Bun In The Oven

So, we turned thirty and somehow survived that awful transition form the twenties into this new age where everything is supposed to make sense, right?

WRONG!

Guess what 30 came with?

A bun in the oven.

I had a hard time coming to terms with this awesome journey to motherhood – fleeting between the decision to terminate or keep the baby.

It has not been the best period of my 30’s – I was still getting used to the whole coming into my womanhood thing and then my carelessness led to this.

I say carelessness because, truth is, as much as it was an “accident” (and I am still convinced that “accident” should not exist in my vocabulary in this century), I knew that it could happen.

I was not on contraceptives (not anymore anyway) and I was at this weird point in my life that I felt like something needed to give… my career, my womb, my car…my bills… my relationship. At that point, I felt lost and seriously under achieved.

Now, imagine the feeling that came with the two very fucking bold lines on that stick that I peed on.

If I had felt lost before, I knew nothing.

I felt broken.

Broken because… how could I possibly let this happen? 

I felt guilt and shame – which in some varying degrees I still carry around today, along with this basketball belly.

Guilt and shame because there was no proposal. There was no grand gesture of love and adoration from my baby daddy culminating with a ring on my finger before his seed was planted in my very fertile garden.

There was no walk down the aisle – the grand parade that proved to the judgmental world that our love was pure and just and right and acceptable.

These things that were supposed to validate my worth as a woman didn’t happen.

Instead, what happened when I was about 12 weeks pregnant was a hurried traditional ceremony to purify our shameful act.

I realized slowly as the days progressed that I would be carrying the physical evidence of this “shameful act” alone.  I despised myself for it. I tried to hide the evidence by jogging and getting more serious about my Yoga and stretching – thinking perhaps as the baby grew, my body would be slow to respond.  I spent many nights (me, the mature 30 year old with a steady job and her own apartment), crying into my pillow, mortified of what people would think of me.

Then another realization hit me – that we would have to move in together to consolidate finances and truthfully, I did not want to be alone though it all and hadn’t we purified our sin? From that hurried traditional ceremony, he was allowed to carry me on his back and rush me to his home, have me barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning up after him like the good wife I was expected to be.

This time I felt absolute rage – me, a highly educated woman, in this 21st century, a freakin’ Lawyer (who should definitely know better to say the least) had allowed herself to be “traditionally married” . 

A traditionally married woman suffers the legal burden of non – recognition. She has no rights under law save what her gracious husband bestows upon her during the subsistence of their marriage – and the ugly truth about this is that being African, she may have to share with two or a million other co-wives. This is not the life I had envisioned for myself.

A life barred by the murky, nonsensical world of culture and tradition that has muffled and buried my voice and my rights because I/we have to respect our elders and because a traditional ceremony is important to his family. 

So, here I am, at 29 weeks, impatiently counting down the days to when the evidence of this sin I carry everyday turns into something everyone can rejoice about – because somehow, people forget that babies were once the pregnancies that they harshly wagged their tongues about.

Am I happy now?

Well, more settled into the journey. No going back anyway since “I chose life”.

I like feeling the baby’s movements and the special attention I get at Government offices.

I have accepted that my body is way ahead of me – my mind and heart and soul are yet to catch up with the reality and eventuality of things.

I have moments where I feel something – more of a familiarity and obligation with and to the bulge rather than that overwhelming sense of pride and unconditional love that mothers are supposed to feel.

I hope that changes.

Maybe at some point I will stop looking at the mirror with regret and shame and guilt.

Maybe I will eventually figure it all out.

Maybe one day I will be honored – maybe I will get that ring and that parade and maybe one day I will wake up and feel it was all worth it.

Right now, it’s one day at a time – burst of emotion after the other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Going On 30

Little Girl,

You know nothing. (Game of thrones).

*chuckles*

Really, you know nothing.

You’re 22, you just lost your virginity and you see the world through rose colored glasses. Your glasses are half full and your steps are dainty little things covered in hope and promise and a gleeful mind that weaves endless stories of white picket fences and perfect romances. You think he’s the love of your life. You’re 22 and life is pretty much perfect, I understand that. It’s a delightful place to be.

I’ve seen the other side, where life gets real.

There will be seasons of heartbreak so painful you will spend a good number of days recovering from it, locked behind the darkened curtains of your bedroom, ignoring life as it happens around you, making company with the tears that gave formed rivers down your cheeks. You will stay in this state, pitying your bad choices and hearing the ominous laughter inside your head, questioning how gullible could you have been.

But, because you are a lover and not a fighter, you will somehow, against all odds, find some room in your beautiful warm soul to forget the pain (and somehow battle to gain back the pounds you lost) to find that special, un-taintable rhythm in your heart to love again. Every time a little wiser and a much stronger. You will realize that pain is necessary for your growth, because by it, you will continually discover your amour de soi. You will also find that love is more about being vulnerable and open-handed than it is about receiving and building walls of protection and this is a lesson you will continue to learn.

You will learn to love your body. Please believe me, you will. It will be a long, ugly road but you will get to the point you will be able to wear what you want without wishing you could fill up the clothes a little lot more.

You will stop judging your protruding pelvic bones so harshly against the threshold set in your mind, that to be a true African woman, you should have been born with wider hips and a bigger bum or preferably, both. You will accept, with grace that you do not own the type of body that awakens the incontestable urge in men’s groins to pro-create as their eyes stay fixated on those glorious retreating posteriors. You will instead respect the fact that you arrived into your womanhood wrapped up in a svelte frame with dainty feet, thin lips, tiny fingers, narrow hips and a not so endowed posterior. You will discern that “beautiful” does not and will never fit or belong into the idealistic box that society has created for it. Beautiful is you, with the thigh gap and beautiful is also her with the thick thighs. Beautiful is a state of mind, a state of being that society has no right to define for us, as women. We do not need to seek society’s approval to own and profess beauty.

You will climb mountains. Both figurative and literal. You will push yourself in ways you could never think possible. You will stand on summits and marvel at God’s creation and you will humbly realize what a tiny speck you are on Earth. You will find your soul on a mountain. You will be brave and courageous and you will learn that life rarely happens as planned – and that’s OK.

You will make and lose friends, this is the circle of life. This is necessary. This is what must happen for you to hold the women in your tight knit circle dearly. These women are your backbone, your voices of reason, your confidantes. These are the women whose hands you will hold through the ugliness and beauty of this thing called life. There is a well of wisdom in this circle of women. There is understanding in this circle of wisdom. There is healing and power and rest in this holy circle of bosoms. These women and you, are tied together in an iron clad thread of mutual love, a love that has seen the passage of time and trials. You are one. They are your mirrors of truth and they are a reflection of who you are should you stumble and forget the way to yourself. They are your sisters. They are your tribe. Love them. Pray over them. Learn with them. Grow with them. Cry with them. Drink and be silly with them.

And you will get to the cusp of 30.

Here.

This Age where you pay your own bills and you wake up on the sofa with a pain at the nape of your neck because you fell asleep at 9 PM, your third glass of wine resting pretty on the table.

You are scared as f**k, worried shitless that you have not done, achieved enough.  You feel lost, apprehensive. You wonder whether all the decisions that you have made up to this point have been worth it.

You will feel your womb ache deeply for a warming. There are babies everywhere – your cousins, your friends, that random woman on the street with a beautiful brown baby with golden, wavy hair. You want one of those, so strongly, as if it’s a rite of passage to prove your existence on this realm. You have this need a living breathing extension of your heart, making a mess of itself outside the confines of your ribcage. Your womanhood is calling you from the depths of your maternal ancestry and the calls follow you into the dead of the night and into your dreams.

You will wonder whether waiting will spell gloom or doom, is he ready, is he not? You will have sleepless nights wondering whether your soul is drying up, slowly being cast away to the pits of hell for not being brave enough to follow your dreams. You will question what your dreams are but somehow the choice of lipstick suitable for a Monday morning board meeting comes to you as naturally as a bowel movement would.

Somehow, all the trivial worries of your youth will be traded with bigger questions – What is the meaning of Life… What is my purpose in this Life?

You will find yourself, at the cusp of 30, with a lot of wisdom, yes, still questioning (because Life will always be about Growth) but thriving. Thriving in embracing who you are, who you are becoming. Proud. Strong.

Powerful… in your choices, in your speech, in your being.

At the cusp of 30, it is just too much to get mad or feel sorry that you don’t have all the things that you wanted or told yourself you deserved (..like a husband and babies).

At the cusp of 30, you embrace the mistakes you have made along your life’s path, you have learnt from them and you keep the scars as beautiful reminders that life happened and you survived it.

At the cusp of 30, you will be comfortable, quite suddenly, in your own skin and darling, it is a glorious feeling! You will waltz around, naked, in every fibre and thread of your humanity, hugging with each turn the experiences that have molded you. You will look in the mirror at your scars and victories, holding each one with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

At the cusp of 30, you will look back and laugh with reckless abandon at the ills and joys of your teens… marveling at the spirit and fire of that girl whose steps led you to this point in your life.

At the cusp of 30, you will subconsciously draw closer to your mother, you will admire her strength and her wisdom. You will understand her pain, her bitterness and her struggles. You will see her world mirrored in your own. You will celebrate her humanity and protect her divinity.

At the cusp of 30, you realize you own your space and your energy and your life …

….and at 30, life is a flower waiting to blossom, at your behest, basking in the rays of your womanhood.  

****

Yours,

Me,

At the cusp of 30