As a pretty young lady, I had dreams and aspirations. The future was a bright one. Like some people would say, I had it all figured out.
With the conclusion of my service to the Nation in my back pocket, combined with beauty and brains and a light spring in my step; I knew I was unstoppable! I remember a particular day I walked by a government building and thought to myself, “If I work hard enough, I can rise to become the DG of this place….” You see in my mind, I believed that if I worked hard enough with dedication and commitment, my life would play out exactly as I planned it down to the script.
Then one morning I woke up feeling very ill. I assumed that I may be coming down with malaria because my naivety would not let me think otherwise. Few days later, I ran some tests and the results shocked me to my core. This “malaria” had come to stay!
My whole life flashed before my eyes. I had an out of body experience where I saw all my dreams crashing down like a pack of cards. 9/11 was nothing compared to how much sound that crash caused! My DG dreams! My fashion house! my…my…my…
Nine months later, motherhood hit me like a pack of ice on a sleepy face. A rude awakening was the natural reaction.
And so it started. The adjustment of the brain to the sound of a distant cry of a baby only to jump out of sleep and realize that the baby shrieking is mine and not in a far away land as I hoped it will be. My conscience would always sneaker like an evil stepmother as it told me the harsh truth; “the baby is yours and is right there beside you! So GET UP AND FEED IT!”
This cycle continued with sleepless nights, eye bags, the state of “hangover” (when I had nothing to drink but a large “who send you cup” of tea or pap to aid breast milk),and don’t get me started on the sore nipples.
Several nights, when I heard the “distant cry” I felt like mumbling from my sleep to an imaginary person that it was its turn to “feez za baby”. But of course I would jump out or roll off the bed when the cry got louder and realize that whenever I thought it was someone else’s turn, it was actually my turn, and then my turn, and then my turn…
Staying sane was challenging, but I had to be, because mad women don’t raise healthy kids. My boy is too adorable to be raised by a disoriented woman. There were times when I felt the knots falling off my head but I was my shrink and advised myself accordingly. This life…my life was bigger than me. I bent down, picked them up and screwed them back in, with whatever tool I could find; screwdrivers, hammers or kind words from friends and family. My name is Amaka and this is my story.