Tag Archives: motherhood

Feeling abandoned?

But the people of Jerusalem said, “The Lord has abandoned us! He has forgotten us.”

So the Lord answers, “Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you. Jerusalem, I can never forget you! I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:14-16).

How many times do we think, “The Lord has abandoned me,” when we feel everything in our lives is going downhill? How many times do we find ourselves questioning God’s presence in our lives when we are burdened? I used to think like that too, until I found out that whenever we feel like we’re walking alone, thinking God left us, He’s always there with us, waiting for the right time to come so He can act.

In a previous post I wrote about there being a time for everything. God acts in time. Sometimes we may feel we’re in desperate need of something, and when we pray for it and don’t get it straight away, we feel our heavenly Father has abandoned us. The verse above is a reminder, straight from God’s mouth, “I will never forget you.”

Even in that time of great need we should keep our faith in him, believe that He will come through for us when the time’s right. He gives an example of a woman. In reality there are many women who abandon their children, so in a way someone who has been abandoned by their mother might not be able to relate to this, but a great percentage of women will die for their children.

That’s why majority of us sing in praise of our mothers. They would go through anything, do just about anything, to protect their children. So God asks, “Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore?” He knows we’re only human and are bound to make mistakes at times; but even so, He promises, “Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you.”

A mother’s love is said to be the greatest. But God’s surpasses that. Such is His love. He loves us unconditionally; He loves us at our best, and even when we’re at our worst, afraid He would abandon us because we wronged; He loves us even more at that time. And when one finds themselves going through unmitigated pain, they would ask, “If He loves us that much, why would He allow such agony?”

Imagine if we were always happy, if things always turned out the way we wanted? The way I see it, from my own experiences, I appreciate food when I see it because I’ve been hungry. I empathize with a hungry person on the streets because I know how it feels to be hungry. When I feel happy, I try all I can to hold on to the beautiful feeling because I’ve been trapped in the dark depths of depression. When I wake up without any aches/pain tormenting me, I realize it’s a blessing because I know how it feels to be sick. In short, the bad moments help us appreciate the good moments.

God allows us to go through painful moments because He knows from it we draw our strengths. Before Jesus died on the cross, He asked God, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?” He felt alone and abandoned. But God, in His infinite wisdom knew by dying His Son would achieve so much more. If God knew the pain would be for naught, He wouldn’t let Him go through it.

In the same case, when we suffer, it’s because He knows we will gain something better. If we embrace our pain, and look at it with faith, we will reap so much from it. God is assuring us, “I will never forget you.” We make promises and break them, but when He promises something, He fulfils it. He is a faithful God. When things are not going the way we expect; when our prayers don’t get answered immediately, we should remember those words. “I can never forget you. I have written your name on the palms of my hands. ”

 

Childless

A newly married thirty year old woman hanged herself because other women were taunting her for her inability to conceive. That was the headline of a story I heard on the radio. The story had me wondering why people choose to be so heartless at times. So the woman couldn’t conceive; how was that her fault? Maybe it was her husband who’s sterile. Or maybe God just had decided she wouldn’t have babies for His own sacred reasons.

Sometimes in life women find themselves faced with great obstacles that deny them the chance to ever give life to their own newborns, and in most cases it’s never deliberate. It’s usually a painful experience. Say a woman conceived and later realizes she can’t carry on with the pregnancy for whatever reasons, so she decides to get an abortion. I’ve said it before; I’m anti-abortion, but that doesn’t change the fact that this things happen. In the process, something goes wrong and the unfortunate woman has to undergo a hysterectomy.

How does one suppose that woman would feel when the doctor breaks it to them that they will lose their womb-the one thing that enables us to give life to young ones? A mistake they made drove them to that tragic culmination, and that means they will probably beat themselves up about it for the rest of their lives.

There are many reasons that prevent a woman from conceiving their own children, but one can bet that whatever it is, it hurts when a woman wants a baby and can’t get pregnant. It’s frustrating; it’s painful; it tops the list of women’s worst nightmares.

Last I checked, many women want to become mothers at a certain point in their lives, unless of course they are nuns and that automatically denies them that privilege. I bet that woman felt bad enough she couldn’t give her husband any children without anyone reminding her she couldn’t conceive.

“Do unto others what you would like others to do unto you.” That’s a phrase I learned in high school. We called it ‘the golden rule’. That brings me to the callous women who drove the poor thirty year old to suicide. How would they feel if they were the barren ones or couldn’t conceive and others kept throwing that in their face, ruthlessly? I imagine they would be none too pleased about it.

A great lesson I’ve learned in life is to never wait to experience something so I can understand how it feels. Life’s too short to experience everything; one should learn to feel others’ pain without necessary living through it. That said, we should embrace the gift of empathy. We should learn to walk miles in people’s shoes; then we’d realize if situations were reversed and we were the ones going through that same thing, it would be a heavier cross than we had imagined it to be. Empathy. That’s what we need to embrace; for the sake of humanity. If those women had been empathetic, a life would have been saved. If the thirty year old opted to take her own life because she couldn’t give life, then one sought of gets the impression that the issue really weighed heavily on her.

Instead of mocking her, the said women should have told her there were other options like IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization), surrogacy, adoption, etc… depending on the cause of her childlessness. They might have their own implications but they are options regardless, and the way I see it, they would have been better than her feeling desperate enough to hang herself.

Almost Aborted: Part two

new baby

As I watched the rejection my cousin endured from close family members, the phrase,’ it’s only when you’re in need that you get to know who your close friends are’, made perfect sense. My sisters and I were always treated like outcasts, but now that she was pregnant, she was ostracized from the rest of the family.

While staying with us, she was warm; a side she rarely showed us; but we weren’t fooled by it; we knew it would last only as long as everyone else was against her. We knew she was using us, but we didn’t mind it; we wanted to be there for her. Apparently some relatives found out she was staying at our place, so they would try to get first-hand information from us; nonetheless, we guarded her little ‘secret’. Whoever wanted to know anything about her would have to get it straight from the horse’s mouth; from her.

Mom finally managed to convince her mom it was okay for her to keep her baby; so she went back home. Normally we hardly visit each other, but at that time we broke that unwritten rule. If we didn’t go to her she would come to us. The palpable forlorn look she had been wearing that entire time was replaced by a cheerful one. Her mom hadn’t reconciled herself with the fact that she was going to be a grandma; nevertheless, she was slowly starting to get used to the painful idea.

Eventually, my cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. At three days old, she was the first new born I had ever laid my eyes on. I didn’t know how to hold her, because I was afraid her fragile neck would snap; but I got the hang of it. When some of our cousins made snide remarks in her presence, we stood up for her. Just like us, she had no prior knowledge on how to handle babies, so we imagined the frustration and pain she must have been feeling.

The first few days after my niece’s birth, my cousin seemed distressed; her eyes were ever red and swollen; we imagined she had been overwhelmed by the whole issue; she had to wake up in the middle of the night when the baby started crying… It was hard for her.

Every last Friday of the month, I accompanied her to the clinic for her post-natal check-up. I watched as the little baby girl grew from kg to kg. It was an honour for me. The feeling was amplified by the fact that she would cry when other people held her, but when I took her in my arms she would stop. Her grandma was shocked when one time she started crying, but when I took her, she stopped and started smiling instead, staring at me with her big beautiful eyes.

Slowly, we started drifting apart. Our routine visits stopped completely. But that was after the other family members saw the baby and fell in love with her. No one scorned my cousin again; apparently they all loved the baby.

During my niece’s first birthday, everyone was invited to the party, except my sisters and me of course. My cousin had gone back to her old snobbish ways; but honestly we didn’t mind it. We had known that would happen sooner or later. Her mom called my big sister to ask if we were going, but she told her our cousin hadn’t invited us.

My aunt asked my cousin about it but she told her she’d only invited the people close to her; the same people who shunned her when she needed them. We just laughed it off, genuinely unoffended. That’s the treatment we’ve always been given since forever by her and the rest of our snobbish cousins; we gradually grew indifferent to it.

This past Easter, my niece turned four. She’s a spitting image of her mom, although when I looked at her a few months ago I thought she had a striking resemblance to her uncle-my cousin’s brother. My cousin is the only one with a baby so far; our other cousins, my sisters and I are yet to walk down that road. So now that my niece is the only baby in the family, everyone dotes on her. Recently, during a get-together which my sisters and I skipped, the ‘senior’ family members were asking the rest of our cousins to follow my cousin’s example and get their own children.

Honestly I found it ironic; when she got pregnant, the same people thought she had made the gravest of mistakes, now they hold her on a pedestal, for everyone to emulate.

My niece is clearly adored by everyone, and I wonder how she would feel if later she finds out-God forbid-that many wanted her aborted. It was easy for people to write her off when she was only taking form in her mother’s womb, but now she’s here with us, the same people shower her with affection unreservedly.  Her grandmother for instance, she was on the forefront, championing for her to be aborted, but now when they’re together, I get the feeling she loves her more than everyone else; a complete change of heart.

“Auntie,” my niece called me when I was seeing her and my aunt off one Saturday evening a few weeks ago; they had visited “I want those.”

“What?” I asked her.

“Those,” she hinted at the jeweled gladiator sandals I was in with her eyes.

I smiled. “But they’re too big.”

“I want them in my size.” She replied confidently. I hadn’t seen that coming. Her innocent request had me laughing loudly, impressed by her witty reply. So now I owe her a pair of shoes. It’s impossible to not love her; it’s hard to imagine she was almost aborted. Nonetheless, given the strained relationship we have with her family, I doubt we will be seeing much of her in the future, God willing.

 

Almost Aborted

pregnant

When one of my cousins was twenty years old, she got pregnant. She wasn’t married at the time and she hadn’t introduced any particular guy to her family, so it came as a shock to everyone. Her mom was the one who was most affected; her daughter’s situation would subject her to people’s ridicule. She wasn’t prepared to go through all that; so she asked her to get an abortion.

My cousin was distraught; she was not prepared to have her baby aborted. She refused. When the row was going on, one of our cousins, who she was closest to, found out and started telling everyone. She turned her back against her too, disregarding the tight relationship they had before the ‘tiny one’ came into the picture. Before long, everyone in the family knew my cousin was pregnant. It was a difficult time for her; everyone turned against her. They felt she had committed a grave mistake. Some relatives rejoiced; not for good reasons though, but because the girl everyone considered holy had been knocked up by someone no one in the family had been formally introduced to.

Naturally, my sisters and I aren’t so close to her because she-like the rest of the family-always snubs us; we don’t fit in her social circle; I don’t find that an issue anymore-it’s just ludicrous (I fail to comprehend how people could put so much importance on material possessions). After everyone got wind of her undesirable situation, she was alienated, without a single person she could count on. Even the cousins she ganged up with to make our lives impossible ditched her. If they weren’t dissing her, speculating who her baby daddy was and all, they were celebrating her ‘misfortune’. She was all alone.

The situation felt especially difficult for her because she was a girl with a quiet demeanor, while her mom’s the kind of woman who criticizes others easily. My aunt feared people would unleash their wrath upon her, serving her a dose of her own medicine. She was disturbed. Before it became public knowledge, she had talked to mom about her predicament; she had a solution to obliterate the tragedy, but her daughter was too unwavering to comply. She asked mom to convince my cousin to terminate the pregnancy.

Mom wanted to help, but the idea of an abortion didn’t sit well with her. Instead she had a talk with my cousin, asking her what she wanted. She wanted to keep her baby. Subsequently, mom tried convincing my aunt an abortion wasn’t the solution; my cousin wasn’t willing to go through with it.

That infuriated my aunt. How would she face people? The same people she had always been too quick to judge? Eventually, she kicked my cousin out. We live in the same estate, only in different courts, and luckily mom had gone to see how they were holding up when she was thrown out. We took her in. Funny thing is, we were among the first people to hear it because when my aunt found out she told mom about it, reeling with shock, but we never breathed a word of it; it wasn’t our place to tell; plus we’ve been in that situation-having people make us subject of their scuttlebutt with reckless abandon-too many times to want to inflict the same pain on anyone. I also believe in the golden rule; treating people the way I’d like others to treat me…

When she came home, it was around Christmas. After the fight with her mom, her eyes were red; she had been crying. All we wanted was to make her settle in; no one questioned her about it. She would tell us if she deemed it fit. For the period she stayed with us, none of us brought the issue up, and apparently she didn’t see it right to let us in on it.

We were ignoring a gargantuan elephant in the house; sometimes surprised, we’d be tempted to innocently point out her feet were swollen as it was too obvious or that her face was glowing but then we’d bite our tongues real quick; she hadn’t told us she had a bun in the oven and we didn’t want to offend her. She had too much on her plate; if our willful ‘ignorance’ afforded her some false impression of privacy, we would give her just that.

At some point we wanted to suggest we take her shopping so she could buy some cute dresses because she was always in jeans and over-sized shirts, but we couldn’t. We had do act dumb. It was difficult, but for her peace of mind we refrained from saying or doing anything which would allude to the ‘little’ elephant we were all trying to ignore. I doubt I ever told her, but the thought that she refused to abort even when the whole world seemed to be against her made me admire her greatly.

HOW FAST BABIES GROW…

baby boy 1

I’ve found a new admiration for babies. A few months ago, a friend visited with her baby. The last time I’d seen them, her adorable son was still learning how to walk; he had just realized the joy of standing on his own two feet as opposed to crawling. He had grown up so fast.

When they had visited previously, he couldn’t stay in a room if his mom wasn’t in it; he was always looking around to see if he could spot his mom anywhere; if he did he would go on with his business, playing without the slightest care in the world; however, if he didn’t, he would become tremendously restless, and would start wailing uncontrollably.

At one time during their previous short visit, his mom left him in our –me and my sisters’- care as she went out on a date with a guy she’d met recently. when she left her seventeen months old baby boy was deep in slumber, so he remained oblivious to his mom’s absence; I watched admirably as he lay on the bed peacefully, away in a land of his own… I wonder if babies dream…

It was all rainbows and unicorns, until he suddenly woke up from his short nap, wailing, calling out, “Mama, mama…”

I panicked; his mom had already left. I didn’t know what to do. I had hoped he would sleep, atleast until she got back… well, shock on me.

I remembered what my big sis always tells me; to always take a moment to breathe in deep; take a long  inhale, then exhale slowly… to calm down, when I find myself in a panicky situation, like the one I was in at the moment. I did just that. When I was certain I was feeling collected, I picked him up. Funny thing I noticed with babies is that they could cry for long and only shed countable tear drops. He cried, cried, then paused; I thought he was all cried out…and when I was about to start thanking my lucky stars that he had finally realized his mom wasn’t showing up, he started crying again, this time louder than before.

Apparently he had just paused to revitalize his healthy lungs… I tried everything from feeding him milk, to rubbing his back gently, hoping it would calm him down; but it was all for naught.

Then luckily, his eyelids started closing; he was falling asleep. I started feeling relieved. “Thank God,” I sighed. His eyes finally closed. After a while I put him down on the bed, but as I pulled my arm from underneath him, he woke up, crying…

My sisters came to my rescue, but nothing we did could calm him down; he was just asking for a teensy weensy thing- his mom. “Is that too much to ask?” I could almost hear his distressed thoughts amid that noisy wail… I pitied him…

When we had run out of baby soothing options, we resulted to ‘mommy 911’. I rang his mom… telling her to come back soonest she could, because her baby wouldn’t stop crying. She, obviously, was none too pleased about it-we had cut her date short- but we had given it our best shot, all to no avail.

An hour later the baby was still crying, and his mom was nowhere in sight. It was frustrating.

When she showed up later, I couldn’t believe the instant change when his mom picked him up… the baby, who had cried for a duration possibly longer than all my crying moments summed up, stopped crying and a wide grin plastered across his face, as contentedly he called, “Mama…”

It was undoubtedly a happy reunion; for him atleast. His mom took him on her laps and she nursed him. He even looked playful as he suckled. I could not comprehend how it had all happened. He was happy, had I not witnessed it happening, I would have thought all the wailing had just been a bad dream.

That’s the memory I had of him, until they visited again a week after valentine’s this year. He was all grown up. At thirty months old he was walking on his own two feet… running even… The idea of moving from place to place like ‘flash’-think crawling- enthralled him. He was all over the place… turning anything he could lift into a play thing; if it was big but movable, like the foot stools, he would roll them on the floor like a tyre.

He wasn’t suckling anymore, so it didn’t bug him if he wasn’t in the same room as his mom. After lunch we moved from the dining to the living room, where we did our nails as we relived our valentine’s day. He came where I was, asking me to do his nails too. I thought it was fun, so I painted his finger nails in baby blue nail lacquer.

Evidently he loved it, because right after, he placed his legs on my laps so I could paint his toe nails too. I did. He then went and squeezed on the couch my big sis was sitted on. They were a lovely pair; I took pictures of them making faces, sticking their tongues out…

At one time I accidentally left the door open and he ran out… I had trouble catching him as he was too fast for me. If he saw me drawing close to him, he would will his tiny legs would propel him further away. I just waited for him to surrender, when he was out of breath from all the running.

If you ask me, he had really grown up fast; later that day, at sundown, I realized we’d run fresh out of milk, so I went to the shop to get some more. He stood there at the door and shouted, “I love you”… I grinned all the way to the shop and back.

He said it again when I got back… I was awed. “You really are teaching him well, “I smiled at his mom, who was loving how fascinated we were by her son. I know in her heart she felt proud. I would have been proud too, had that been my son.

That night, I was the one who went to bed last, as usual… I went to check if they were comfortable.  His mom was sound asleep, but he was just sitted on the bed, wide awake… I didn’t know how to get him to sleep without waking his mom up; but then I got a brilliant idea; if I switched the lights off he would slip under the covers on reflex, afraid of the dark… I went on to carry out my plan, which I soon realized was so half baked…

I had expected to see him make some rapid movement triggered by fear but shock on me; he was left seating on the bed, unperturbed. He didn’t squeal; he didn’t flinch. It’s as if he couldn’t tell light from dark.

Even when he saw my silhouette in the dark, he didn’t move a muscle…

Then it hit me, normally our fears are conceived in our minds: we relate them to some experience in our lives or just some horrifying movie we watched. He was only thirty months old, so basically he hadn’t been exposed to scary stuff.

I admired him; he wasn’t afraid of the dark… when I was small I watched horrifying movies that worked my imagination everytime I went to bed. Then I realized, what we watch impacts our lives tremendously… we are what we watch after all.

The thing he’s so afraid of- I noticed- is being spanked by his mom when he errs… other than that, everything is just bliss…

THERE IS NO ONE LIKE A MOTHER

mom's loveToday on the news, they featured a story about a woman who killed her four children before taking her own life subsequently; she plunged into a nearby river and never surfaced… in case you’re wondering, that was the route she decided to take after a spat with her husband. I don’t know that woman; I don’t know how she looks like because they neither showed pictures of her nor her family, but I felt betrayed; frightfully betrayed. How could she? She was supposed to protect her children, even if it meant with her own life… but no, she did the complete opposite. She brought her four kids into this world, and it was painful I know, because even though I don’t have kids of my own yet, I’ve watched movie clips of heavily pregnant women from when they go into labour, the painful as hell contractions, the pushing phase that leads to the baby’s crowning and eventually that mighty push that propels the tiny infants into this cold world, which initially feels alien as they had only known the warmth of their mom’s womb. However, not all women give birth through the natural way, as others undergo the caesarian section, an operation where an incision is made in the woman’s body and the baby (ies) is taken out. There’s nothing easy about child birth; it’s not a walk in the park; some unfortunate mothers die while giving birth or shortly after.

As I mentioned earlier, I have no kids of my own yet, so pardon me if I seem somewhat oblivious to the actual process of child delivery. What I’m so cognizant of is that behind those delivery room doors, so much transpires; most of it painful. Nonetheless, there are those mothers who don’t have their blood running through their children’s veins, but that is of no essence really; a mother is a mother regardless. It doesn’t matter how they earned that title.

I have a profound admiration for mothers, an admiration which nothing else can measure up to. If I had a plane I would fly out there and write on the azure sky, “Hail all moms”, for all and sundry to see. Writing a few words, which would be blown away by the wind the instant they’re written wouldn’t really be enough to show an appreciation to every woman who’s brought a life into this world or nurtures it, but it’s only an idea I toy with everytime and seeing as I have absolutely no knowledge on how to fly a plane, I would subject myself to intense training just so I can pull off that little gesture.

Women bring babies into the world, but that doesn’t give them the ticket to play God; taking the lives of their young ones. It is not their place to call those shots… what’s the point of enduring long hours, some days of intense labour if a mother will still be the one who terminates her children’s lives?

In a similar incident, about a fortnight away, there was a woman who locked herself and her kids up in the house, then set it ablaze. They all perished in the fire. Distraught neighbours who had witnessed the scenario said the woman had complained that she couldn’t take care of her kids as she didn’t have the means- she had no job… so she resulted to slaying her innocent babies? My gut churns at the thought.

In both incidences, they didn’t explain what drove the two women to such heinous acts. Personally, I wouldn’t want to judge them too harshly, so I’ll presume to judge they were suffering from some psychiatric condition. I simply fail to comprehend how a mother can do that…  I don’t want to come off as self-righteous, but if there’s something I’ve learned from my own mother is that a woman’s first priority are her children. Only my sisters and I know the hell my mom has braved for us to be where we’re today. She hasn’t had it easy, but she didn’t do away with us; that’s why I’m still here to tell it as I see it.

When I was in my late teens, I thought my mom was my greatest enemy; she didn’t seem to understand a thing I said or did… she was always there breathing down my neck. The praises I received from her were overshadowed by her criticism… I cried, locked myself up in my room for days, only making trips to the bathroom, kitchen for food… then back to my fortress of solitude. We spoke rarely, and when we did it was anything but amicable … with voices raised, emotions hitting fever pitch… honestly I don’t miss those days. I remember contemplating to run away; move in with my first love- childhood sweetheart. Now I laugh deliriously at such juvenile thoughts.

From my mom’s experiences I’ve learnt a crucial lesson; that motherhood is the hardest job in the world. Kids don’t make it any easier, and neither do the husbands (most of them). Motherhood is all about endurance. It earns a woman more enemies than friends- as she seeks to shield her children from the callous world- and no certificates for a job magnificently done.  A mother feels her children’s pain … She risks having them hate her just so they can end up upright – behavioural wise. I don’t remember my dad ever laying a hand on me, save for this one instance; I was sixteen at the time and even though I don’t remember what I said exactly that triggered him to hit me, I still remember the slap so vividly, maybe because it was his first and last-so far. He hit me so hard that my head jerked and the stud I had on that was fastened tightly with a stopper behind my ear lobe fell off. Fully aware of the person I am, I know that whatever I told him wasn’t really an affront, but it was some truth that he couldn’t stomach.

Notwithstanding, I can’t say the same about my mom. She has slapped me so many times I lost count, she’s used slippers on me, she’s scathed my soul with words during heated altercations, she’s inflicted blisters on me in the name of disciplinary measures and it‘s one of these experiences that made me realize I wanted to be a writer; re-counting an ordeal I went through- thanks to her- when I was nine earned me my teacher’s admiration and the highest grade in that class.

I’m older now, and relatively prudent I guess; it’s been almost a decade since my mom last laid her hand on me. That means I’m either doing things right or she gave up on me… but it’s the former I know, as she compliments me more than she scolds me.

Enshrouded in anger, in my fledgling mind, I thought she reprimanded me because she hated me, but now I look back, and I realize that no earthly soul could love me as much as my mother does. No one could understand me as she does. She let me make my own mistakes, and has always been there to guide me. She’s my greatest inspiration, my mentor. When I get my kids, if I can be to them the mother my mom has been to me, I know I’ll have made it. I will have reason to celebrate.

I love my mom; she’s the greatest woman I know!