Thursday, September 29, 2011
Raising A Child
I have come to truly embrace that saying "it takes a village to raise a child." Some of you know that though I am married, I was by myself during my pregnancy and after the birth of my daughter I had help for some to most of the time. When I went back to work, I had just great grandma who wasn't very reliable (I needed to tell her things a million times). Grandma left like as soon as I was done (it was mutual by the way) and then it was just me and baby girl for about three weeks.
It was as stressful as I imagined since I had to take her everywhere- to get last minute things done, to the store and so on What was worst was trying to get ready for the big move to Florida with her. I couldn't bend down with her in the front carrier, and I felt bad bending so much with her on my back since I wouldn't like to be turned upside down multiple times in a day. I just couldn't get anything done and this resulted in a very stressful move. She also felt very ignored and so spoke very loudly to the extent that I wished she could understand so that I could yell at her (yeah by the way she found her voice at 2 and the half months).
Then I thought of how much my friends and family back home in Nigeria take for granted and I made a decision to not pack while she was asleep but instead to call a buddy of mine to voice my frustrations. Here is a synopses of the conversation:
Note- my friends and I speak a mix of broken english (pigin), igbo, some yoruba and regular english but they are all highly educated.
My Friend: Eyaa! mama Mmeso wassup! how una dey? (how r we?)
Me: wassup? we dey kampe? how far now momcy nko? (we r fine, how is mom?)
My Friend: Momcy de jo, a go tell am se you de hail. (my mom is fine, I will let her know you asked of her)
Me: a dupe jare (thanks)
My Friend: you sound tired, se is just you and baby?
me: yes oh my sister
My friend: wow! it is not easy oh, se you can work on one of these people... ah abi na Uh Pear (au pair?)
Me: o di gi easy my sister (it is not that easy)
My friend: my sister if for say na here, a for don send you one of my sister's pikin- she come holidays for my house (she wished she could send me one of her sister's child that is with her for the holidays) I have no idea how you are surviving- do you even leave the house?
Me: yes na
My friend- Chi what you are doing is not normal- it really does take everyone's help to raise your child to become a vital member of society. No wonder oyibo is always talking about psychological this and that and postpartum depression. Think about everyone that took part in raising you.
Me: postpartum depression is real sha but you are right that it does make things worst when you feel by yourself. And you are also right about how much help my parents had without realizing it.
You know after that conversation, I thought about my childhood and realized how right my friend was, because I remember a lot of people. My uncle Onyeka helping me with my homework; Mr. Appiah encouraging me to come out of my shell because I am destined for greatness. Aunty Ngozi teaching me how important it was to keep my home; Mama Onitsha telling me that books just doesn't cut it for a woman "you must to learn how to cook" she would often say; Sr Faith teaching me the morals of the bible; Mama Nawgu showing me the ropes of farming and reminding me of how important school was so that I could help her keep her read the bible; Mama Obi tattling on me to my mother when I was somewhere I didn't need to be; Mama Oke watching us for my mother and even disciplining us in the absence of my mother; Mama Emeka preparing us several home cooked meals when mummy was in the hospital; gifts of bags of rice and palm oil from family and friends when things were hard during the holidays, not to talk of my traditional wedding when all my mothers (aunties, great aunts, mom, grandma and so on) came together to cook while gossiping, joking and making fun of each other (missed that).
I am not sure why we have that pressure that we need to raise our child ourselves. Sometimes we feel guilty having a good time and leaving our child with a trusted person. We want to give up every part of our youth so that everyone realizes how motherly we are. You cannot keep your house clean, go to work, be a wife, cook all by yourself- women are truly super but having that mind set will set you up for failure and eventually depression. Share tasks with your spouse and seek help when you can.
I am now 15 weeks as a new mom and I am enjoying every bit of it.