LOUD WHISPERS: A Mother’s Pain

There is this saying, ‘You can’t dance at two weddings’. It is meant to emphasise the fact that it is hard to perform more than one task at a time. Apparently, those who coined this saying are not Nigerians. Yesterday, I literally danced at three weddings in two different cities. However, there is a price to be paid for pulling that off. It means it left me too tired to think through writing a fresh piece this week. So, I am recycling an old article I wrote for Mother’s Day in 2016, with slight revisions. As I watched all the mothers at the weddings I attended yesterday beaming with pride and dancing for joy, I couldn’t help but think of my son and the debates we have about the so called ‘typical African mother’. According to him, regardless of their education, status or exposure, the typical African mother is obsessed with perfection for their children, even when they are not perfect themselves, and they have an opinion about everything. I reminded him of the famous Asian ‘Tiger Moms’, and the American ‘Pushy Mums’. Wanting the best for your child is natural and normal, regardless of who or where you are in the world. So here is the old article, and I hope this resonates with both mothers and fathers.

Labour pains are very intense and all consuming. Mothers don’t dwell too much on the pain they go through because as excruciating as the experience is, beholding the face of the miracle from God that is the end result, is enough to forget everything. Till the next time of course. What mothers also do not talk about is the actual pain of being a mother, a feeling that is with us from the moment we give birth, till the moment we draw our own last breath. Every mother feels this pain. We feel it regardless of whether our children are fine or not. This is what fuels us to watch over our children with eyes at the back of our heads. It is this primordial emotion that keeps women entrenched in bad relationships, all because of their children.

Mothers work their fingers to the bone – they sell whatever they can, hawk things, cook, clean, anything to make sure they can keep their children sheltered, clothed, fed and educated.  When our children take first position in class, we are anxious for them to stay on top so we push relentlessly for them to continue to be the best. If they take third position, they get a kick from us because ‘the person who came first does not have two heads’. And if they are at the bottom of the class? We go all out with a combination of beatings, threats, pleas, bribes and prayers. We advocate for them with teachers, if we can afford it we get extra tutoring, we argue with our husbands (if they don’t do well they are yours not his!) and we never cease with our intercessions on their behalf. In the absence of a father for our children due to irresponsibility or death, we devote ourselves to the success of our children, though that does not stop unsupportive members of the father’s family from showing up when the children become successful.

When they become adults, our pain manifests through a new range of anxieties. Will they find good jobs? If yes, hope it is not too far from home. What? You are going to Australia? Are there no hospitals ‘nearby’ like in the UK or Germany where you can practice medicine? You don’t want to practice Law, you want to be a singer? Are you mad, you are an Engineer but you want to be a Dancer? Will they find the right kind of partner? Where is he from? How will you cope with his family? Where is she from? I know her grandfather, they are not a good family. And so on. How come your wife is not pregnant yet? Are you waiting for your husband to impregnate another woman?

He or she manages to get a good job, find the right partner, have healthy children, but do the anxieties of the mother subside? No. Your son is doing very well, you need constant prayers to fortify him, you know he has a lot of enemies. Your daughter is now a very important woman but her husband does not appreciate her success. And if the children are not doing well? The prayers, consultations with ‘the elders’, arguments, interference in matters that ought not to concern us and anything we think will work gets thrown in the mix.

As mothers, we are in pain all the time and we worry about our children almost every second of the day. This ‘pain’ comes so naturally to us that it is almost impossible to imagine a life without that feeling. Every now and then we hear about something happening to other mothers to cause them actual, not imaginary pain. Even though we would probably take a second to be thankful that we have been spared that particular crisis, seeing and hearing another mother’s pain only serves to intensify our own fears and anxieties. As we observe Mother’s Day this year I would like us to identify with the pain of every single mother we know. Let us specifically think about the following:

  • Mothers of all the missing Chibok and Dapchi girls and the hundreds of others like them whose fate continues to remain unknown
  • Mothers of all our unemployed youth who roam the streets searching for non-existent jobs
  • Mothers in our Internally Displaced Persons camps strewn across the country
  • Mothers of all the daughters who have been victims of sexual predators and paedophiles
  • Mothers of children who have disappeared without a trace.
  • Mothers who continue to struggle with poverty, doing whatever they can to support their children
  • Mothers of very sick children
  • Mothers who are poor widows
  • Mothers who are ‘economic widows’

I hope that every mother who reads this will use the opportunity of Mother’s Day to be thankful for the gift of motherhood. The pain we feel over our children will always be there. However, with that pain comes an unconditional love that pushes us to move mountains for our offspring. This love for our children brings us incredible joy.

  • May we never weep over our children.
  • May our worst fears over them never materialize.
  • May we live to reap the fruits of our labor over them.
  • May God console all grieving mothers.
  • When we draw our last breath one day, may our children be there for us as witnesses to our lives, and not the other way around.

Happy Mother’s Day and have a great week.


 Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com






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20 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: A Mother’s Pain

  1. Aderanti Esther March 12, 2018 at 9:50 am

    God Bless our Mothers. Being A mother is a forever task. God bless you too ma’am. I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.

  2. Olakunle Olajide March 12, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    I can just imagine the pains and joys mothers go through and then the undying love.
    Happy Mother’s day once again.

  3. DSEED March 12, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Amen to all your prayers ma. Happy mother’s day to all abiyamo toto (Real mothers)

  4. Modupe Sharon March 14, 2018 at 3:23 am

    Being a mother is a journey and sincerely, I get awed when I see the love that transpires between a mother and a child. It’s one chemistry that is beyond explanation.

  5. Victor Udoh March 14, 2018 at 3:24 am

    May all the great mothers out there, have reasons to always celebrate. Amen

  6. Tehilah Johnson March 14, 2018 at 3:26 am

    Wow! What a epic writeup, this is nonpareil. Mothers are indeed great and the greatest gift in this world, is the gift of a mother and the child having the company of a mother. May God keep our mothers for us.

  7. Solomon Nkechi March 14, 2018 at 3:28 am

    When I had my first child, I understood the love of a mother, I wept all through the night I had her and couldn’t understand how I felt seeing another piece of me. The bond of a mother and child is matchless and I pray that our toil over them will never be in vain.

  8. Bolanle Olatan March 14, 2018 at 3:30 am

    Motherhood is sweet and very tasking. I have teenagers now and I can’t bear to hold my peace on their every movement. I keep praying day and night for them and especially for the company they keep. The job is tasking but the Love and Joy in doing it makes it very dynamic. God bless all the mothers around the world.

  9. veronica Imaseun March 14, 2018 at 3:31 am

    May we never weep over our children, physically, mentally, spiritually and health wise. This is a great prayer!

  10. Shola Ademide March 14, 2018 at 3:34 am

    As long as a mother lives, her job continues, her care continues, her prayer continues, her concern continues even when all the kids are abroad, she is up praying against natural disasters wherever her children are, praying that the evil doesn’t come near them. I mean, my mum sends me prayer points all the way from Nigeria just to make sure I am not too relaxed and praying against natural disasters and unhealthy shootings.

  11. Teminiyi March 14, 2018 at 3:35 am

    May our mothers be genuinely empowered!

  12. lolade Olayiwola March 14, 2018 at 3:42 am

    May all the hardworking mothers live to enjoy the fruits of their labour in sound health. There is no greater joy than having a mother enjoy all that she has worked hard for.

  13. Nathan Bassey March 14, 2018 at 3:43 am

    What a wonderfully dissected writeup. May God keep blessing your wealth of knowledge.

  14. Nneka March 14, 2018 at 3:46 am

    The sacrifices mothers make are countless and matchless. The agony of a child not knowing her mother is an agony that cannot be healed. I mean, when people say, time heals, I wonder how and on this special day when I see people say alot about their mothers and put a call through, One just wished it was never the other way round. For those who still have them, Cherish them and keep praying for them.

  15. Bamidele Joshua March 14, 2018 at 3:48 am

    @Nneka, your comment caught my attention, My dear, My heart is with you and I am sure she is always with you. A mother never leaves her child. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Amazing mothers here.

  16. Femi Diipo March 14, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I think the most practical example of love is the one mothers have for their children. In every way unconditional, constant and consistent. May God bless all mothers and may the souls of mothers like mine rest in peace

  17. Dom Dom March 14, 2018 at 11:37 am

    I believe it takes a mother to know, understand and fully express the pains, joy, love and experience of motherhood and I appreciate you ma’am for continuously impacting us from your well of experience. Mothers deserve to always be celebrated and revered

  18. Samuel March 15, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    For me, the love of a mother to her children cannot be explained. It is a very strong bond that can’t be scientifically researched. Kudos to all Mothers out there creating better lives for their children and all other young ones.

  19. Eric Onuoha March 15, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    I congratulate all mothers. They always look out for their children from the time they are born to adulthood. I remember my late mother who did everything within her power to ensure that my sister got into Navy secondary school. Although it didn’t work out we were all pleased with her effort. God bless all MOTHERS

  20. Iniobong Akpan March 17, 2018 at 2:08 am

    May our mothers continually have causes to celebrate, rejoice and laugh. The role of a mother is an eternal one and when anything fails in the marriage and in the lives of the kids, they point at the woman. God bless all our mothers.


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