9 months ago, two people were born. My ever-smiling son and me, Fifi, the fiercely loving mother. Perhaps one of my greatest traits and weakness (ironical, eh?) is my propensity to love the heck out of people. Motherhood, however, opened up an insane truckload of excess and overwhelming love. If you gaze closely at me, you’ll see pink and red hearts bubbling at every inch of my person. I daresay that if you could peer into me, you’ll be pulled into a raging waterfall of mushiness and pulsating love. But this love doesn’t extend solely to my son, it extends to all the great mothers out there and in particular, my own mother.
Like most women, the journey of pregnancy, labour/delivery and the gruelling postpartum is an experience that is unforgettable. I truly believe that a woman, especially a first time mother, can never forget how she was treated while she was pregnant and recovering postpartum. 9 months ago, I had a greater appreciation for the communal society I was born and raised into. New motherhood and raising a child indeed takes a village. The individualistic nature of the West is deeply unaccommodating of such a transitory period in a woman’s life and it is no wonder that PPD (postpartum depression) is prevalent.
9 months ago, I had the honour of receiving my mother as she arrived Vancouver to perform Omugwo. Omugwo is the Igbo term for traditional postpartum care. During Omugwo, the mother (or any other female relative) of the new mother cares for the new mother and the new born for the first few weeks. My mother tended to me as though I also had just been born. She fed me, massaged my aching and swollen feet, encouraged me, taught me things I never knew about babies, wiped my tears, prayed for me, tended to my child, stayed up every night depriving herself of sleep so I could rest a bit and so much more. I can confidently say that I’d have been lost without her. When it was discovered that I had an infection from the C-section, she stayed with me longer to ensure I was strong enough to take care of my son in her absence. By rite, at the end of the Omugwo, certain things are done/presented to the mother/relative as a token of appreciation. Regardless, nothing monetary is enough to appreciate the person my mother is. Only God can truly reward her for all that she was in such a trying phase.
9 months ago, when I first heard the cry of my son, I felt what it truly meant to have your heart explode. As he grows, he teaches me everyday that the heart is a muscle that expands to oblivion, just to accommodate all this love. With him, I learn what it means to smile from a place of innocence. Seeing him, I understand what it means to trust and rely on someone so completely. I understand what it means to live in and enjoy the moment. What a privilege these past 9 months have been. What an experience, albeit daunting, that I will not trade for the finest jewels of the earth! I am so thankful!
I look forward to many more months and years of joyful motherhood. For my sisters in the waiting room, as I once was, I pray for you, confident of the able and miraculous hand of God. Your testimony is at hand.
Cheers to 9 months and many more!