March 19, 2019

‘Naija women listen up… you are not Hebrew women! – Peju Akande

‘Naija women listen up… you are not Hebrew women!  – Peju Akande


“You will deliver like the Hebrew women of old!”




“You will just wake up and your baby will just be lying there beside you!”


This is laughable, right? Even the responses that follow were giggles, then a few ‘Amens’ here and there.


But let me tell you this; babies don’t pop out without the mothers being aware. At least I have not seen or heard of such.


I had walked into the reception unit of my hospital over the weekend and it was clinic-day for pregnant women – you know the ante-natal day.


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The entire hall was filled with some 25 or more women with their pregnancies in various stages.



My first thought was, ‘ehehnnn, people are still getting pregnant in this town? Una no dey pay school fees?’


Funny, abi?


Well, I saw a joke on WhatsApp and realized that the number one family planning method in Nigeria is no longer condoms and birth control pills but school fees!


It’s a big hospital, so I and a few others who were there for other ailments were sectioned off from the rest of the pregnant women.


As I sat for my vitals to be taken, I could hear the matron, the one urging the women to deliver like ‘Hebrew women’, praying for them.


She was asking God to grant the women grace and strength to deliver like the ‘Hebrew women of old’ – meaning birthing through natural means; maybe the ‘non-Hebrew women’s’ way is via CS.


This was the nonsense I listened to years back and I almost lost my life giving birth to my daughter.


“You have a small pelvis,” I was told, “so you will have to give birth through C-Section.”


“Reject it!” An elderly woman in the church had said to me.


“Tell your doctor you will deliver like the Hebrew women of old!”


Meaning I would be strong enough to push and deliver without the help of surgery.


I almost lost my life trying to be like the ‘Hebrew women’ I never knew and have never met.


They probably didn’t even deliver like I was told they did. I was in labour for hours; I was stretched as naked as the day and caring nothing for modesty, yet cursing viciously at the decision not to continue clinic with the doctor who had expertly advised I do a CS.


So, you can understand my angst at the same refrain being fed to these women, and they were even smiling and clearly had no idea the level of excruciating pain they will go through, as they push to birth a singleton.


Methinks women should be aware and quickly too that they can opt to have their babies via Caesarean Section otherwise known as CS and there should be no shame attached to it.


A child, whether born via CS, natural birth, surrogacy or even via tubes, is still a fully formed human.


And in these days when people like American reality TV star, Kim Kardashian is popularizing surrogacy, our women shouldn’t be made to feel any less a mother if they can’t birth the natural way.


Since I couldn’t rant at the matron, I turned my attention to the nurse checking my vitals.


‘Why haven’t we stopped telling women in Nigeria that they are not Hebrew women, they’re Nigerians! They should not insist on natural birth; there are options of CS and all.’


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She looked at me, smiled and replied in a way I assumed she has reserved for responding to uppity patients who think they can do their jobs better.


“Madam, we are only encouraging them. Many of them are first-timers. Many of them will deliver through CS but they are afraid.


Many of them can’t even afford to do the CS; it is expensive, even in the general hospitals where medicare is offered at rock bottom.



CS is over N100,000 there. How much do you think it is here? How many can afford that?


But we know those that are at risk, those that will need attention before their due date. All we are doing is putting them in a good state of mind.”


The first thing that came to my head was, ‘well if they can’t afford it, they have no business getting pregnant.’


But come o, who died and made me judge over these things sef?


The nurse’s response took care of a number of questions I had in mind to fire at her.


I left the hospital feeling hopeful that all the women I saw there will deliver safely, even if there are no ‘Hebrew women’ among them but as for the financial part of it… I wish them luck.


Las las, they will be paying school fees in two years’ time.


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Lilian Osigwe Editor

A Creative and Versatile Writer.  
Currently writes for SabiNews Media

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