A teacher and entrepreneur, Mrs. Abidemi Irivbogbe, discusses the joys of motherhood with MOTUNRAYO JOEL
What has been the hardest thing about being a mother?
I have been a mother for the past few weeks and I can say that the hardest thing about motherhood is having sleepless nights. My baby is some weeks old and I’ve had sleepless nights.
How was the first few days for you after leaving the hospital?
It was amazing and relieving (smiles). There were a lot of people present at my home to care for myself and my baby. My husband played and is still playing an excellent role as a loving and caring husband and father. He has been extremely supportive, especially when my baby needs attention and I am feeling tired.
Who was present at her birth?
My husband was present at the time of my labour and pre-delivery process. He was, however, asked by the doctors to leave the ward when my baby was about to be born.
Briefly explain your labour experience.
I went to the hospital that day but I did not think I was going to put to bed. I only went for my routine antenatal checks. The doctor then advised that I stayed back to be admitted because they wanted to monitor my baby and I. I guess they observed some things. Later that day, it was decided that I should be induced. I was induced that night and then went into the actual labour before delivery.
Did you prepare for labour and delivery with classes, books and birth videos?
Yes I did. It was my first time and I had to prepare for it. I prepared with a book, Every Woman, and I subscribed to a website dedicated to pregnant and new mothers. They were really helpful. The website provided me weekly updates on how my baby was developing and the kind of changes to expect during her development. This helped me to adjust well to the pregnancy journey on a weekly basis. On my month of delivery, they provided me with birth videos showing what I should expect.
What name did you give your baby?
Her name is Mercy.
What other names did you choose for your baby?
Some of her names are Eseose and Aduratunmise. My husband always wanted a girl as his first child. Surprisingly, he knew it was going to be a girl. My husband gave her the name Mercy even before she was born. He says she is a product of God’s mercy upon our lives.
What is your favourite part of being a mother?
I am yet to discover my favourite part of motherhood. This is my first child and my baby is still young.
What is that thing your daughter does that makes you smile?
It is the way she smiles. She has a very pretty smile. She likes it when my husband sings; she has an ear for music. My husband loves to sing. He is an amazing singer and when he sings for her, she becomes quiet and smiles. I am not a good singer so when he is not around and she starts to cry, I play music for her; it always works.
What would be your advice to a first-time mother?
I have only been a mother for a few weeks. I may not be in the best position to advice mothers. But what I can say is that motherhood cuts across different stages. A mother must be strong and learn to love. Love is all we need in the world. When one loves one’s child, the sleepless nights and tiredness will not matter to one.
What did you like most about pregnancy?
I got the chance to eat what I wanted. My husband made it available one way or the other. It was an amazing experience.
What was your worst experience when you were pregnant?
I did not enjoy the times when I felt tired and slept a lot. During my first trimester, I found myself sleeping more and feeling too tired to work and do house chores. I was constantly encouraged and supported by my husband. He helped me pull through that phase. There were times when he would assist me despite the fact that he had to go to work or had other things to do; that really encouraged me to get up, be strong and do my own part as a wife. I am grateful to him for his support all through that period.
What surprised you most while you were pregnant?
The size of my tummy; I expected to grow fat and for my tummy to grow big, but that did not happen. I still looked as trim as I was before I got pregnant.
What food did you crave for during your pregnancy?
I craved for amala and ewedu. I ate it a lot. The desire for it grew all through my pregnancy. I also enjoyed eating fried yam. It felt good. I could not eat noodles and plantain. Surprisingly, I enjoyed eating it before I got pregnant but I lost appetite for the food after I got pregnant.
Some pregnant women do not like knowing the sex of their expected babies. Did you find out the sex of your baby before delivery?
Yes, because my husband and I were curious. He always wanted a girl as his first child but that does not mean he would have loved the child any less if I had a boy. He is a loving and caring father. We had to confirm the sex of our baby three times through scans to be sure on how to prepare before her arrival. It was a funny but an amazing experience.
Were there any complications during your pregnancy?
There were no complications. I give all the glory to God. Everything went well.
Was your baby delivered on time or overdue?
My baby was on time. I was already 38 weeks when my baby was born. As far as I am concerned, it was a good time.
Were you given any pain reliever during labour?
Yes, they gave me medications to ease the inducement and quicken the birth of my baby.
What surprised you most about labour?
The pains surprised me the most. It was something I have never experienced before. It was quite unbearable. I remember telling my husband, who was there with me that it hurts a lot and that I could not take it any longer. He told me to be strong. He gave me so much support. I can never forget the process and the pain I went through. I am happy it all went well.
How big is your baby?
My baby is on the average size. As I said earlier, the size of my tummy was smaller than I expected. I was not surprised at her birth weight.
Did you hold your baby not long after you were delivered of her?
No, but my husband did. I had to be monitored and given some further treatment while my husband cared for her with the doctors. It was after my treatment that I had the chance to be with her. This was when I held her in my arms. It was an amazing experience and it felt good. It still feels good.
What was the first thing you thought when you first saw her?
I felt love in different ways and I was so grateful to God for my child and for that day. When I held her in my arms, I thought about the journey and the pains before delivery. I then I said to myself that it was worth it. I have been so appreciative to God and my husband for everything. Being a mother to an adorable daughter is great. The feeling and connection with my child is amazing.
Is there anything about your birth experience you would change if you could?
If I could ease the pains, I would. That would be the only thing that I wish I could have changed. When I was induced, it was a different phase all together. The pains were unbearable but I bless God for giving me the grace and the strength to stay strong and be delivered of my beautiful, adorable and lovely daughter.
Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us
— American author and publisher, Sheri L. Dew