I don’t allow strangers hold my baby – Godwin

A medical physicist, Mrs. Ngozi Godwin, talks about motherhood and its challenges with MOTUNRAYO JOEL

Being a mom, what do you hope you can give your child that your parents weren’t able to give you?

I plan to support her and give her the freedom to make some choices on her own when she attains a certain age. I believe proper guidance between the periods when a child graduates from the university up to when he/she is planning to get married is usually underestimated. Many youths miss it then because they are ‘expected to be adults,’ but that particular phase of life is a sensitive period in the life of any young person. My prayer is for my daughter not to make any decision that would affect her future. I also plan to give her anything good she asks for without having to make excuses or give her reasons why she can’t get it.

When was your daughter born?

My baby was born on Sunday, July 3, 2016.

 Is there anything in your childhood you wish you could have changed?

No, there is nothing. Everything I experienced in my childhood made me who I am today. I am happy with who I am, while I’m working towards becoming a better me tomorrow.

 Looking back at your life thus far, what are you most proud of?

I am proud of my association, all the people I have or have had in my life — God, my family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

 How has being a new mother changed your daily routine?

It has changed a lot. Let’s start from my meal type and sizes. I eat more now and also try to concentrate on food that improves breast milk production without making me add much weight. I am awake before the rest of my family does for the day. My normal sleep schedule is now interrupted by several breastfeeding sessions and it takes me more time and energy to do chores. Whatever we’re to have for dinner, I try to include something for my baby as she is over six months old now. Wherever I am, I have to hurry home in time to attend to my baby. I am no longer able to exercise, but that would change as soon as I can add it to my schedule. Evening strolls with my husband now includes a third person or the entire family. Generally, my life and the lives of my family members somehow revolve around my daughter, Zikora, and her comfort for now. But I know that by the end of her first year, our routine will have taken on a new kind of ‘normal.’

Have you adjusted well to all these changes?

I am making steady progress; my husband and I know that the growth of children is rapid, so as a mother, I’ve learnt to adjust rapidly too.

Are you prioritising your health and needs, knowing they are just as important as your baby’s?

Yes, I am. I can’t possibly take care of my children or anyone else if I am not in good health. You can’t give what you don’t have. If I let myself have a cough, for instance, not only would I be too sick to care for my baby, I would have also put her in danger since I am the most important person/ person in closest contact with her for now. I could forfeit my wants but needs are needs — they are priorities.

 What do you miss most about your days as a single lady?

I miss my ‘me time.’ Sometimes, I wish I could just dump my family with someone else for some hours and have some time on my own. My favourite leisure activity used to be reading novels. I don’t think I have read any since I got married or maybe since I started having children.

 Who do you regularly talk to for support, considering the challenges that come with motherhood?

I talk to my husband, my mother, other mothers with young children and health care practitioners when necessary.

 What hopes do you have for your daughter when she gets older?

Surprisingly, a few hours ago, I was just talking to her, telling her that I expect her to grow up to be like me and even better than me, without my flaws. I mentioned the flaws I know to her. I hope she grows up to be a strong woman, an embodiment of godly character, a leader, role model, pacesetter and trailblazer in whatever field of endeavour she decides to explore, and in everything she sets her heart to do. I pray she grows up to become a better mother than I am, a better wife, daughter and sister. I hope that she will fulfil all her days and the purpose for which she was created.

 What old wives tales were you told during your pregnancy?

During my pregnancy, I didn’t have time to sit down listening to superstitions or false traditional beliefs. She is not my first child; so even if I was told any tales, I wouldn’t have taken it to heart. One of the dreams I had (when I was pregnant) was of me being delivered of a baby girl. I was so happy. I remember seeing myself jumping up and down, and attending to her in the delivery room. I really wanted to have a girl. I had some nightmares too, but I try not to keep negative things in my mind. Besides, I already knew that most nightmares during my pregnancy were just that — nightmares.

 Do you allow strangers to hold your baby?

I assess the stranger and if I feel okay with him/her, I let them. If not, I give an excuse why they can’t hold her. I do it to friends and acquaintances too. Apart from security reasons, the person must, at least, appear clean before I can allow him or her have access to my daughter. Caring for a sick child is not fun at all.

 Is it safer to leave one’s child with a babysitter or at a day-care centre?

I prefer a day-care where the deeds of the caregiver can be supervised by others. I leave her there when I am at work.

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