality. The potential emptiness of living alone with my partner, till death do us part. The echo of our laughter, as it slithers through our half empty house. The struggle of even finding a partner in this part of the world who shares my view & will be willing to commit to it long term.
For the mothers who love motherhood, who revel in it, like my mother & many other mothers I know, I salute you. Your work is not easy. You are a superstar. You are extraordinary. I am glad my mother chose to be a mother.
As for the rest of us who refuse to bow to societal pressure, please let us be. If we have made peace with our choice and our reality, the rest of the world needs to make peace with it too. Doting mothers, doting aunties, nosy relatives, nosy friends; yes you; make peace with it.
Stop trying to convince us that our maternal instincts will kick in once the baby is here. What if it doesn’t kick in? Then what? Is it a toy that you can return?
There are so many beautiful children in this world already, whom I can shower with love & affection. Do I really need to have any of my own?