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?

12 comments

  1. I went to read the previous posts I missed...yep, spitting was always part of my pregnancy until 7month or thereby it stops. All my pregnancies had similar symptoms.
    To today's post, body type and lifestyle all determines the choice of clothes. Some women pregnancies protroud while others go around them, nevertheless, comfort is the key word, whatever clothes you are comfortable in and safe for the baby, put it on.
    I always tell my parents and inlaws immediately I get pregnant, others will find out when they see my protruding stomach.
    Congratulations once more.

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    1. Yes. The keyword is comfort. Whether heels or flats, wear what is comfy for you and your body.

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  2. Reading ur posts alwaz encourages. Congrats on ur safe delivery. I still bend. Still do some domestic work dat some would consider not neccessary. But i try to work on not still being a *picky eater*. Mum gives me an earful for that everytime. God dey!!!!!

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    1. Oh, you are pregnant at the moment? Wow. Congrats. You will soon stop bending. You will now start squatting, lol

      I did domestic work till the end, but not sweeping the floor though

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  3. You write so well. Damn. Followed up on previous posts I had missed. It would be so hard to choose between Atiola, the spoken word artist and Atiola, the writer. But you are the same person after all, right? Lol.

    Congratulations to you and your family.

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    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks so much. You don't know how your comment has encouraged me.

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  4. i told my mother the min i took a positive pregnancy test

    LOL...and proceeded to allow her spoil me and send me food, etc

    cant imagine waiting for 4 months to tell her

    I wore my heels all through as well

    Congrats and wellcome to motherhood

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    Replies
    1. Awww, that's so sweet. You and your mum must be buddies on the highest level, lol.

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  5. Two of my babies weighed 4.1 kg. Months after I delivered, I'm still struggling to fit into my pre pregnancy clothes. Zips are still snapping, I trek to burn the fats. I love flat soles, so I rocked them during pregnancy. As for disclosing my pregnancy status, Emm....

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    1. Whaaattttttt???? That's masssiiivvve. Almost 1kg more than my baby, and my baby was big. Kai. I really respect you.

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  6. I totally and absolutely agree with you. Every person should be themselves not the supposed image the society paints for them to be as a result of the situations/circumstances they happen to be in. Abeg jare make no man use panadol for my headache o! Haba!!!

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    Replies
    1. As long as it is safe for you, that's what matters

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