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Don't Call me Mama (7) - I solved the Mystery behind women eating their unborn children

“There’s a problem with your result.” The doctor said to my husband and me as he took an intense look at my medical report.

I was getting ready to leave the country to continue my pregnancy journey, and I had to take all necessary tests along with me even though the new doctor I was using said they would still take their own tests. I decided to take tests in Nigeria, so I would be armed and equipped with all my medical records.

“What could be the problem?” I thought. At least, I was sure I wasn’t HIV positive. I had read that much from the medical report.

“You said this is your first baby. Right?” The doctor continued.

“Yes sir.”

“And you have never been pregnant before.”

“Yes sir.” I said emphatically. “Even this pregnancy sef ehn, I was dashed by force.” I thought.

I think what I was hearing was, “If you have been pregnant before, now is the time to confess.”

“Your test says you are rhesus negative.”

"Okay, what is the implication of that?" I thought to myself'. I was silently wondering where this was leading.

Don't Call me Mama (6) - Nigerian Parent - American Baby! Why the Trend?

For me, the decision to have a baby within or outside Nigeria was determined by many factors, and the prestige of having an American citizen as a child had nothing to do with it. I would be taking one after the other.

Cost: This was one of the major factors of the decision. Over and over again, I would count the cost of travelling out, hospital visit, transportation, flight, etc., and I would ask myself if it was worth it. It was damn costly. I considered the pros and cons. What made my mind settled about all of these was that I considered the whole venture as an investment, rather than an expense. Let’s face it, as for now, a blue passport gets people so many opportunities than a green passport does, from education to business, etc. So I closed my eyes, spent the money, knowing I would drink gari for some time. I could have bought a plot of land, scratch that, three plots of land in Epe side, or brand new car, but I decided that this is a good thing to sacrifice for my child. The only way I could cushion the effect on my pocket was by cutting cost where I could. I found affordable hospitals, stayed with family, etc. All in all, I spent about $11,000.00. It’s still paining me till now, but it’s all good. At least, I didn’t borrow a dime, and I can boast that I owe no hospital or any American organization money, so I’m grateful.

Education: I was more convinced that I was doing the right thing for my child when ASUU went on strike in August. I was like “when will this ever end?” The same strike they’ve been striking since my Uni days? Just to drive it home, I finished secondary school 17 years ago. And they are still striking now? Are these the schools I would consider sending my child? Or will I have a child in this country and then spend tens of thousands of dollars sending my children to school abroad in future? Hell no. I would rather sacrifice now, and rest later than rest now and sacrifice later.

Don't Call me Mama (5) - What's Gender got to do with it?

Right from my single days, I always knew I never wanted to know the gender of the foetus in my womb when I eventually got pregnant. I always fantasised about when I have a baby, and the doctor would say “Congratulations, it is a boy” or “Congratulations, it is a girl” and the look on my face would be that of genuine surprise and excitement about the reveal.

I communicated this to my husband when we were courting, and also after we found out about the pregnancy, and he was very cool with it. At least, I thought so.

Early in the pregnancy, I sensed that my husband wanted a girl subconsciously, even though he was not aware of it. He was always looking at cute toddler girls’ video in IG, you know those ones who play pranks on adults and also have sharp mouth, lol. Later, I started thinking, hmm, a girl would not be a bad idea, even though I really had no preference.

When I went for my first ultrasound, it was too early to tell the gender, and that was when we found out about the fibroid.

By the time I went for the second ultrasound, I was on admission at a different hospital, suffering from the red degeneration of fibroid. Immediately my husband and I entered and I lay on the bed, I told the man conducting the ultrasound that I didn’t want to know the gender so he should keep the news to himself.

During the third ultrasound, my husband wasn’t in the room. The guy started his thing, and the next thing I heard was

Don't Call me Mama (4) - Casting off the cloak Society places on pregnant women

How long does one keep the news of a pregnancy secret before telling it to close friends and family?

Well, I don’t know. I’m not even sure there’s a standard time, though I hear people say you can tell family after three months, i.e. the first trimester. I got pregnant in January, but found out about it in the second week of February. We decided we would tell our mothers in April. I chose that time, not because it was anything special, but because I would need to start making travel arrangements, which would require me informing my aunt, who I was considering as a possible host. Of course, I would never tell my aunt without telling my mum first. That was the major determining factor for me.

The funniest thing was that our mothers already knew I was pregnant before we told them, lol. How did they know?

My mother-in-law said she dreamt about it, and her dreams are always real. That woman is gangster. She also dreamt about the gender of my child, and she was accurate. On the day I had my baby, she told my husband I was going to have my baby that day because she had seen it, lol. Again, she was right.

As for my mother, she started suspecting I was pregnant after she called me on two occasions and I told her I wasn’t feeling fine. I, Atilola Moronfolu, am always feeling fine. Even when my body wants to give up on me, I talk sense into it, and tell it to get back to work, lol. So for me to have succumbed to the point that she could hear weakness in my voice, she put two and two together.

Our mothers were very happy, as expected of African parents, that their children didn’t have to ‘wait’, and that they would be having their first grandchild, on both sides.

Those were the only people I officially told. Every other person found out when they saw bulging stomach, which I successfully concealed for five months before giving up and crying to my husband that I have no more clothes to hide my stomach.

People were generally happy for us. Only one person openly voiced out the swiftness in which I got pregnant.

Like many other situations, such as marriage, society tries to define how you should be when you are pregnant. And for many of their expectations of me, I defied them.

I refused to buy or wear maternity clothes because I don’t like them. I had just one maternity top, which my sister bought for me. Apart from that, I continued to wear my regular clothes till the very day my baby dropped out of me. It wasn’t a struggle for me because thankfully, I didn’t put on weight and my tops were enough for my bulging stomach. I must say I am a very bad prospect for maternity businesses.

Secondly, I continued to wear my high heels. In fact, I wore heels till I left Nigeria at 34 weeks. It was a matter of if you don’t like it, carry your eyes elsewhere, lol. Anyone who knows me knows my heels are not the low type. I mean, if we call something high heels, then they should be high. Right?
I just refused to fit into the stereotype of the pregnant woman look. The one with swollen face, swollen feet, fat laps in her flat slippers or shoes, arms supporting her waist, with stomach protruding out of a very ugly maternity gown. Please, that wasn’t me, and I wasn’t going to let society put me in that mould with their constant side comments. I wanted to be the perfect stylish preggo, and that was what I was.

On two occasions, I was face to face with this issue

After church, someone sent my husband a message reading “Your wife is pregnant. Right?” to which he answered in the affirmative. The next thing the sender sent was “but her legs don’t look pregnant.” Translation: You need to tell your wife to stop wearing heels. Even if your wife doesn’t know better, you should know better.

On another occasion, during my last bout with Red degeneration of fibroid, which got aggravated when I was in church, before we left for the hospital, a doctor tried to attend to me in church. She was only able to give me painkillers. She told me to make sure I hide my heels from the doctors when I get to the hospital so they won’t wrongfully diagnose my condition by looking at me and sending me back home because I was on heels. She said even though she knows the heels had nothing to do with my issue, some doctors would want to find the easiest thing to blame my pain on instead of carrying out a thorough check. Thankfully, I always have a pair of slippers in the car, so ‘hiding my heels’ was not a problem at all.

As regards wearing heels while pregnant, the jury is still out on that. I know it has a lot to do with posture and the change in centre of gravity as the body changes. I’ve never been one to wear flat shoes, so flat shoes might have even been more uncomfortable for me. If you ask for my advice, I would say do what is best for you, your body and your health.

And now that the baby is here and growing, many people expect that one will drop all these ‘Sisi’ ways, and get into the motherhood role. Things like your dressing, hairstyle options, and even tiny stature should change. I don’t buy all that crap. As long as one is a responsible person and mother, carrying oneself and living a life that one’s children won’t be ashamed of, that’s all that matters. If you like, keep wearing your skinny jeans, dye your hair purple and shave it by the sides, it’s your life.

As for me, I know I have the choice to write my own story the way I want it to be read, and that is exactly what I would do.

Please, let us know your opinion on this post in the comment session. What do rules do you think a pregnant woman should or should not adhere to?

Don't Call me Mama (3) - Six Things No One told me about Pregnancy

The pregnancy journey is indeed an interesting one. It is like a trip you take, and you encounter many strangers, both pleasant and unpleasant, along the way. The thing is whether you like it or not, you will have experiences that will be very surprising to you, and most of them, you will be shocking  because no one prepared you for the journey. Without more talking, here are some things I definitely wasn't prepared for when I found out I was pregnant.

That I will be a nine-month spitting machine

I started spitting some weeks after pregnancy. It started like a joke, till I had to start carrying a stainless cup everywhere I went. I tried everything under the planet. I tried bitter kola, ginger, ice cubes, minty sweets and gum, crackers, everything. Nothing worked. It just got worse. They said it would stop when I was like 5 or 6 months gone. It never did. Even when I had my baby, I kept spitting for about the next 6 hours. And just like that, there was no urge to spit.

The condition is called ptyalism, and it sometimes put me in some embarrassing situations. I remember going for a meeting, and I underestimated the length of the meeting so I didn’t have enough sweets with me. I was down to my last butter mint sweet, and the meeting wasn’t even half way. I told my pastor, mehn I’m in trouble. We asked the man we were meeting with for sweet. I basically said excuse me sir, there’s an emergency “I need sweet right now.” He was confused, but had to get me sweets from one of his subordinates, after which we explained my condition. After that day, I switched from using minty sweets in meeting to using strong minty gums. I used to sleep with tom tom in my mouth at night, in order not to spit on my husband’s chest where I had to lay my head on because of pain emanating from my left ribs. Later the tom tom stopped working, so I switched to minty gums, but they made my mouth feel somehow in the morning. We basically settled to laying tissue paper on part of his chest so that when I moved from unconsciousness to sub-consciousness, and the spits starts dripping out, the tissue will prevent his chest from taking the hit of my condition. The guy basically sacrificed his chest for me for months. He is the real MVP, lol.

That everyone’s journey is different

When I got pregnant, my eyes made the mistake of seeing Ciara dancing with her big baby bump, and moving mountains, while I could hardly lift my hands, even though my stomach was as flat as a drawing board.

Don't call me Mama (2) - The time I felt like ripping my baby apart

My first trimester was a very rough and challenging one. I became someone I didn't recognize.

I found out that I was pregnant on February 9. The first wave of weakness hit me on February 14 when I went to my parents’ house to pack some items from my old office room. Things I would normally lift sent me to a realm of tiredness I couldn't come out of hours later. The sweet and sour Chinese sauce my husband ordered to celebrate valentines didn't go down well in my mouth and stomach.

It was like a downward descent from that day. Morning sickness hit me like Anthony Joshua’s punches. I could hardly climb the stairs without almost passing out. Sometimes climbing the stairs to the fourth floor rendered me immobile for 3 hours. My tiredness and weakness made me very unproductive. And the unproductiveness sent me into depression because I was... well, unproductive. I felt I was producing nothing and had nothing to show for my existence on earth. During this period, I resented the whole pregnancy thing, and almost felt like slashing my stomach open and ripping out the baby.

Spices irritated me. Cooking my breakfast for was left to my husband. I threw up a lot in the mornings. I threw up till my eyes bulged out, veins showed on my temples, and specks of blood came out sometimes.

I was so convinced that my tiredness was peculiar to me. Surely, pregnant women can't be feeling this way. I see them all around going strong with their business and other affairs. I was a novice, my husband was a novice so I pressured him to call doctors and find a solution to my problem immediately because I just couldn't continue life this way.

Don't call me Mama (1) - Lust visited, and the visitor got lost

I started my period at the age of 11, and never for once since then had I missed my period. They were as regular as a tax calendar. So imagine my shock when 6 weeks after marriage, the period got lost, considering the fact that we were not planning to have a child immediately. I felt we had been careful, counting the cycle. What a joke!

I told my husband about the lost period and told him I was suspecting pregnancy because I had never missed a period. He kind of laughed it off, saying "it's like you are eager to get pregnant." I felt like punching him. After another 2 days, when the ‘lost’ wasn't found, I told him again, and then we brought out the pregnancy kit

I had bought two pregnancy test strips at pound land last year October. Even though I wasn't married, my wedding was around the corner, and I figured that at least 9 months from then, we should be trying for a baby. I felt it was a good idea to save money by buying the strips for 1 pound each and keeping them for a year than coming to Nigeria to buy them at an exorbitant price in Nigeria

So I used the strip, and it gave a negative result. I was a bit relieved but still confused. “If I'm not pregnant, where exactly is my lost period?” We had been suspecting that maybe it was the antibiotics I used 3 weeks earlier that messed my cycle up, but mehn, I've used antibiotics before and nothing bad happened.

A week later, still nothing. I confided in my friend, and we decided that I should use the second strip which I had been miserly with. I used it.

It wasn't negative

It wasn't positive

It was invalid!

Kai. Wahala. There goes my last strip… So much for saving money from pound land.

The next morning, I had a big fight with the husband. In annoyance, I made an unplanned trip to a diagnostics centre. Blood was pulled and what I suspected all along

It was positive!

Don’t call me Mama... My name still remains Atilola

Hey my people. How's everyone doing?  I have a little something for you all. Be sure to read to the end, I promise, it will be worth your while. I gave birth to something and this time it breathes

If you have followed this blog for a while, you will know that I like delivering new projects from time to time. And for most of those projects, I always announce it on the blog when they are ready, mostly because you don’t know where support can come from.

I have delivered many things on this blog, from books to events and concerts, programs, etc. but never in all these times has any of those projects breathed life.

It is my great pleasure to announce to you that for the first time ever, I delivered something, and it's breathing, lol.

My baby is 15 days old today.