I read Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood at a young, “innocent” age of 14. It was a required read for my Literature class that year. But I tell you, nothing prepared me for the trainwreck and rude shock that the book was (in a most positive way 😉). It was not like any book I had read before then – and I had read quite a few! It is not your usual feel-good or happy-ending kind. The story is raw, brutal, and realistic (depending on your perception). Buchi was a very talented writer; I love her style and her books!
The Joys of Motherhood tells the story of one of the noblest callings in life – motherhood. It addresses fertility/ childlessness; childbirth; the all-consuming need of a mother to hustle and fend for her children; the struggle to live up to society’s ridiculous expectations of mothers; and the seeming unrewarding task of giving one’s all to raise children.
Nnu Ego, the protagonist in the book gave her all to her children (her family) all through her life, never got to reap the fruit of her labour AT ALL, until she died from her labour while trying to meet the needs of her kids (she died by the roadside!) And even at death, she knew no rest because those whom Nnu Ego had left behind continued to burden her with their requests for children, and curse her when their prayers were yet unmet.
I remember finishing the book and feeling rather… exhausted on Nnu Ego’s behalf! Lol I felt deep compassion for Nnu Ego. I was really hoping that she would have a happy ending. I wanted her kids to grow rich, buy her a fully equipped mansion so that she will sit cross-legged beside a beach, sipping some cocktail with her greying hair and frail arms, feeling deeply satisfied that it was all worth it – the journey of motherhood.
This was a major build-up, but as we celebrate Mother’s Day 2022, I would like to talk about this most-honourable role – the role of being a mother.
I would like to appreciate everyone, including myself, who nurtures life.
- Maybe you have biological children.
- Maybe you bore another human inside your body for close to a year!
- Maybe life happened, and some younger ones were thrust in your care.
- Maybe you are a teacher who oversees and grows the minds of the next generation.
- Maybe you are a man who for some reason, has to play the role of both father and mother.
I would like to remind you what MVP you really are.
I ask you to accept the hearty cheer, “Happy Mother’s Day!”
Love Is Sacrificial:
You know the extent of giving that this role of motherhood has demanded from you. You know how it seems to ask for all that you have – your wide range of emotions, your presence, strength, creativity, time, resources. You see how you have continued to give, how you didn’t think there was anything more on your inside, yet, when the situation called for it, you rose to the occasion. You see it. You see how your sleep was often interrupted, how you could never actually go to bed until someone was tucked in AND checked on. You didn’t know how capable of multi-tasking you were until you had to watch someone, listen to them, make a meal for them and feed them AT THE SAME TIME. You took these jobs because you wanted to ensure that you had the means to cater to their needs. You didn’t take those jobs because you wanted to be present for the children. You didn’t know you had so much wisdom until you had to guide their way. You didn’t know you could pray so long and passionately until you had to pray for your children. You easily gave your all for them, and you still do. You gladly want them to break every glass ceiling you couldn’t. You want the absolute best for them.
Kudos to you, MVP. That thing that stretches the cords of your heart every day, that makes these sacrifices become like routine to you… is called LOVE. Need I say, You are a superstar!
Love is Rewarding:
The Joys of Motherhood is a great novel. I have read it a number of times and I will love to read it again. But here is the thing: Motherhood – the role of nurturing a young(er) life is one VERY rewarding job. And you will agree with me. You know you will. How else will you explain the loud laughter that bubbles from your inside at something your little one said or did? How can you explain the deep satisfaction you experience from seeing them grow older? What about the deep rewards you get from experiences MOMENTS? Those little things that happen during your day that make you feel so grateful and privileged that you are able to care for another life. See that’s the thing. We do not need to wait till a child is older and successful before we can count our blessings – the moments are precious, they are golden, and they are worth the journey.
AND if you are a person like me whose has faith in God, I hope you know that you WILL “enjoy the fruit of your labour” because God will ensure it. God will watch over the children in your care, He will amplify your efforts at raising the children, teach them and settle them in life. And God will reward you for giving your best to nurture His creation.
Feel free to join me in dreaming about luscious rewards that include still waters, green pastures, a table loaded with edible goodies, and vitality in our bones. Dream of rewards in the form of God-fearing, thoughtful and honourable prodigies. Expect these because they WILL come. From the Good Shepherd.
I will add one last point that I heard in church today, which is related to something I am learning recently.
Love is Doing Your All and Letting Go:
Love is handing our loved ones over to God, after we have done all our responsibilities to them. So, while carrying out our motherly duties, we intentionally commit the children to God. He made them. He loves them more than we do. He can lead them to a glorious future. Love is not imposing our personal dreams on the children gifted to us, but allowing them to flourish in God’s hand.
To every nurturer of life, I hope that you took some time this weekend to celebrate yourself. If you didn’t get the chance, I hope you get to do so in this new week. 🌹