One Word, A Million Reasons
It’s 2 am and Oluchi sits at the table half asleep waiting for the kettle to boil… Little Jeremy woke up again a few minutes ago in a fit of hunger. She looks at his sleepy face only temporarily pacified with the knowledge that food is on the way. How does he even know food is on the way she wonders in her heart? This was the third night in a row now and she knows that at the rate at which her sleep is being regularly cut short, rate she would need a stronger night cream, maybe one of those ones for advanced ages. I might even as well start considering Botox she thinks.
The kettle whistles and as she tries to put him down to prepares his food; tiny chubby fingers clutch tighter and 3 warning sobs are fired!!! “Easy boy” she whispers to him and she makes do with holding him on one of her “once slender” hips while preparing his meal with the other hand. “The skills I have acquired these past few months” she thinks to herself. Why didn’t our mothers warn us that it would be this challenging? She recalls the number of times she and her husband Kayode have informed themselves and any other person who cared to listen that this would not happen again… one child enough … And she quietly reaffirms this in her mind.
Little Jeremy gobbles up his food hungrily and obviously wants more… “This boy is going to run us bankrupt on milk” she thinks to herself and she whips out the backup plan, she prepared in a second bottle, just in case the first didn’t suffice. He does justice to that as well and gives her a not so drowsy smile … omg the little monster is going to wake up!!! … All the alarm bells go off and she immediately jumps up ad begins to rock him to sleep before things get out of hand. Finally he is asleep and as she gently places him back in his crib, his eyes open for a fleeting moment and a wide smile spreads across his face and just as he goes back to sleep, he lets out a sound, a word – MUMMY. Oluchi freezes – MY GOODNESS!!! Her heart literally stops beating and in a split second, the weight of the past 15 months of struggle, tears, pain, sleepless nights, and endless battles with stress induced facial wrinkles and stretch marks.
The diets: Keto, Atkins, Cambridge and plain old starvation. The bloody break up between her and all her stilettos, the endless array of wigs to cover up for not having time for the saloon, the countless times she almost lost her mind stuck in Lagos traffic with Jeremy screaming at the back in his car seat, her painful farewell to body con dresses, her uncomfortable introduction to body magic, the sore nipples, multitasking (o darn you multitasking); DISAPPEARED. With that one word it was all nothing. And as she lay back in bed, looks over at Kayode sleeping and thinks to herself … We are so doing this again.
By Nkem Marian Igwe
Nkem is a creative writer, an auditor, a strategy consultant, a wife and a mum.