Today my mother-in-law leaves us and returns home to her husband in Ogun State. I never thought I’d miss her this much. Much? I’ll miss her sorely already. I’ve been having heart palpitations for the last 2 days, from just thinking of caring for my baby without her. She arrived on 26th December 2021, 11 days before Aridunnuoba arrived. Mum is over 60, yet we went for long walks together almost every night before I delivered. Women in their 3rd trimester are encouraged to take walks as they prepare for labor, for me I was walking extra to induce labor. My due date was 28th December, at 39 weeks I had a membrane sweep. I wasn’t showing any labor signs and my doctor (the best one I ever met, by the way) wanted to make sure it came no later than 40weeks, still, nothing happened. At 41 weeks and 1 day (5th January), I went in for induced labor.
Mum was there every step of the way, making my meals, ensuring I wasn’t stressed, and praying for me. We got admitted on the evening of 5th January. Sadly, no private ward was available at the time, and so I was the only comfortable person of the 3 of us (myself, mum, and SA) in the room we shared with another woman. Mum sat all night watching me, while SA ran the errands. She was there (seated outside the procedure room) when I had my cervical ripening procedure, she was there in the lounge area all through midnight while I slept. They both left in the morning to freshen up and make me breakfast, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for mum, she looked like she needed a full day’s sleep.
At 8 am, I was to have a repeat of the cervical ripening procedure, seeing as I still wasn’t having any contractions. Upon checking my cervix though, the doctor exclaimed to the nurses – “wow! She’s 6cm dilated already! Please set her up for delivery, I’ll rupture her membrane now”. SA and mum arrived a couple of minutes after, and we asked mum to go to my room and get some decent sleep on my bed. I felt having her sit outside the labor ward listening to my wailing would give her a high BP –lol. But trust mum, she couldn’t sleep, she was praying, I guess.
This isn’t the post where I describe my labor/delivery experience, that’s why I have left out many details, but just know this – once my contractions began, I quickly forgot Jackie Mize’s ‘Supernatural Childbirth’ lessons. Damn! How do we (women) go through that, and still have more babies?!!! I don’t get it.
Aridunnu arrived just past mid-day on 6th January, and as I was wheeled out of the labor ward, mum came towards me with so much love in her eyes, hugged me, and whispered – God bless you! It made me teary. I was happy we were past the whole thing, and we (particularly her) could now go home and rest. The realization hadn’t hit me, that work had just begun – especially for mum. We returned home on Saturday morning after Ari had her vaccine shots like a boss – no crying! Of course, mum did the carrying all through, besides the fact that I was hurting from my stitches, grandma couldn’t trust either SA or me with her grandchild just yet – lol.
For the next 3 weeks, mum did market runs, cooked all the meals, bathed & dressed Ari, bathed & massaged me with scalding hot water – the way my body burned, I wondered how her aged hands could even bear it each time. She went for all baby & mummy appointments, fed Ari, did midnight shifts, cleaned the house all the time, entertained guests, and still voluntarily funded some entertainment bills. She ministered to us ‘in cash and kind’ – as they say. Her selfless love was and remains overwhelming.
On days when it was obvious that SA and I weren’t in agreement over something, mum never interfered. There were times I had expected her to say something – iro o, mumcy would focus squarely on Ari, lol. Mum cared for Ari like she was an egg, and in the first 2 weeks, SA felt excluded (hehehehe). We worried about his beards disturbing her, we worried that his grip was too strong, and he didn’t always remember to lower his voice when we needed her to sleep, so it appeared as if we only wanted him to keep running errands but not carry his baby. SA grumbled about it all the time and even reported us to a few close folks that called -rotfl.
I doubt that mum will get to read this but, I am putting it out there more for the benefit of other people than for her – other MILs and DILs. She stayed with us for 6weeks and there was not one single moment where she and I had any issue (altercation, confrontation, misunderstanding – whatever, you name it), and this is a beautiful thing knowing how unpopular warmth and cordiality between MILs and DILs are. Oh, I certainly did not agree with every of mum’s styles and I am certain some of mine must have been weird to her, but acceptance was the priority. For instance, I love well-seasoned meals, while mum watches salt and Knorr sooo much, yet I ate her meals with joy and she ate mine the same way. When we had our last prayer session before her departure, she still remembered to apologize if peradventure she had wronged me without knowing at any time – I mean that should be my line naaaw.
Usually, people encourage that pregnant women should have their own mother with them for omugwo (after delivery) – this truly makes sense because they’re closer, and so much more used to each other. However, in agreement with both sides of the family, SA and I made a different plan, a rotational one that would keep Ari away from the creche till she’s about 8 months old. I do not regret it one bit, as I enjoyed having my MIL around, just as I would have enjoyed my own mum. Did I mention that she also added to the gift we gave my doctor?
There are still godly, and amazing mothers-in-Law out there, and I pray that you (if you’re still single) are blessed with one like mine. In fact, it feels weird calling her mother-in-law here, I used that term for clarity. I had been praying concerning my MIL since I was a teenager, and she is proof that God answers prayers. If you have one, and your experience is rather the opposite of what I have depicted here, I want you to know that when you pray with a good heart, God can give you the wisdom you need to win her over, or the grace and strength you need to tolerate her. Either way, be determined to be a good DIL yourself, and even when you misbehave, apologize humbly, and forge on. Oluwa will do it for you.
Do say a word of prayer for my MIL. God bless you!