Motherhood Gets So Overwhelming, It Becomes Your Identity

source: zikoko
18

The subject of this week’s What She Said is Karo Omu, a 29-year-old Nigerian woman and mother. She talks about almost having a miscarriage when she was five weeks pregnant, liking her daughter and the importance of giving women enough information about reproductive health. Did you always know you wanted to have a child? Yeah, but I don’t think I did consciously. I think when you’re a young girl, it’s normal to think that you would go on to start a family. I always thought I wanted many children, but I didn’t think about how I’d end up having them. I am from a big and close-knit family, so I wanted a big family too. What was growing up like? I have four sisters and a brother. My brother is the last child, so maybe my mum favoured him a little, but my dad was really big on his daughters. In our house, being a girl or a boy wasn’t that different. My mum had nine siblings; eight girls and one boy. Her mum really wanted a boy, and I think my mum was conscious of this — having a boy. My dad on the other hand came from a family with many girls and boys and was more progressive, so he didn’t seem to care. So what was your pregnancy experience like? I think before our generation, pregnancy seemed like a normal thing: you’d get pregnant and have a child. Nobody spent time speaking about the journey; instead, they talked about the labour. I found out really early about my pregnancy — in about the 2nd or 3rd week. I had two near miscarriages. I took a trip when I was five weeks pregnant, and on the flight, I noticed I was bleeding. I didn’t know flying wasn’t good for someone who was newly pregnant. As soon as I landed, I was taken to the airport clinic. I remember someone saying, “She’s in her first trimester, this happens all the time. It’s just tissue. If it’ll stay, it’ll stay.” I was like, what the hell is happening? I went back home in Nigeria and had a similar experience. I went to the hospital and the doctor did a test and told me that my body didn’t recognise I was pregnant, so it wasn’t producing hormones to take care of the baby growing inside me. I had to start taking hormone injections; I had never heard anybody speak about this. I couldn’t fly till I was past my first trimester. The rest of my pregnancy was uneventful. But because of the anxiety I developed in my first trimester, I was always worried; I would wake up every day to see if my baby was moving. It got so crazy, I bought a heart monitor to listen to her heartbeat. That was something I wasn’t prepared for. When we talk about how people don’t talk about pregnancy, it’s mostly because everybody’s experience is so different that there’s almost nothing to go by. Fair enough. Yeah. I didn’t have a physically tough pregnancy, but it was mentally tough for me as I was in a different city by myself, with only my husband. It was really lonely not having my extended family around. My baby was overdue for over two weeks, and my mum was like, this has never happened in our family, it’s crazy. My pregnancy journey was long, enjoyable, beautiful, but I was mostly tired of being pregnant. Continue:

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