Posted in Motherhood

Little tips, Big impact.

As a first time mum, there were a variety of practices and behaviours that were used on a trial and error basis for the upbringing of my first child. I have been able to reflect on decisions that were made and determine the things that I plan to do differently when I have another child and those that I intend to repeat. So, here are a few things that have had a positive impact on my daughter Hanaan which I will definitely be repeating with my future children:

  • Read, Read, Read – We all know the importance of reading to children; research has proved it time and time again. So, I won’t talk about that. Instead, I will talk about some of the impact reading has had on Hanaan. I started reading out loud to Hanaan during pregnancy and have continued ever since. We read during the day but it is also a part of our bedtime routine. Hanaan loves to read and now at almost 3 years old, she willingly picks up books to read (she can’t read yet but she knows the stories and uses the pictures to ascertain what is happening in the story). She uses words that she has picked up from books when speaking, words that I’d never use when speaking to her. Reading books has encouraged her sense of curiosity whilst also allowing me to develop her comprehension skills implicitly. Whilst we read, Hanaan asks different questions about the characters in the books. Sometimes, I answer the questions and sometimes I refer the questions back to her and allow her to answer them. Aswell as this, reading has expanded her understanding of the world beyond our little family. She is exposed to different context and themes such as friendship, culture, religion through the different texts that we read.
  • Speak in full sentences – If you want your children to talk in the best way possible, ditch baby talk from the beginning and speak to them in grammatically accurate sentences. Children are like sponges and will pick up on the things that you say. This will also make a massive difference when they start to write too! Children tend to write the way they speak and it can be difficult to reteach proper English when they are already accustomed to speaking in certain ways. Hanaan generally speaks in full sentences because I have always made a conscious effort to speak to her in full sentences. Recently, I noticed she has been saying things like ‘cos’ rather than ‘because’. Of course, this is because I began to say ‘cos’ so I am trying to reteach her to say ‘because’ by saying the full word every time I speak to her.
Hanaan casually reading in the bath!
  • Model the culture you want to create in your home – As I said earlier, children pick up everything around them. So, it is quite important that you model the behaviour that you want to see in them. Rather than telling them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ or ‘Bismillah’ before they eat, model saying these phrases in the right contexts from an early age. This not only teaches them to say the phrases but it also teaches them how to use them in the right context and it becomes a part of them. These are some of the phrases that Hanaan and I use regularly; Alhamdulillah when she sneezes, Bismillah before eating, Alhamdulillah after eating, Saying ‘sorry’ when we do something wrong or something that hurts another person, please and thank you e.t.c
  • Speak positively – It is so important to speak positively to your children. Your voice becomes their inner voice and they will begin to repeat the words that you say to them thus increasing their self worth and self confidence. It also teaches them how to speak to you and others in a way that is kind and respectful. Personally, I also found that Hanaan responds to positive language. She listens a lot more when I tell her how amazing she is rather than telling her about the negative behaviour she may be displaying in that moment.

P.S This post is quite different to my usual content. Would you like to see more of these posts? Let me know in the comment section.

Till next time,

-A

Posted in Motherhood, Religion

Worries

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands…” (Holy Qur’an 24:31)

Eight years ago when I made the decision to wear my hijab, there was a certain worry that came with the decision; I lived in a society where very few Muslims existed and out of those Muslims, none of them wore the hijab full time. I already stood out as a black girl in a predominantly white community. So, as you can imagine, wearing my hijab was not the easiest decision. As anyone would, I worried about how people would see me and relate with me. However, it was a decision and a way of life that I had thought long and hard about and I was ready to commit to, regardless of society’s views.

Fast forward to a couple of months after having my daughter… My mum returned from Nigeria with various gifts for us including the smallest hijabs for my daughter. I thought they were the cutest things, especially as they made her chubby baby face look even chubbier. I also saw it as an opportunity to introduce the hijab to her at an early age hoping that when she came to make the commitment at a later age, it would be much easier for her than it was for me. Just like every mother, I wanted to set her up to succeed in every aspect of life and it felt good to think this was another step towards achieving that. As far as I was concerned, it wasn’t any different from emphasising the use of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at a young age so that she hopefully grew up to be courteous.

Every time we went out, I’d dress my daughter up and made sure she had a matching hijab to her outfit. At the time, I didn’t really have a lot of places to go aside from the familiar places within the Nigerian Muslim community; mosque, visiting family and friends. These places were my safe haven; they were filled with people who knew the true meaning behind the hijab and understood my intentions for my daughter without me having to explain myself. And just like me, they all thought she looked cute in her hijab and liked the idea of getting her accustomed to it in the hopes that it’d make life easier for her.

Things changed when I ventured outside of my safe haven. That morning, we had a doctor’s appointment and as usual, I got my daughter ready making sure that her hijab matched her outfit. As I parked the car and struggled to get the car seat out of the car, I couldn’t help but feel like I did eight years ago when I first left my house wearing a hijab. I was worried. I worried about how my baby might suddenly be viewed because she was dressed differently. I almost wanted to take it off but this was an important step for me. This was a step I’d hope that my daughter would take one day. If I was too scared to take it myself, how could I expect her to do the same?

To my surprise, everyone that came in contact with her saw just how amazing she was (and still is). They saw what I saw; a beautiful and smiley baby girl. Those that commented on her hijab had nothing but positive things to say about it. Like me, they appreciated the fact that it matched her outfit and actually thought she looked ‘cute’ in it. They especially loved the little diamantes that were attached to it. I immediately felt at ease and all my worries were almost forgotten.

However, every so often, due to different reasons, these worries come crippling back and I cannot help but think about my daughter and her hijab. Now at almost 3 years old, the hijab has become a part of her. Although she doesn’t understand the meaning behind it, it is something she is comfortable wearing and chooses to wear most days. I hope that when she comes to the age of understanding that it is something that continues to be a part of her. But with that hope, comes the question; when does she stop being a baby, a person and instead, becomes a threat because of what she chooses to wear on her head?

Till next time

-A

Posted in Relationships

Love Language

During courtship, my now husband and I took the love language quiz out of curiosity. I had completely forgotten about it until recently. As I reflect now, I realise just how significant that test was and the impact it may have had on my marriage if I had taken it a little more seriously. At the time of the test, my strongest love language was Words of Affirmation. Although, Acts of Service was a close second. Since going back to work and becoming a mum, Acts of service is now my strongest . Again, this may change in the future when I have more time on my hands. However, working full time with a baby makes you really appreciate someone doing something tangible to support you.

Through the course of our marriage, I expressed ‘love’ to my husband the way I thought was best; the way I would have liked to be shown love. My husband’s job requires him to work long hours. He spends most of his week and weekends working. This meant that he had little time to help out around the house. In trying to support him and convey my love for him, I took it upon myself to do everything around the home. I overworked myself with chores around the house to show that I cared about him. As far as I was concerned, I was being considerate of his workload and I was expressing that to him.

This worked for a while. However, I began to feel frustrated because I was constantly working and felt I was doing everything (read more about that here). I was trying to express my love for this man by doing everything that I could possibly do to ease his workload and I was getting nothing in return. I found it very difficult to understand why my message wasn’t getting across. After several arguments and discussions, I realised that although I was going above and beyond, he was not responding to these acts of ‘love’ because he didn’t see them as an expression of love. Acts of service was not his love language; he just saw them as things I did because I wanted to do them or because I could do them. 

It took a while, a really long time to actually understand this. I really had to stop thinking about what I wanted from him and focus on what he needed from me. I focused on my responsibilities rather than what I felt were my rights. I pretty much had to get off my high horse and began to actually listen to what my husband was telling me. In his complaints, I discovered what he wanted from me as a wife; his love language. 

This revelation had and has continued to have a positive impact on my marriage. I started to speak to him in the language that he responded to and consequently he began to speak my language. We began to understand each other a lot more than we did because we were communicating in a language that allowed the other person to hear us and understand us. This immediately decreased our arguments and allowed us to hear each other in a way that we hadn’t before. 

Till next time,

-A

Posted in Culture, Motherhood, Relationships

GUILT!!!

I have come to believe caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”

– Audre Lorde

There is a certain guilt I feel when I force myself to take a break or rest up a little. As I lay down to relax, I can’t help but feel less of a woman/wife/mother because I chose to take care of myself rather than clean the house or spread the clothes. Often, I get so overwhelmed with that guilt that I end up putting a stop to my relaxation and getting up to do whatever needs to be done. Whilst trying to figure out where this guilt was coming from, I realised this is something that is embedded in our society and culture in different ways. 

Growing up, I watched my mother and the women around me do EVERYTHING in the household. Our mothers took care of everyone but themselves. Although my mother never specifically advised me to do the same in my marital home, the expectation was set. I followed in her footsteps and tried as much as I could to be a good daughter and help out in any way possible around the house. Whenever I showed any intentions to relax or have fun, a series of questions such as “have you tidied up the house?” or “have you cooked the stew?” followed. Only if I answered ‘Yes’ to these questions, was it then acceptable for me to ‘relax’. There was a constant feeling of ‘the home needs to be in perfect order before I can relax’. 

Going into my marital home, I subconsciously carried the same pressure with me. I wanted to be a superwoman – the perfect wife and mother. I wanted to do everything like the great women that came before me. So I did. I cooked. I cleaned. I took care of the baby and everything else in between. There was a sense of fulfilment and empowerment that came from looking at the spotless house, coupled with the smell of food from the kitchen that made me feel like a good wife. I had done everything on my own. My worth as a wife was very much linked to the chores I did around the house. So much so, when I couldn’t do ALL of those things, I felt I was failing in my role as a wife. I was not enough. As you can imagine, this mindset coupled with a full time job and a baby left me feeling drained with no time to myself. I was constantly tired and cranky.

…I recognise it, I am working on it, because self care isn’t selfish…”

As a human being, I painfully recognised that I needed a break to recharge; I tried to take the time out. This meant allowing my spouse to carry some of the household responsibilities. I struggled. Watching him do more around the home went against everything that I had observed or had been taught by women in the society. I questioned my ability as a wife and a mother and instead of feeling relaxed, I felt selfish and incapable. I felt guilty for taking a break. I felt guilty for not meeting the expectations that I had set for myself. 

Having acknowledged that I was trying to live up to the expectations that I had set for myself in my own marital home, I am now personally trying to unlearn this ‘superwoman’ behaviour and allow myself space and time to take care of myself without feeling guilty about it. In doing this, I have also realised that it is okay to let someone else take the reins. I am slowly learning to take a step back and not feel the need to do everything. I’m not there yet, but I recognise it, I am working on it, because self care isn’t selfish. You cannot pour from an empty cup. 

Do you feel guilt when you make time for yourself? If so, know that you’re not on your own. Do you feel the need to overcome this feeling and how do you do so?

Till next time

-A

Posted in Culture

DO BETTER NIGERIA!

ANGER. RAGE. DISGUST. HURT. PAIN. HEAVY. BETRAYAL. LET DOWN. SHAME.

These words don’t even come close to describing the turmoil in my chest right now. There is so much awareness being brought to issues that have been going on for so long ‘behind closed doors’, I’m struggling to cope. I have refrained from saying anything because I don’t feel I have the right words. Instead, I have spent the past few days sharing links, posts, tweets, campaigns, petitions etc in solidarity with our fight. However, tonight I struggled to stay quiet. 

As a black woman, I’ve always been aware of the racial injustice that we as black people face. I am not blind to it. I am lucky to not have overtly experienced it but it’s there. It’s in the way people look at me when I laugh too loud or in the way they ask me why I’m so well-spoken. It is in the way they tell me to ‘calm down’ when I am trying to speak up for myself. So, I am aware that we will be judged firstly by the colour of our skin before anything else. I am aware that the mere colour of our skin is a threat to several out there. And like so many of us, the images and videos that I have seen over the past few days have enraged me. The more information I get, the angrier I get at the systemic racism that has been put in place to keep us from changing our narratives. The more information I get, the angrier I get at myself for not being quick to realise the impact of these malicious behaviours on my people. The more information I get, the angrier I get at the people who care more about power than they care about our lives. The more information I get, the angrier I get at the people who have chosen to oppress us to make their lives easier. The point is, I AM ANGRY. WE ARE ANGRY. WE ARE TIRED. We are at war and we’re ready to stand up to our enemies. 

In standing up to injustice, we need to call out the injustice within our own communities. Recently, the rape culture in Nigeria has been all over social media. Rape happens everywhere. It’s sad but true. There are sick men everywhere*. Sick men who think the way a woman dresses, walks, speaks, where she visits etc is a reason to rape her. Sick men who force themselves on women just for being women. We know these men exist. We know these men are sick. These men sicken me. But what sickens me more than these men are the communities who have raised these men to believe that they have the right to a woman’s body without her consent. Men AND women bashing other women/girls for ‘putting themselves in situations’ that have caused them to be raped. What situation gives another person the right to violate you? I won’t get into it but when you look at the stats, it is very clear that nothing stops anyone from being raped. It could have been YOU. WE need to do better. 

Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.

– Kurt Cobain

The pressure that is put on women in our community is ridiculous. We are blamed for everything including being abused by our male counterparts. From birth, we are groomed for the sake of our male counterparts; dress responsibly so that the boys won’t look at you, learn to cook so that you can be a good wife, educate yourself because no man wants a liability etc. YOU raise us girls to be strong, independent, educated, responsible etc. On the other hand, YOU raise irresponsible men who are unworthy of the women that YOU have raised. Men that choose to satisfy their sexual urges without a care for the impact it has on us because YOUR ACTIONS have taught them that we exist solely for their sake. And in turn, YOU are telling the strong girls that YOU have raised, that no matter what they do, what they achieve, what they wear, these men will ALWAYS come before them. I AM ASHAMED. Nigeria, we need to do better. 

I plan to do better and you should too. We need to raise men that are worthy of the women that we are raising. We need to raise men that understand our struggles as women. We need to raise men that will fight for our struggles as women. We need to raise men that will hear our cries. We need to raise RESPONSIBLE men. So, start in your homes. Give your sons responsibilities; let them make dinner, let them do the dishes. Teach them respect. Teach them that they are the only ones responsible for their actions and those actions have consequences. Hold them accountable. Teach them just like you teach your daughters. 

To my sisters who have suffered and continue to suffer from the hands of the irresponsible men in our community. The community that should fight for you has let you down. I see YOU. I hurt for YOU. I support YOU. You are worthy!

DO BETTER NIGERIA!!!

Till next time

-A

*There are sick men everywhere. Obviously it’s important to recognise that this role can be fulfilled by a woman also, however this is a minute minority and generally not the case in most occurrences. Therefore with relevance to my point, I am going to discuss said sick men.

Posted in Other

I’m baaaaaaack…… AGAIN!

“Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date. Take a deep breath and try again” – Kathy Witten. 

I really want to apologise for being away for a ridiculous amount of time but I also don’t. Life has been a whirlwind, to say the least. The last time I wrote on this page, I was 25! A lot has changed since then. I am now 27 (still struggling to accept this) and living in London! I moved down here with my now 2-year-old to start work as a full-time primary teacher. At the time, my husband stayed back in Ireland for several different reasons. For anyone that is not aware, teaching is NOT a 9 am – 3pm job. I’ll do a separate post on it but it’s more of a 24/7 job. Anyway, as you can imagine, between working full time and taking care of a baby/toddler, I didn’t have time for much else including sleep. So, writing a post was not the first thing on my mind. It’s still not the first thing on my mind. But it is on my mind and has been for a while now. 

estee-janssens-2enBTsIVhUU-unsplash

To be completely honest, I was very reluctant to re-start this blog AGAIN for several reasons. Firstly, I felt I didn’t have anything to say that was worth saying or anything that anyone wanted to hear. Everybody is going through life the best way they can and we all have a story to share, what makes mine worth writing about? Secondly, I was scared of failing. I didn’t admit this to myself until recently but I was worried about how the contents of my blog would be received; Will people like it? Will they care enough to share it? Will it have the desired impact e.t.c. As well as this, I was also unsure of what I wanted to do with the blog, where I wanted to go with it or what aspects of my life I wanted to focus on. Finally, I constantly compared where I was in the blogging process to where I wanted to be. I am quite a distance from where I’d like to be and the idea of what the journey could look like scared me so much it almost paralysed me.

But then, two friends turned sisters (I am thankful for good friends) reminded me of why I started writing in the first place- It’s simple, I love to write! It’s really that simple. So instead of worrying, I decided to write. So yeah, I’m back AGAIN…. to stay, hopefully. I’m still not sure what I want the focus of my blog to be or what aspect of my life I want to focus on or whether I’ll just keep it the same as before. I’m still terrified that life will get extremely busy and I’ll lose my step and fall flat on my face yet AGAIN. BUT I am willing to push those fears aside and see where this takes me! And I really hope that you’re willing to come on this journey with me.

Till next time 

-A 

Posted in Culture, Empowerment, Relationships

New you, New Wife?

Hi everybody, hope ye are all having a good week so far. My week started off well until I came across a certain scene in a Nigerian movie. This particular scene really annoyed me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So, as you do, I decided to talk about it.

My mother-in-law was watching a Nigerian movie and I happened to walk in on a scene in which a husband was explaining to his wife the reason behind him marrying another wife. Basically, this man married another wife because he felt his wife was not suitable for his new role. He had been elected to a certain position in the community and felt he needed a more learned woman by his side.

I can understand why he felt his wife might not be the most suitable candidate for his new position. His new role put him in the public eye and required him to interact with the public. If seen with him, she will be forced to speak English, which she was unable to. However, I’m not sure that marrying another wife is the solution. If his current wife is not holding it down the way he wants her to, then why can’t he support her to be the wife he wants her to be (assuming she wants to be that wife). Instead, he chose to marry another wife, forgetting that she didn’t speak English when he married her.

marital growth

I’m just tired of hearing about men marrying new wives because they refuse to support their wives to be better. Yes, the Islamic religion permits a man to marry more than one wife (This man wasn’t a Muslim btw). I am not disputing that. However, marrying another wife to replace another seems selfish to me, especially if the things she lacks can be achieved. These women have been through the worst with you, choosing to basically replace or dump her when you reach a certain milestone is just lazy and selfish. He was very happy being married to her until he was promoted to this new role, so why isn’t she good enough now.

I’ve heard so many silly reasons for men wanting to re-marry; ‘I want a younger wife’, ‘her body is not as toned as it used to be’. They forget that they are the reason her body isn’t toned, they forget that she was young when they got married.  If her body isn’t as toned as it used to be, encourage her to exercise. In fact, exercise with her and get rid of your belly. You don’t see women re-marrying because their husbands now have pot-bellies, so why is it okay for men to do it? Marriage shouldn’t be a ‘you’re good for this aspect of my life’ thing. The person you marry should be good for every aspect of your life. An example is Goodluck Jonathan and Patience (ex-president of Nigeria and his wife). Patience wasn’t as learned as her husband but she was still known as the First Lady of Nigeria (although, I do think he should have encouraged her to improve her English to save her from ridicule). I believe that marriage should be a loving partnership in which both partners support and encourage each other to be better. Your marriage should encourage your personal growth. Your partner should be your cheerleader.

That said, I’m not going to completely put this on men. As a person, it is your duty to improve yourself in any way that you can. At the end of the day, no one can care about you more than you care about yourself. In order to make sure that life doesn’t leave you behind, you need to continue to work on yourself. The woman in the movie took things into her own hands and started to learn English part-time. I didn’t stay to watch the rest of the movie but I wouldn’t be surprised if her husband came running back to her beaming with pride.

Till next time

-A

 

Posted in Relationships

I’m sorry.

“Apologising does not always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego” 

Hi everybody,

Last week, my husband and I had a slight misunderstanding. Misunderstandings aren’t unusual in relationships, but this one differed because we both felt we were in the right. Neither of us wanted to apologise because we felt the other person was wrong. I wasn’t too bothered about the argument at this stage because, like I said earlier, misunderstandings are not unusual in relationships.

However, the misunderstanding started to linger because neither of us wanted to accept blame. We were both annoyed at each other and were waiting for the other to apologise. As you’d imagine, the delay in resolving the disagreement started to affect the relationship. We weren’t rude to each other, we weren’t ignoring each other. In the space of a few minutes, the way we corresponded to each other started to change. The way we spoke to each other started to change slightly; pet names went down the drain, ‘would you like to eat now?’ became ‘your food is in the kitchen?’ the way we acted towards each other was slightly different. This was when I started to worry. So, I decided to apologise.

It wasn’t so easy. It took me a good couple of minutes to come to that decision. I had initially planned on starting another dispute about how I was right and he was wrong. I wanted him to see my point of view and apologise. However, I started to think about the impact of the initial argument. We were both annoyed and none of us was willing to budge. We had already argued about being right, going in to try to convince him with another argument was not going to make any positive difference.

peace

At that time, there were only slight changes, but I started to worry about how these changes might progress if things stayed the way they were. Although there had only been little changes at that point, those changes were important to me and were part of what made our relationship. The way we related to each other really mattered to me. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice that for a silly argument. So, I said ‘I’m sorry’.

To be clear, I still didn’t agree that I was wrong. And I wasn’t apologising just to apologise. I was apologising because the dynamics of our relationship was more important to me than winning an argument. As well as that, I knew that apologising would open the line of communication and help towards resolving the matter rather than living things to fester and turn into something else.

I guess what I am trying to say is that there will be times when you have to put your ego aside in order to do what’s best for your relationship. It is a matter of importance, your relationship or your ego. For me, the decision to apologise became easier when my relationship started to change from what we wanted it to be. I knew something had to be done. As far as I was concerned, the argument was creating little cracks in our relationship. It had only been a few minutes, I wonder what changes hours might have made. I wasn’t prepared to wait and see the holes those cracks might turn into. My relationship was and is way too important to me.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Culture, Relationships

Standards

Speaking to several friends/sisters about marriage, I noticed a common theme; most of them were being advised to lower their standards when it comes to men, in order to find a spouse. For the purpose of this post, ‘lowering standards’ refers to saying ‘Yes’ when you’re not completely happy.

I can understand the pressure to reduce standards when it comes to marriage. Unfortunately for us, especially in this part of the world, there is a scarcity of ‘husband material’. Yes, husband material. There are more women ready for marriage than there are men. Men our age are either not ready to settle because they are not ‘there’ yet or they aren’t finished playing the field. As well as this, the men that are available are not necessarily what we want.  So, when a ‘good enough’ man comes around, our family and friends encourage us to ‘go for it’, even if it means lowering our standards because another ‘good enough’ man might never show up. As well as this, we have the added pressure of our biological clock. As our mothers would say, ‘your clock is ticking’. We are always reminded of our age and how it may affect things in the future such as bearing children. So, ‘do what you want to do quick’. Of course, this advice comes from a good place, for the most part. Marriage is a huge deal in our culture and it is their dream and happiness to see us married.

yin and yang

However, I have to disagree with marriage under these terms; lowered standards. Marriage is many things. It is a beautiful dream but it is also hard work. It can be difficult, frustrating, stressful. There is a huge difference between being married and being happily married. Lowered standards can be that difference sometimes.  When I reflect on conversations I have had with women who are unhappy in their marriage, I realise that they all say the same thing; the signs were there but they chose to ignore them and settle. In marriage, you will have to compromise on some things, the man you marry shouldn’t be one of them. Everybody’s perfect man differs. What is good for me isn’t necessarily what is good for you. Compatibility is very important in marriage. It is so important that you share the same core values, are able to understand each other and help each other through whatever life throws your way. Marriage is difficult enough, you do not want to add more pressure to it by having a spouse that is not on the same page as you.

Before getting married to my husband, I had several conversations with him. These conversations dealt with things we knew we wanted from each other; things we knew we couldn’t compromise on. We spoke about our day to day lives, our goals, our expectations of each other and our understanding of our roles. We spoke about religion, ambitions, children. All these conversations gave me insight into the man he was and whether he suited me. Learning from my past, I made sure that we shared the same core values not excluding humour. Funnily enough, one of the main things we talked about after Islam, was cleanliness. It’s very important to the both of us and so needed to be addressed. From these conversations, we decided that we were compatible with each other. So, although we have disagreements, our ideas on important issues such as raising our daughter is very much the same.

When thinking of whether to settle or not, I’d advise that you have a list of realistic things that you cannot compromise on; things that are absolutely important for you to make your marriage what you want it to be. This will help you to deal with the pressure and keep yourself in check when deciding on a spouse.

Remember it is better to marry ‘late’ than to marry wrong. Be patient. Think of the end goal, your happiness is important.

 

Till next time

-A

 

 

Posted in Motherhood

Labour

“of course it’s hard, why do you think it’s called labour?”- these were the words that my midwife said to me while I was screaming in pain.

My water broke around 6 a.m on a Wednesday morning. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what had happened because it felt more like a really light trickle. I actually thought it was the beginning of a period (pregnancy brain), as it was a little less dramatic than I was expecting. It took me a few minutes to realise that it couldn’t have been my period.  However, I still wasn’t sure what was happening.

I spoke to my husband about it and we laughed at the idea of me being in labour. I soon started to contract. At first, the contractions were very similar to a period cramp. I went back to bed ignoring the pain assuming it was nothing.  However, the pain soon started to intensify. I spoke to my mother-in-law and she insisted we go to the hospital. I was hesitant to go to the hospital at this stage as I didn’t want to go in too early and be told to go back home.

I had my shower and got ready for the hospital. At this stage, I was sure I was contracting. No one had to tell me. The pain was baaaad but it wasn’t consistent. It wasn’t happening often enough to warrant me going to the hospital, I felt. Anyway, I went in and it was confirmed that my waters had broken and I was 1cm dilated. But, just like I thought, I wasn’t just ready to be admitted to the hospital. I had to get to at least 6 cm. I was advised to go home and stay active in order to get my labour going. Regardless of the situation, I was told to come back to the hospital at 11pm that night in order to be induced, as it wasn’t safe for my baby to be out of the waters for over 24 hours. I went back home, my contractions were getting more and more intense but I still wasn’t getting the expected 3 contractions in 10 mins. I felt slightly bipolar, one minute I was grunting in pain, the next minute I was eating fried chicken. I was walking up and down the stairs, trying to stay active. My contractions still weren’t consistent but the pain was starting to become intolerable. I was sure I was getting closer to pushing the baby out.

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I was admitted to the hospital at 11 o’ clock that night. Going in, I naively thought I’d be in and out by midnight. But that was not the case. My midwife checked me and to my dismay, I was still just 1cm dilated. How was that even possible with the intense pain that I was in? I was put on antibiotics for the night and was going to be induced the next morning. I couldn’t sleep due to my contractions. The next morning, I was taking into my labour room. At this stage, I was starting to feel quite anxious; labour was going to be sore. I was checked again and I was now at 2cm. The frustration. Over 24 hours later!!!  I was put on oxytocin to speed up labour. This was when it all went downhill.

Oxytocin sped things up. My contractions became more frequent leaving me with no breathing space between each contraction. The pain had been unbearable for a good while at this stage, but the lack of space between each contraction meant no time for recovery between contractions.  I was doing rollovers on the bed, I wasn’t coping. I was offered gas and air to help with the pain but it only made me feel drunk and silly. I kept trying to tell myself to ‘behave’ but I just couldn’t. My breathing techniques went out the window. I was a mess… and I still hadn’t dilated any further. Things were starting to look bleak. I was in a lot of pain and I still had a long way to go. I didn’t think I could deal with the pain for much longer. I asked my midwife if things had moved any further; it hadn’t. I was tired. I turned to my husband with tears in my eyes and said: “I cannot do this”. He reassured me that I could but I ignored him, faced my midwife and repeated those exact same words “I cannot do this”. I just couldn’t see the other side.

My midwife suggested taking an epidural. I was at 2cm and I still needed to get to 10cm. I insisted that I didn’t want to take it. I had read about several side effects and wasn’t willing to risk it. Moreover, this person and that person managed without it. I should be able to manage without it. I’m strong too. Well, this wasn’t the case and I’m so glad my midwife talked some sense into me. She basically reminded me that there was life after labour and that I needed to be able to take care of my baby. As well as that, if I was in distress, there was a huge chance that I was putting my baby in distress. And I had been contracting for over 30 hours, I was wrecked. Every situation differs.

I accepted the epidural and life was a breeze. Contractions were a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, I was still getting them but I couldn’t feel them. But, I felt guilty. I felt weak. I felt like I wasn’t working for it. I let myself down and my baby down. I shouldn’t have taken the epidural. With all these thoughts going through my head, I chilled and waited until my little girl was ready to make an entrance. She took her time. When she was finally ready, I pushed for 20 minutes and at 21:21 on Thursday night, my baby girl arrived.  It was only after her arrival that I realised what I had just done; I birthed a baby, there was absolutely nothing weak about that.

Till next time

-A