The movies tell a half-truth. Baby is finally out. You are wheeled to your room after delivery where your family awaits with eagerness. You can tell by their wide smiles and the somewhat awkward way they hug you as if being cautious not to break any bones in your already tired body. You hold your baby in the crook of your arm and then look up at your husband. This ‘ little human’ was born out of love. A part of you and your husband God painstakingly mixed together. A process I believe is a akin to baking a mouth-watering cake.
Some pictures may be taken during this moment. You are dog-tired and can hardly keep your eyes open but you want to revel in the moment. In the next scene, your baby has magically grown and is running around on wobbly legs wearing nothing but diapers. This is the truth you are allowed to see. Now, let me try to give an insight of what happens in between. In the early months, you hardly sleep and you have bags under your bloodshot eyes. You gain weight in areas you would have wished the fat didn’t know existed. Your mother and doting grandmother are a contributory factor to the formation of this extra fat – they overdid the ‘fante kenkey soakings’ and groundnuts. Your clothes are a wee bit too snug. You suddenly get ‘wild’ moodswings and take it out on those closest to you; Husbands aren’t spared.
Your hair resembles a bird’s nest and you constantly miss your appointment with your hairdresser. You come to realise 24 hours comes and goes in a flash. Your baby cries for no apparent reason. You have fed, changed the diaper, rocked and paced like a soldier with your baby on your shoulder. You are at a loss as to what to do. Later on, you will learn your baby gets gripes during the first two months.
Your will also learn to expel air by rubbing the back in a circular motion after feeding. You become a ‘poo detective; Matching the colour of the soiled diaper to that of the ‘poo’ chart. You may also stay up all night listening to your baby’s breathing with rapt attention. You have read too many scary stories on the internet .Your relationship with your partner might be strained. If you were me, you will push your husband away. Everything is his fault- even that little headache you got today. Your sex life could be better too. Reason being the tiredness you feel due to sleep deprivation and your seemingly failing attempt at pulling off your super-mom role. The good news is in a few months you develop a temporary amnesia. You will begin to ‘really’ enjoy motherhood. You pat yourself on the back every time your baby hits a milestone- two pats when a milestone is reached earlier. Your insides get warm and you smile from ear to ear whenever your baby holds out the hands to you for assistance. Your little one’s actions constantly tug at your heartstrings. And when ‘MA-MA’ is said for the first time, get a box of tissues. The cocktail of emotions is overwhelming. You must be doing something right at least. Your baby is healthy and is growing beautifully each day. The secret to enjoying motherhood is to wake up each morning, give yourself a pep talk and remember to breathe. As my good friend always used to say “One day at a time Naa. Small small.”
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