Baby’s Daddy will have to wait outside the labor ward, I will make sure to torture him with measured loud enough expressions of pain, so much if he is able to hold the contents of his bladder, he will want to burst in and find out what will be going on. Should he be weak enough to come in, I will exaggerate the pain just a little to make his eyes redden and then he will start speaking too much English and make the tough voluptuous nurse throw him out. Then one nurse will walk away from my raised thighs spread just enough to allow for the baby to come into the world. She will be all smiles. She will have the news only she and the other two nurses know. She will announce to me the baby’s gender. I who had been near uncontrollable just a few moments ago, wreathing in excruciating labor pains and giving the nurse such a hard time she’d had to call upon the help of two more will be waiting all smiles tears streaming generously as I hear the little person cry his/her heart out. The little body placed on me will send such life through me. The little lovely person will bring the purest joy and love.
It will be a traditional baby. Before the nine months, grandma will have turned my tummy upside down helping the baby to be active. Just to be sure the head is facing North South or East as required. We shall have none of that ultrasound to know the gender madness. We will allow the medics their right and privilege to be the once to hold and own the prized information. We shall buy just the necessary baby stuff. For both genders so that God does not think we are selfish and ungrateful. When the baby comes and it is a boy, he will have to wear the lacy dress too, just until he is old enough to refuse it.
The baby will have the home crocheted sweaters, socks and clothes that mama will happily knit in anticipation for her grandchild. Mama will patiently teach me how to crotchet literally everything for the baby to be warm and comfortable in. By the time the nine months go past; I will be a self-proclaimed baby crotchet-wear designer. Mama will also have the soft white napkins that she has saved over the years and the heavy baby shawls that someone used to make long ago, those that can no longer be found on shop shelves. There will also be my portion of enough baby clothes saved from all her babies now adults with their own babies. What was kept for my bay will suddenly appear and there will never be anything that looks and feel s even close to them.
Grandma will forbid me from bathing the baby as it is her God-given duty for as long as the ancestors demand. She will massage the baby to make sure she grows a healthy back and chest. While at it she will do things to the tiny fragile limbs that will make baby cry but I will not stop her. She will have all the herbs for her upset stomach. She will know what to do. She will fight with Mama on clinic and vaccination days. Mama will win. Baby will have all the necessary medication.
When Baby cries all the time, Grandma will know when it won’t be a disease. Grandma will know a dead relative is unhappy and baby has to be given his/her name too. It won’t matter that baby will have already been named after four gone relatives. Funny enough baby will be happy and stop crying. Grandma will say ‘I told you so’ without saying it, but we shall know it. Grandma and Mama will feed me like a bull awaiting slaughter so baby can have milk. They will watch without watching how I feed baby. If baby does not gain weight on the next clinic day, Mama will help the nurses to scold me.
Baby will be happy. Baby will have so much love from me. Baby will be baptized in my church. We shall not tell grandma that baby has a new English name. Baby will not have photographs taken before she/he can even open eyes or distinguish mama from daddy and grandma from great grandma. After that baby will have photos of every step as baby grows. Daddy will finally have a chance when Mama and Grandma trust me enough to leave baby wholly to me. That will be after Mama gives baby the first haircut, after baby’s gums pretend to have teeth, and baby starts to decide whose hands and laps are comfortable enough at different times. Then they shall leave us to take care of baby ourselves.
Photo courtesy : Little New York Photography.