THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF MOTHERHOOD A. K. A. THE POWER OF MOTHERHOOD TO DISFIGURE.

Thursday, September 19, 2019
brutal hard motherhood
In the improbable realm of imagination, where the absurd and unlikely commonly happen, I saw the devil, red and double-horned, float around the Nigerian celebrity Annie Idibia, suggesting that she take off her clothes, pose in a bikini, take photos and show the world her postpartum body.

It was a sun-lit day at the pool. The blueness of the water, the calm waves that ran across the pool as swimmers splashed and thrashed, all a pleasant, tempting invitation. Annie was at peace, lounging at the poolside under an expansive white umbrella, dressed in a two-piece bikini and infused with the luxurious ease that came with expensive vacations.

comic of the devil
Comic by keen woman
But the devil would have none of it. Scorched and charred from all that tormenting heat from hell, how could he possibly stand and watch a human being be happy? He would plot and scheme and come up with a brightly wrapped temptation—a clever plan to slice and tear to shreds this happiness of hers since he would never know what happiness feels like.

So the devil suggested to Annie. It wasn't enough that she was in Malta on vacation, at a poolside, her body refreshed by the calm, gentle breeze. There was more to be gotten. More happiness to be claimed. So the devil coaxed and smothered her, telling her to reach for her phone.

C'mon. This isn't all there is to being happy. Take a picture. Your body is banging! Post it on Instagram. You'd get thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. Don't waste this happy moment.

Doped up by a strangling need for social approval, Annie gets up to take a photo, head tilted down, belly sucked in, and a leg turned inwards to seem as though it is deformed (which is actually the unequivocal picture-ready pose for females.)
annie idibia bikini pic
Annie cooperating with the devil
 The picture is taken. On Instagram, the credits and hashtags, complete with emojis are generously given. The picture is uploaded and before long, the likes and comments pour in. But the devil deliberately failed to warn her that the bikini photo would reveal the loose skin, the stretch marks and the scars. And that some people on social media did not merely look at photos. No, they examined photos, deliberated on tiny details that offhand viewers did not catch, and these photo-examining people on social media formed the strongest opinions about pictures of people they did not know personally.

And without a doubt, the likes and comments rolled in. Heated, opinionated comments emerged and soon enough, bloggers hungry for traffic catch a whiff of the sensation surrounding the bikini photo. They take screenshots from the comments and post on their blogs and their readers, ever ready to jump on and dissect pictures of celebrities, descend on the post and fire cannonballs of nice, rude and outright crazy comments.

Annie, breathe and look up. Na belle you get, you no kill person.

[reply] I tire. Abi she do surgery. I don't believe that 'stomok.'

Body isn't fine, jare! What's this?

[reply] She has two children. When you have yours, bring your belly so we can examine it.

Do you have kids? In the unlikely event that you birth children, be sure to present a picture of your body for our thorough examination.

I pray motherhood disfigures you, so next time you will learn to be sensitive to other people's struggle (Now, this insulting, yet remarkable comment is the reason for this blog post.)

As the comments poured in, as the bickering and insults flew about, the devil stood by and smirked, feeling a growing perverse pleasure. His work here was done. Annie was no longer lost in the relaxed comfort of the hotel poolside, rather she was on Instagram, replying comments that brazenly asked her to "cover that part of your tummy." Before now, she did not have to prove to anyone that she was proud of her postpartum scars, but now, she was on social media, replying people she did not even know.

@poshbosslady, so proud of the imperfections! D scars and stretch marks from my 2 CS are the best part of this pic 🙏. Cover yours!  I'm proud of mine!

The devil scoffed and did an elaborate victory twerk. Of course, nobody twerks half as good as the devil. We are all reduced to miserable learners when the devil brings in his A-game devilish twerk skills. Nobody can compete with that!

Now, enough of the twerk talks. I would like to say that I am in no way body-shaming Annie Idibia. If partially going naked, and taking a picture of her partially naked postpartum body is what it takes to make her feel good about herself, who am I to judge? Motherhood is tough.

Inherent in the complex enterprise that is motherhood—an enterprise that demands and depletes, and tramples personal needs and ambitions under the heavy load of caregiving—is the potential to disfigure. To make a decision to become a mother is to agree to subject yourself to the disfiguring power of motherhood.

To the uninitiated, motherhood is the glamorous universe of cradling smiling babies, of taking professional crisp photos of your naked newborn artfully cocooned in knit wraps and posting the photos on social media much to the virtual reception of numerous "likes" and comments of people saying OMG! I want your adorable baby. Cuteness overload. My ovaries!
adorable newborn photo
credit: beautifulphotoprops.com
 Don't be fooled. It often comes as a rude shock when you are faced with the harsh reality of what motherhood truly is—the reality of endless baby screams and torturous sleepless nights and the exhausting cycle of washing/sterilizing feeding bottles.
exhausted mom
What motherhood really looks like
credit:Hartsock's photography
It is now a year since my disfiguring journey of motherhood. It is not enough to just celebrate a child's first birthday. A child's birthday also serves as an opportunity to commemorate the disfiguring of the mother who birthed the child.

Therefore, to commemorate the disfiguring effect of motherhood on me, I have created and curated some visuals to illustrate the moments motherhood dealt me some hard disfiguring blows. Cheers to my disfiguring 🍻!
comic of mom holding a baby
Comic by keen woman
tired mom jolted awake by crying baby
Comic by keen woman
mom soils her nightie with breast milk
Comic by keen woman
comic of angry mom

comic of mom holding baby

comic of mom doing sit ups

comic mom standing at mirror

comic talking bra

comic talking corset

comic mom in corset
Me in a corset, breathless
Me few minutes after putting on a corset
Thank you for sticking around, if you made it to this part of the post. And big thumbs up to all the mothers out there. You guys know the drill.

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