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What About A Woman And Her Burden Of Womanhood?

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Can We Have 'No Victor, No Vanquished'?

The Insight by Lateef Adewole

What a man can do, a woman can do better. So says the axiom. May be I should modify it as “what a man goes through, a woman goes through more”. What informed this my modification? It was the ‘protest’ by women who challenged my opinion in my last Saturday’s article titled: “A Man And His Burden Of Manhood”. I wrote that piece in commemoration of the 2023 International Men’s Day, which happened on the 19th of November, 2023.

I got some reactions from female readers who claimed that I was being chauvinistic in that article for stating that many men go through life with so much difficulties, most of which I believe, are for the sake of women. They challenged me and asked me if women do not go through more difficulties than men in their own womanhood, hence, this rejoinder and the choice of the title of today’s article.

Anyone who has followed my writings over the years would have known how much I adore women. I have never missed writing about them at different occasions such as: Girl-Child Day, International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, and any day related to women’s matter. At a point, some readers began to feel I was a feminist, the popular cause many women and some men, now champion, sometimes, based on erroneous foundation.

That I have written many times about girl child, women and mothers, all females, did not make me a feminist. I only felt obligated to do so as being the right thing. Moreover, I have plenty of them around me. I have a mother. I am married to a beautiful woman. I have lovely kids who are girls. I have numerous relatives; sisters, cousins, nieces and aunties, female friends and colleagues. So, how would I have escaped writing about them? At least, my wife reads the articles weekly. Same as many of the relatives.

On the part of that article where I said that I was called from the hospital where my daughter went to take her last injection, one of the women commentator asked if it was not my wife who took my daughter to the hospital while I was somewhere else. I was dumbfounded. That was correct. I guess she asked that out of woman’s instinct. She proceeded to tell me that the most difficult task concerning me was to look for the money to pay. Well, that’s only partially correct because I did find time to go and stay with her in the hospital as well.

Irrespective of what they said, I have not changed my opinion that most of what men do, they do them for the sake of women. When a man works to earn incomes, it is to take care of his wife first, and children after. However, the roles and important contributions of women cannot be overemphasised. The Creator made each person for roles that are best suited for them. I do believe that women are intrinsically stronger than men. Most men may have physical strength, stronger than most women, but when subtle power is considered, I give it to women.

A girl child is made to be more responsible for the domestic chores. The aspects of cooking and caring for the family have almost been conceded to girls in many families while the boys have less of them or nothing at all. This is how girls are brought up. It also gives them that mien of compassion and being compassionate.

It is such girl who grows up to become a wife in future. Her role as a care giver continues with her husband. While the man goes out to eke out a living for the family, the woman is responsible for providing the enabling environment that is peaceful for healthy growth of the family. A man with troubled home is a waste outside as every of his endeavour is likely to be negatively impacted by the home condition. As the Yorubas would say: “b’eede o dun, bi igbe n’ilu ri” (when the home front is in turmoil, outside home becomes unpleasant). Such duty is beyond making money. This is why we still have financially rich but troubled homes. It is not all about money.

The blessing of every marriage is the fruit that comes out of it. These are the children born into such marriage. A man might have been carrying his billions of ‘weightless’ spermatozoa all around for years, he requires the reception and acceptance by a woman’s eggs to get children through child birth from pregnancy. Who carries this pregnancy? The woman of course. This is one area where men are completely defeated by women. They clueless as to what women go through inside their system.

One of the most arduous period in a woman’s life is during the pregnancy. And this takes sizeable period of a whole nine months, “ceteris paribus.” During this period, everything is not the same again. Is it the nauseating feeling every morning in particular or the vomiting that results from it most times? What about body disfiguration? Women are very conscious of their body shapes. Many go the extra miles of enhancement, but pregnancy is no respecter of all that.

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Many women get their body parts completely altered. Apart from the automatic protrusion of their tummy as the pregnancy grows, many others have various parts become swollen or extra large. They become fatter. Many have swollen face that completely changes that their beautiful looks. The bloated body makes it impossible for all those sexy clothes most times. The banging body is temporarily gone. Swollen legs, bloated nose, etc. All these are difficulties women go through and sacrifices they have to make. No man shares in them. Many women won’t be able to eat whatever they like again during this period.

All these continue for a sizeable part of the nine months. Then comes the D-day, the day of reckoning- the child birth. No matter how easy it seems when a woman is fortunate to give birth smoothly without any prolonged labour or other complications, only the woman actually knows what she has gone through during the process of having the uterine contraction. Such is unexplainable pain.

A long labour is worse. The baby won’t come out, yet the contraction won’t stop. The most scary one in this part of the world is caesarean section (CS), commonly called ‘operation’. While this has been made so easy in the Western world and some Asian countries with advancements in medicine, such that many women prefer to give birth through CS as they consider it less strenuous and less painful, it is still so dreaded in Africa, and in Nigeria in particular. This could be due to the aftermath of it where the wound will have to be nursed for weeks or months after the child birth. It is also far more expensive.

Moreso, it is a delicate process that needs good expertise because lives of two people are involved; mother and child. So, no mistake can be entertained. Any wrong step could be fatal to either or both of them. May we never experience such. I read in a science book that the greatest pain is the pain during labour and that it is equivalent to breaking twenty five bones in a human body simultaneously. This is better imagined.

This is then followed by a endless period of nursing and caring for the baby. Breastfeeding (for responsible mothers) is a big sacrifice. Those who refused to do so, not on health reasons, give excuse of not wanting their breasts to sag. Is that sensible? “Igbawo ni maku o ni ku”. When will the breast not eventually sag? “Olympus must fall.” How could a mother denies her new born baby such opportunity to get the most nutritious and beneficial food for them, especially at that early stage? The breast milk is said to contribute to high IQ of children. I am not saying men should start sucking breast milk with the excuse that they want to increase their IQ o!

Alongside all these responsibilities, the same woman will still cater for the “needs” of her husband. Feeding him won’t stop because a woman gives birth. The woman will still rises up early to cook for her husband in the morning before he goes to work. She gets his foods ready before he returns from work in the evening. Once the woman is healed after the child birth, few months after, “games” will begin in “za oza room” again. All these by women. Aren’t they superb?

There are many women who work. They are employed or in business, doing as much work as men do in offices. Most of these married women still return home to take care of their families. They combine work with home, whereas most men who could be their colleagues will just go to work and return later, claiming to be exhausted to the extent that they hardly do anything again beyond watching television and eating. I have not discuss many other responsibilities as children’s school runs, taking care of them when they fall sick, attend their social events in schools and so on. Many men are not available to do all of these.

There are women who are singly responsible for all that men do sometimes for one reason or another. It could be divorce or death of their husband. They are single mothers who are now both the ‘women and men’ as they carry out all the duties of both parents. They still survive, raise great and successful kids, but it is enormously challenging.

The aggregate of all of these, and many more, show how strong women are. They show how much sacrifices they make to sustain families. Therefore, they are forces to be reckoned with.

However, it happens that the same women are the ones who reap more benefits from this labour in future. When the children grow up, start working and making money, it is their mothers who get first and the chunk of what they gift back to the parents as financial supports and cares. When children get married, give birth, it is the women who go for what the Igbo called “omugwo”.

This is a practice where husband’s or wife’s mother goes to help take care of a new mother and child. The women tend to enjoy the goodies that their children enjoy too during their stay with them, while the father is left back at home, lonely and suffering, especially in monogamous marriage. Sometimes, this involves travelling outside their locality; town, state or even country. “Na that one dey sweet pass”.

In the final analysis, truly, women suffer a lot too and make many sacrifices for the family and society, just as men do, though, there might be difference in magnitude, but women reap from the fruits of their labour far more than men. It then means that women can conveniently make those sacrifices with the near assurance of reaping the benefits in future. This is a great incentive for such sacrifices. This is not so with men, substantially.

In all, what is critical is for every one, whether man or woman, to be responsible and live up to their responsibilities. It is also important to be compassionate with one another. The man should be kind to and considerate with the woman, by being very supportive and not abandoning some roles as woman’s roles. Women on the other hands should stop putting men under undue pressure, especially financially. They should be the pillar of support and place of comfort for their men.

Some women even turn their kids against their fathers who were responsible for them while growing up. They instigate them not to take care of their fathers at old age. This is evil. Any woman who does this will face the wrath of God. Once both parties live in harmony with understanding, there is bound to be blessing in such home. This is what we all should strive towards achieving. Both men and women are equally important.

May God continue to protect us and guide us aright.

God Bless Nigeria.

You can follow me on:
Twitter: @lateef_adewole
Facebook: Lateef Adewole
Email: [email protected]
Whatsapp: +2348036034685

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December 2, 2023.

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