Every woman at a certain stage in life longs for the experience that comes along with being a mother. Traditionally, an African woman is not woman enough if she cannot bear children.
Being a mother brings enough joy in itself. The rewards heavily outweigh the sacrifices women make during their nine months pregnancy. It is difficult to put into words how wonderful and special it is to be with your child and have him with you.
Florence Iribagiza, a nurse at King Faisal Hospital is a happy mother of a baby boy. At 6 a.m on Monday morning, she gave birth to a handsome bouncy baby. The joy she feels is indescribable.
“Since Monday, every-day has been a new experience as I watch my first born open his eyes, yawn and even cry,” she says.
The jovial atmosphere in the maternity ward, coupled with the sheepish smiles carried by the new fathers and mothers is hypnotic.
The calm silence is broken by the echoes of crying new born babies. Every ward has a baby cot for the babies to rest while the nurses’ coach new mothers how to bath and carry their babies.
In the corridors, waiting fathers filled with mixed emotions anxiously pace up and down.
The miracle of giving birth after the nine months of mixed emotions, anticipation, constant lower abdominal pains and back-aches are now a blurred memory for Iribagiza as she looks at her son.
“I am now living in the present moment and learning the true meaning of unconditional love,” she says.
Iribagiza’s mother Genevieve Mukandoli has been there for her since she was admitted in the hospital.
She understands very well what her daughter is experiencing. “It seems like just yesterday when I gave birth to my daughter,” she says.
“My grandson has brought back the memories of being a young mother. My daughter is so naïve not knowing how to breastfeed, bath or even hold the baby,” Mukandoli said.
Mukandoli said that “Motherhood has been a challenging task in every way. I know what my daughter feels. Being a mother has brought me to the edge so many times but this only makes one stronger, courageous and patient,” the happy grandmother explained.
Iribagiza admitted that she was scared during the last four months of her pregnancy.
“My greatest fear was whether or not my baby would have complications, would it be a normal child or whether I would have complications during birth,” Iribagiza said.
Changes come with time and gone are the days when fathers had to sit at home and wait for their bundle of joy to arrive. Today the role of men in child-birth has changed significantly.
Iribagiza goes ahead to explain how her husband was very brave to stay by her throughout the whole pushing process.
“At first I thought it would be strange but his presence really gave me emotional support and courage to go through the labour pains until delivery,” she explains.
It’s a big challenge for many men to stand by their wives as they experience labour pains. The final hours of childbirth in the labour ward probably have the greatest impact on the husbands that is, if he lasts the process.
Studies have shown that a supportive husband is good to have in the labour ward and this can increase that chances of a normal delivery and also helps to shorten the labour.
The presence of the husband will also allow the wives to be attended to full time because sometimes the nurses maybe a bit busy with other patients.
Maryanne Kariuki a mother of two however differs with this. She said that the sight of her husband made everything worse and wished that he was not anywhere near the hospital’s periphery.
Kariuki gave birth to a baby boy as well four months ago in the same hospital. Bumping into her in the corridors of the hospital as she comes for postnatal clinic the joy of being a mother still shows on her face.
She said that though George is her second born, it was a whole new experience for her; A whole new joy.
“My babies have fulfilled a big gap in my life which no one else can,” Kariuki said as she hurriedly entered the Doctors consultation room.
She cannot understand the constant smile that her son is bringing to her face but one thing she is sure of is that she has learnt to appreciate the fact that the feeling allows to be a child again in moments and appreciate the simple things in life.