Motherhood 101

A painting of a mother and daughter sharing a kiss.

The sun on a cloudy cold day is like a touch of heaven.

The bloom of a rose flower is like watching life come to existence right before your eyes.

The first time your ears hear a soothing song under the moon looking into the eyes of the one you love, melts you like a paper on fire.

Yet all these instances of paradise none of them compares to being a mother.

Chimamanda is six months now. I look at her sleep like an angel, giggle like it's her last, smile like she will drop and grow daily to a beautiful princess. I shake my head or pinch myself a little for I would not imagine waking up and realizing all this is a dream. Being Mama Chimamanda must be the most perfect thing that ever happened to me. And yet I would not compare it to anything else on the planet.

From the day she was conceived, the same day that three years earlier I had lost my son, her brother. I knew she was an angel sent to make this life a little more special, more bearable, more awesome. She was so cute and it took me two weeks to finally sleep through her three to five-hour sleep schedule without breaking a sweat when she laughed in her sleep or coughed slightly or made a sound. I finally trusted her dad to take care of her too. I was so scared of making any mistake or not giving her enough time.

My baby girl, now she knows how to smile and make me forget she has scratched my face so painfully. Pulling my hair and hand in my mouth when she is breastfeeding are her best moments. When did she get this big? For me time stood still. And now she has started eating. I am yet to muster her favorites since she eats everything I have offered so far so well. She is so gentle and calm that I have gone to about four meetings with her and people only realized there was a baby when we were leaving or on a break. As she splashes water all over when bathing, makes raspberries with her mouth, tries to make me understand her with her baby talk, cries looking right into my eyes when she wants me to pick her up. These are my little pieces of heaven.

I have forgotten how to be stressed, mournful, sad, negative about stuff for it all rubs on her. Though I get scared like, I believe, all parents do. Will I offer enough? Will I be a good mam? Will I protect her from molesters in the disguise of family? Will I be able to hear what she does not say and listen to all she says? Will I give her the best quality education? Will she be proud of us, her parents and the paths we chose? Will her status come back negative to the last one when she turns two years? Now, this is when motherhood becomes no walk in the park. When you spend the whole night awake because she simply won’t stop crying and you find yourself crying too. Or during those immunization shots that they give two to three when you cannot stand the sight of a needle. When you hear endless horror stories of nannies and yet you want to go back to work till you become paralyzed and choose to brave a few more days as you gather the courage to leave her with a stranger, my most precious jewel, my Chimamanda

I have made choices that some people question, but this is also what being a mother is. At a dispensary when I went with a case of Malaria, the health worker on telling him my status and breastfeeding he wanted to poke my eyes out yet in the WHO guidelines it is clear one can breastfeed. If that is not enough, my friends call me a cow at how big baby fat has made me. I do not even know where the salon is or what made up nails look like. I have delayed going back to work and if necessary I carry my princess and mostly prefer working from home.

I am a mother to a perfect little girl, Chimamanda.

I don't have a super model's magazine perfect body anymore and it is more than worth it.

I don't have a string of friends like I had, but I have a best friend now in my jewel.

I don't remember I went shopping for myself when at the market, but how could I resist that pink tutu that looks so good on my baby girl?

I will take longer to get all my goals right and get where I thought I would be now, but not even in a thousand lifetimes would I be anyone else than Mama Chimamanda, my heartthrob.