8 Nigerian Women Share Their Childbirth Stories

| Her
September 22, 2020

Having a child anywhere in the world is by no means easy. From the stress of carrying a baby for nine months to the stress of actually giving birth, it’s a lot for one person to handle. That’s why when the conversation around childbirth and spouse support for women (aka being there and actively helping) during pregnancy and childbirth came up on Twitter today, we decided to ask a few women about their own personal experiences. Here’s what they said:

Aisha, 37

This is not exactly a childbirth story, but we lost our baby at seven months. My husband was by my side all through. We were planning a move to a new state on account of his new job just about the time this happened. He abandoned the opportunity to stay with me. It was an excruciating thing to be in and even with him being there, I felt alone, but he was there for me.

Tinu, 32

My husband and I were separated just before I was due. I’d found out he was cheating (again). So I told myself I had to leave — can’t bring up my child in that environment. Childbirth itself wasn’t hard, I guess. I’m lucky because the stories I heard prepared me for the worst. Interesting enough, the moment he heard I had gone into labour, he showed up, although I didn’t actually see him till after.

Mariam, 27

The experience was bittersweet. Bitter because the pain was excruciating, if that’s putting it mildly. Sweet because the moment my baby’s head was out, it felt like I was on top of the moon. It was so surreal… I literally forgot all the pain. My husband was with me all through.

Mekwe that you mekwe and enjoyed together. Now time to born you’ll now leave her alone? Ah.

My husband didn’t eat throughout that day. First it was from seeing me in so much pain, food was the last thing on his mind, then over excitement after the baby came. It was the following morning I was asking him if he had eaten. I told him to leave the ward and not come back till he ate something bcos me wey born sef don dey chop already.

My mother came to stay with me after we were discharged.All I had to do was just eat, sleep and feed my baby. My mum didn’t let me lift a finger. And my husband was so obsessed. If I wasn’t feeding her (my baby) and she wasn’t sleeping, he was with her.

Nneka, 38

I’m a single mother, not exactly by choice. I told my ex that I was pregnant and he ghosted. When it was this close to my labour date, my mum and sister moved in with me. I had been scared that I would be alone during the entire thing. I was a little proud and didn’t want to ask them to come, but when they showed up, I didn’t even argue. Which is lucky for me because I passed out just a few days before I was due and needed help getting to the hospital. They were with me all through. I don’t think I was ever alone in those first few days. I’m not sure if my ex knows or cares that I have his child. I tried to reach out a few years ago because my child was asking questions. He’s active on Twitter, and I assumed this was the best platform. I was ignored.

Sope, 26

I gave birth during the heat of Covid. I was in labour for hours. They told my husband to go back home because he couldn’t be in the ward with me and neither could he be in the hospital because of the Covid rules. He didn’t go home. He stayed in the car and kept parading the building, asking about me. Even after I gave birth and they said he should go home, the same thing.

Akpevwe

My own childbirth story is that I was dragging this man’s cloth from home asking him why he impregnated me. I can laugh about it now, but I was dead serious. My grouse with my husband wasn’t that he wasn’t there. It was that after giving birth, he expected everything to go back to normal. We didn’t have any help. It was just both of us. He expected that I would start cooking again, that my body would fall back in shape in no time and sex would commence very soon. He didn’t say this out loud, but I felt the resentment. Na so we resented each other because I didn’t do shit if it wasn’t for my baby or myself. The good thing is we eventually recognised our problems and talked about it. We couldn’t afford help, as that would have been the next best thing. We learnt to communicate and all.

Ngozi, 22

When my mum was having her last child, we didn’t know where our dad was. He came back after a few months and said to the new child, “Ahan, did you grow smaller?” He thought that was our younger sister.

Titi

After a very stressful, 38 weeks pregnancy, I opted for a CS delivery. Stressful because the first four months were hell. I lost weight, couldn’t hold down food or water and vomited till my stomach acid eroded my esophageal lining and blood followed. I was just one symptom away from hyperemesis gravidarum (a pregnancy complication that is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and possibly dehydration).

I spat whatever little water stayed down and carried a spittle cup around. I couldn’t go to work and had to resign. Then Covid came. The last five months were better, though I still vomited and spat every other day. I was admitted a day before the procedure. Last minute checks were done and everything we needed was bought. Surgery went great. My husband and my mum ran all the errands. My mum stayed with me for the 4 days I was there while my husband and his parents came every morning with food and other things, watched me sleep, then left in the evening. Doctors didn’t want more than 1 person staying over because of Covid.

Let nobody say CS is easier than vaginal birth. They are identical twins of the same mother. I was in pain. Couldn’t bend, sit, laugh, cry. Stitches will just be pulling. I dreaded having to pee because it meant I had to walk 5 steps to the toilet. I was bent over and anytime I tried to straighten up, I cried. I couldn’t sleep either. Just tossed and turned every night. The last night before I was discharged, my pentazocine finished. The nurse said it was time to switch to oral painkillers. I cried and begged her till she went looking for pentazocine for me around 11pm. Breast milk didn’t come immediately. We had to wait for that one too for about 2 days. My mum followed us home after I was discharged and stayed for 41 days. My mother in law came every single morning and left in the evening. While I stayed in bed, they took care of baby and I only carried him when he needed to eat. I felt relieved after childbirth, considering the things I went through. My body and appetite came back (I cried so much in pregnancy because I thought I lost them forever). I’m thankful for my child because he is an answer to prayers. I’m still getting help by the way. After my mum left, my mother in law has fully taken over and if I sit down and actually think about it, I don’t think I’ve bathed my child myself up to 10 times. I can do it. I just don’t have to. For context, he is 4 months plus.


Names have been changed to protect the identity of the women.

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