When I was young and naïve, I used to think that when a woman gets married God plants a seed in her belly which grows into a baby. How else could one explain why a woman’s tummy swells a while after her wedding? Then when the time is right the belly button would open up and the baby would come out. Bear in mind that those days unwed mothers were unheard of.
When I was young and naïve, I used to think that I had two exit points ‘down there’ for excretion. If someone had told me that there exists a third opening, I would have been astonished. I would have been curious too; I would have investigated myself by using a mirror as a periscope but I had been socialized to believe that such an action is forbidden and sinful.
If someone had told me that that mysterious third point is both an exit and an entrance, I would have been very puzzled. If someone had told me that that hole would one day remove blood every lunar cycle, I would have been in total shock. If someone had told me that one day a man would put his ‘thing for urinating’ inside that third place and I would really really like it, I would have recoiled in horror. If someone had told me that babies come out of that third place I would have laughed haughtily and corrected them by asking self-righteously, ‘What do you think the belly button is for?’
When I was a bit older but still naïve, I used to think that the number of children a woman had showed how many times she had had sex. Therefore a woman with seven children had had sex seven times in her life; a woman with one child had had sex only once in her life; a woman without children is a virgin.
When I was older but still naïve, I used to think that pregnancy meant the beginning of celibacy. I mean, how can a woman let a man ejaculate inside her while she’s expectant? Won’t the ‘white porridge’ cover the child? How obscene! Only a vulgar pregnant woman would open her legs for a man!
As I sit here on the balcony caressing my own burgeoning abdomen, I can’t help but smile and shake my head as I remember my misconceptions. They were quite valid considering my sheltered childhood and the fact that sex has been a taboo topic both in tradition and in modern religion. I only had my imagination to make sense of such things.
Pregnancy has had a huge impact in my life. Things I would normally do have been put on hold. I have taken a break from some of my favourite pastimes including smoking cannabis (I still eat it as a salad), cycling (FYI riding a bike is discreet masturbation), taking coffee, lounging in natural hot springs and underwater swimming.
Needless to say, my body has changed. My breasts are huge. I can actually suck my own nipples. Before, my tongue could barely reach the areola. Now I’m like, “Big Boobs, where were those cold nights when I was horny, alone and trying unsuccessfully to lick my nipples?”
Physical intimacy is one thing that has required, er, some adjustments. Love making while being expectant has been quite an interesting experience. Desiring my man but being hindered by heartburn and morning sickness is something. By the way, the term ‘morning sickness’ is misleading; during my first trimester, the waves of nausea used to hit me at dawn, eased up a bit in the afternoon and came back with a vengeance at dusk. The prospects of morning glory and night time loving were dismal but like most things with a beginning, that episode eventually ended.
An introduction of a new liquid, milk, during sex is yet another thing. Physical intimacy has always involved lots of sweat, semen, lady waters, tears and even blood (hot violent sex, anyone? Anyone?). When milk made its debut, my man was having his way with my breasts when suddenly he told me that milk is coming out. It did not deter him; he continued playing with them. I think he has developed a taste for it, not unlike the way the man eaters of Tsavo developed a taste for human flesh! Another thing: apparently, when I come milk jets out like subterranean fossil fuel which has just been hit by an oil rig.
Finding ideal sex positions has been quite fun, eliciting a few laughs. Watching my man manoeuvre his way around my big belly is quite amusing: his manhood as long and as hard as ever, he searching for the honey pot while trying not to press my stomach. After the deed, he usually falls asleep with his hand across my waist. This time he finds a big tummy. I’m flattered that he still finds me desirable in spite of my pot. Or maybe he’s just a randy goat, hehe.
Being expectant has come with serendipitous epiphanies. It has made me realize that my body is no longer really my own. For instance, my breasts, which have been sorely for aesthetic value, are now also for food which I myself won’t take. Looking down and being unable to see my pubis seems to suggest so too. Furthermore, at labour there shall be foreign fingers prodding my vagina to check dilation; previously fingers prodding my vagina had a purely sexual connotation. I shall be spread eagle for the whole world to see; I shall be as naked as I was when I myself was born and as when I was when I conceived that night in the mountains; hitherto private parts becoming a public space. And it’s all good because women are essentially personifications of Mother Nature who selflessly gives Herself for the sustenance of other living things.
To all the Afro mothers both here and the hereafter, I salute you.