My Mother’s Pain

As we grow up, get older and start building our own lives, we tend to forget just how much others have given up in order for us to be who we are. Of course, nature has its way of making sure we eventually make similar sacrifices for others, but let’s still take time out to appreciate the people who have given so selflessly of themselves.. I am referring to our mothers. There is a special something something about them.

Mother, this post is for you!

***

My mother is a lion. She’s always been. But there is a weakness she has, she suffers, she can do little about. This, I want to share with you today.

***

I’m the third living daughter born to my mother, Maggie (née Margaret Obamakinwa); who herself is the third of seven children (now second, for one is no more; she refers to her closest sister, my late aunty Elisabeth, as “the one who died” now) born to her mother, her father’s seventh-or-so wife. A man who possessed the means and resources to feed but not educate all his children. My mother was one of 37 born to his ten wives and a handful of concubines. A man I know little about. This post is not about him. Not really anyway.

My mother started secondary school at the age of 18. Yup, that’s right; around the time most of us are busy collecting money for clothes and other (more or less reasonable) things we might need for our new lives as university students. She was asked to stop schooling right after primary school, as her father did not see the importance of educating another of his daughters. At least not while there were sons yet to be educated. Why were her aspirations so high anyway? Alagidi, boys had priority!
And so Maggie spent the next couple of years selling items, saving money to afford tuition and related costs; and eventually managed to fully enroll. By the time she was 18 she had saved enough to support herself and- still doing menial work to keep up with arising costs, however- was in school!

Fast-forward a few years, and she’s getting married.

Now, that should be no great shock. She had finished secondary school, was an extremely beautiful woman and highly desired, was getting ready for university and was highly regarded and respected for her intelligence and high aspirations. Only: getting married was none of them!
She had never had a boyfriend (or the desire for one), let alone been with a man. She was a rebel, a fighter, an independent feminist, a hard-working woman not willing to submit to anyone, let alone a strange man! She was not going to marry anyone.

Or so she thought. The decision had been made: she would get married.. even if against her will.
And against her will it was. So she fled. She fled.. and was found, twice.

No one spoke about it much, until the day of her traditional wedding ceremony.
A ceremony that took place without her espoused man, for he was working abroad. His father accepting the new bride on his behalf.

A picture had been presented to her previously. She knew him but had never spoken to him. Alex Aleko, the player. Who didn’t know him in their town? He was charming, handsome, well educated, and came from a relatively rich home. He was the only son born to his father and held a special position. He was the only one who would carry on the family name, Ifamakinwa. Many a women wanted to be called his; but Maggie wasn’t one of them.

After the ceremony my mother did not move into her new family’s home, but returned to hers. That was, until one day her relatives came to inform her she needed get ready. She was going to move to Europe and join her husband. Realizing the seriousness of their message, she ran away.. again. As far as she could. Needless to say, she was found. The plane left the following day.

She would now live in a land she had not heard or known of: tiny ol’ Austria.

***

Being one of 37 children, she knew what it was like to live with boys; but she knew nothing about living or being with a man. The first couple of days were interesting. She lived in a new place, was meeting new people, and thought “This whole marriage thing might not be too bad afterall.”

Everything changed with the consummation of their union. Maggie knew nothing about sex or intimacy, neither did she crave it. Her ignorance, stubbornness, attitude and unwillingness to give herself to him resulted in an ever increasing impatience for his new wife and an addiction to violence and alcohol that lasted for many years.
She was a fighter, so she was determined to make it work somehow; living in a house that would never be her home. It wasn’t too long and she despised her new country, her new life.. and above all, her new man with every fiber of her being.

Wifely duties were carried out, whether he beat her or not, spoke to her or not, locked her up or not, threatened to kill her or not: all of which he did.. for years. Depression, frustration, and hatred growing on both ends; with the love they both shared for their four children being the only thing keeping them together.

I remember the nights we- my two elder sisters and I, later joined by our baby brother- slept out on the streets, at a family friend’s house, or on the top floor of our private block of flats. I remember the years I would not dare to fully fall asleep, for fear he would come home drunk, demand violent sex, beat my mother black and blue, or threaten to destroy everything. I remember the nights I knelt down praying God would just take his life, let my mother finally be, put an end to this misery, although he never ever laid a finger on me. I remember my mother rushing into our bedroom, hiding beneath the bed, beckoning us to ensure the mattress covered her fully, and begging us to say she wasn’t around. She shed many a silent tears. I remember hating myself for not being old, big, strong enough to destroy this man who cause our mother – a woman who had served us with all she had- so much pain. I wished to destroy him, but whenever I looked into his eyes, I saw helplessness, a cry for help. I saw weakness. I saw the need to be understood, freed. I saw love. I remember telling my mom she should just run away with the others- while little ol’ me would stay behind to look after dad. A man who could not possibly survive without his family. I remember my mother’s numerous suicide attempts that all came to naught, and God’s reassuring whispers that He had a plan.  I remember not wanting to know about any plan then, but trusting Him anyway. For years I wished things could just be a bit different. Why all this pain? Why all these fights? Why so much frustration?

It was all because of one tiny thing:

My mother’s clitoris. She had none.
***

In her father’s house “sex” was never discussed. My mother really was as innocent as they came.

It wasn’t until she arrived in Europe and saw a gynecologist due to the fact that she struggled to get pregnant, that she was made aware of her “mutilation”. It wasn’t that she didn’t remember undergoing the procedure of being circumcised, it was just that to her, she looked normal. The fact that they had removed a very vital part of her “female genitalia” was a very normal thing. All those born before her and around her time were circumcised. She had never questioned it. Not until then anyway.It all suddenly began to make sense to her: apart from an already missing emotional connection, there was nothing about her physical make-up that could convince her of wanting to be intimate with her husband.

To her his sex-drive was abnormal, inhumane, animalistic. To him her refusal spoke of  pride, domination, and above all: rejection.

***

Fast-forward to 2007 and they are falling in love.. all over again; or should I say: for the first time. I won’t go into all the things that happened in-between, as that would make this post way too long. But what I can say: there are always two sides to a story. Not ever does only one party carry the blame. My parents’ story is a long, sad, and painful one.. that inspires me whenever I think about it. How could I possibly not believe in God or the idea of love?

When I tell my parents I’d love them to find me a husband, they laugh; they remind me of their story and say, “Yinka, all we can do is teach and advice you. We shall never decide for you.” I smile and understand. When I complain about the fact that I don’t want to be single any longer, my father reminds me of “times and seasons that are in God’s hand. All you can do it ‘position yourself.'”

Today, when I play with my father (yes, stone me, I still do) my mom eyes me and tells me to “find my own husband”. I look at her, my father yimus, and we all laugh. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my parents at peace.. and in love with each other.

A couple of weeks ago, when my mother taught at a Marriage Seminar, she shared her current greatest pain and constant prayer,

“Back in the days, when he used to meet his mistresses, I wasn’t too concerned. I had no desire to be with him, I was glad they relieved me of that obligation. But today, I want to please him. If he touches me head to toe, even with romance, sweet talk, and kind gestures, I feel nothing. My heart grows warm, but not my body. I have sought help and medication; treatment and therapy, but nothing has helped so far. Now all I can do is pray. The Lord will not change my genitalia, but I believe there is something He can and will do about this issue. I cry unto God for help in pleasing my husband- sexually. Over the years we have come to love, understand, respect and cherish each other. He doesn’t cheat anymore, he has no mistresses, from morning ’till night he’s with me.. He has no other woman but me; and so he deserves to be satisfied. It is one thing to spread your legs for your man, but a completely different thing to meet his sexual need. I want to believe they are not the same thing. I want to be able to seduce him, pleasure him, make him love me more. Today, when I say “Daddy, I don’t like this.” he listens. We don’t argue or fight like before. We have become friends. Pleasuring him is something I now want to do. You cannot compare having sex to intimate love-making. It is this “love making” I pray for. I want to satisfy my husband and pray that the Lord grants me all that I need, emotionally and physically, to be a better wife.”

And as I sat there- half embarrassed about my mom’s openness- I cried. I cried for the pain she endured then, and is to some extent still enduring today. I thank God for His grace and hand upon my parents, but sometimes I cannot help but wonder just how different all our lives would have been, had they left her private part in-tact. Who would have thought such a tiny thing could tear lives and worlds apart? But then of course, changing anything in the equation, I would not be here to share their story.

Everything happens for a reason, I know. I look at all the women, children, couples, prostitutes etc that my mom has helped and still works with, and smile, knowing none of this would be the case, had she not gone through all she went through.

Today, my parents are ministers. They counsel individuals and couples, advise them, and share their story freely. They teach and admonish people to get properly prepared before marriage and choosing the right life-partner.
I am glad and grateful for my parents. I look at them and smile with pride.. they have come a mighty long way.

I pray the Lord endows each and every one of us with the wisdom and grace to make better informed decisions. May we learn from other’s pain more than from our own mistakes. Life is too short to stumble at every possible hurdle.

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38 Comments Add yours

  1. thaatCALIgood says:

    Wow! This story was incredibly inspiring and written amazingly. I’m 21 and because of my parents I don’t really see marriage happening for me, although I do want it. This is a great inspiration and I am sorry for the years of pain your mother endured but clearly there’s a silver lining to her suffering. That’s an American term, not quite sure if you understand it but this is definitely a GREAT read

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Haha.. I do understand! 🙂

      What we see, hear, and experience generally has an impact on us; especially so when we are directly affected by it. However, I guess it really is about knowing what you want for yourself and then planning accordingly.
      Just because someone else’s marriage didn’t work out, doesn’t mean yours has to be the same way. Guess it’s about being aware of difficulties that could possibly arise and then taking proper measures to prevent or deal with them. Even those who were raised by lovingly committed parents sometimes fall prey to horrible experiences once married..

      Let’s just make sure not to step into any new venture (whatever that might be) blindly.. and trust the Lord in all things.

      Thanks for stopping by (and I wish you all the best)! 🙂

  2. rachel says:

    My parents are divorced,and they have both moved on(they both have other kids).I wish my mum would open up and tell us what really happened maybe we can learn too..Nice one tho..Very inspiring.

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Hey Rachel,

      Thank you!

      Sometimes, I find that people don’t open up about their past because they might not have completely come to terms with it. Sometimes memories have been pushed so much aside, you find it better to just leave them there.
      It goes without saying that talking could often be therapy enough to get over past issues. For some people, however, it is just very difficult, especially when they might carry some fault in the issue themselves and might be ashamed/ embarrassed.
      I’m a firm believer of telling your children where you come from, so they can always remember how far they (ancestors, family, parents..) have come and learn from them. Even with not-so-happy endings, it is important to know your roots.. “Stones of Remembrance”!

      You know your mother, and how best to approach the issue. I am a Christian, so I’d naturally say you should pray for wisdom in how to address this matter, and also ask Him to give her the grace and strength to open up and be honest about it. You have a right to know, after all.

      I wish you all the best and thanks for stopping by!

  3. BBB says:

    I had goose pimples while reading this, I was not expecting that ending, the fact that it’s a true story just makes it all the more inspiring, female circumcision is such a huge thing, maiming an entire organ, Lord have mercy, in happy that your parents were able to move from that violent stage to this, indeed showing the benefits of patience and endurance a marriage should have and something our generation obviously lacks a great deal, maybe God take them to the next stage, and promptly answer your mothers prayer, in Jesus name, God knows every woman deserves to experience an orgasm in their lifetime

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Amen!
      Lol.. I had to laugh out loud at “God knows every woman deserves to experience an orgasm in their lifetime” Hahaha.. so true though!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. 0latoxic says:

    It’s amazing how much there is to learn here. Remarkable how your mum could go through all that she has and still be such a success story. Inspiring that your parents and family can be such an inspiration in spite of it all. Beautiful how you have chosen to share your story(ies) with us. Awe-inspiring how faithful God is when we allow him to be.

    Thank you, Pinkus.

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Tokunbo.. why do your comments always have to be so touching and poetic?
      You should be a professional commentator or something.. making readers/listeners feel all mushy and emosh lol *bear hug*
      Thank you too!

      1. 0latoxic says:

        Lol @ “professional commentator”. And the touching and poetic reactions are what your posts evoke from me.

        *returns bear hug* Love you, Pinkus

  5. Hmmmm…memories!!!
    God is awesome, for real and He hasn’t even started yet.

    Well written Vicky…this has to be published.

    Eemotional, encouraging and inspiring …well done 🙂

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      I’m telling you.. memories toh bahd!
      It’s good to remember once in a while. Otherwise you’d fall into the demonic trap of thinking you are “just another human being with just another story”.
      Truth is: we are all treasures in vessels of clay, meant to tell the world of His faithfulness.
      God is good ohhh!!! *3 gbosas!!* 🙂

  6. gbemisoke says:

    Wow!
    Your parents’ story gives a whole new meaning to “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning”.

    Many lessons. Thank you for sharing.

  7. feministramblings says:

    I don’t mean to be rude but I honestly don’t get the point of your story. FGM is very sad. But it seems like you are trying to justify violence, humiliation and rape. Women don’t have to go through this. Saying it’s all over is what makes women stay in abusive relationships hoping that by prayer it will pass away. For many, it never does.
    I’m sorry but your story doesn’t inspire me in anyway. The only part that moved me was the FGM part and being denied the pleasure of sex and a fulfilling consummation of marriage is terrible. But complicating with violence instead of understanding? Sorry dear, I would never look at this story as a message of patience, tolerance and inspiration. Understanding should have been key from the beginning.

    1. gbemisoke says:

      I do not agree with you.

      Not only are there lots of inspiring messages in this story, it must have taken her a lot of courage to share and while I do not know the writer or her mum, I respect their courage.

      In an ideal world, understanding would be key from the very beginning, but many many women were mutilated because their parents did not know better. This is a story of triumph. Of success in spite of the rocky beginning. Perhaps you have walked an easy road, but not everyone else has had that privilege. For them it is inspiring.

      So, dear “feminist rambler”, “I don’t mean to be rude but I honestly don’t get the point of your story”.

      1. DeMorrieaux says:

        Hi Gbemi.

        Thank you for your comments and also for following my blog!
        Glad it somewhat inspired you.
        And yes, you summarized it beautifully: “It is a story of triumph!”

        Thanks! 🙂

    2. DeMorrieaux says:

      Dear Feministramblings,

      Yes, I agree: you perhaps really missed the point of this “story”.
      This post does in NO WAY at all justify violence, humiliation, rape or abuse. Notice me saying how sad and depressed every single person involved was?
      The truth is that, ideally, things would have been very different, but this is how things were. The story isn’t made up, so there is little I can do about that.
      Notice me saying I often encouraged my mother to run away; notice the mention of the suicide attempts; notice me saying I just wished it would all just come to an end? There are many parts I left out (“I won’t talk about all the things that happened in-between, as this would make this post way too long”), simply because I wanted to focus on the (more or less in/direct) effect my mother’s circumcision had on my upbringing.

      This post is about many things.
      – it is about ignorance (the society’s) regarding FGM
      – it is somewhat about arranged/forced marriage
      – it is about dynamics within marriage
      – it is about frustration, weakness and alcoholism
      – it is about UNDERSTANDING (or lack thereof)
      – it is about being educated enough to make informed decisions
      – it is about standing up for what you believe in/ defending yourself
      – to some an extent it is about independence
      – and it certainly is about faith/ hope.

      My parents have pushed every single one of their children to stand upon their own two feet and being able to support themselves.. come what may.
      Had my mother been “independent/educated enough” to support herself, she would have divorced my father. She ran away with us a couple of times, begged the police for help more than just a handful of times, sought a root out- even through suicide. I remember the day she took my sisters and me to a bridge and almost jumped.. just to be rescued by a stranger.
      Today, my mother helps women who go through similar situations; telling them of their options: you do NOT have to go through all this. Numerous woman have stayed in our home as well- due to the fact that they suffered domestic violence and it proved too unsafe (for obvious reasons). Today, my father speaks to men about the importance of maintaining peace and open communication within their home, and never lifting their hand against a woman. You see, there are many parts I left out..

      If this story does not inspire you, that is perfectly ok; as no single story does that for all its readers. but the truth remains: look/read carefully, and there is something in it that you could learn from too.

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your feedback!
      Stay blessed. 🙂

    3. Errrr, sorry oh but isn’t it a true story? I believe she told it as it happened. Whether there’s a message of hope or not, the story has to be told. And I didn’t get the idea, from reading this, that women should stay in a violent relationship. It is what it is AS it is.

  8. Sumbo says:

    Wow! What can I say?? What an incredible story! I can’t comprehend the woman and man (or indeed the family) u describe in the story as being the one I have come to know and love. I know I admired mummy but I have a deeper level of respect for her. I started the story and had to put it aside becos of ghd tears welling up in my eyes for young Maggie. But I took the time to return to the story.

    This is truly a story of joy coming in the morning! I feel humbled by the story and how deep love can heal any wound. I’m sooo glad for mum and dad. It however makes me question whether I would have such courage? Such resilience? I guess d only person mum could call on that could have really come through for her was God. And come through he did! I bless God that he was with mummy all those years and that he kept her and u girls.

    To those that were not inspired by this story – its ok – it was not meant for u. For me it has given me encouragement and a challenge. I know who to turn to now if I feel the need to give up when visititudes of life come. I thank God for you Mrs Magaret Makinwa!

    Thank u too Viks for sharing such a deep part of u, this was truly a brave thing to do! I pray that God will continue to uphold and strengthen u. That u will never depart from the centre of his will. Love u baby! Muah

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Awww Sumbo,

      You’re too sweet *blushes*
      There is usually much more to a person than first meets the eye.
      It often takes time and/or just an opportunity to share.

      (I am waiting for permission to share yours.. *wink.wink*)

      Thank you so much! x

  9. olusimeon says:

    wow.,,almost can’t find the words, what a story of triumph. you don’t go through stuff like that and come out empty-handed.. that’s evident in the way you parents now help other people dealing with life and relationships..
    even you, probably can’t articulate all what you have learnt and are still learning.
    Thank God for the way he makes everything beautiful..
    it’s just that it’s not all the time we can hold on.. without taking matters into our own hands..
    thanks for sharing this..

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Hi Olusimeon,

      Yes, you are very right. There are many things I found difficult to talk about; or maybe, I had to leave out. There were many many lessons learnt. I am still learning and enjoying the journey. It never really stops, does it? It is just wonderful to look back after a while and thank God for how far He has brought me/us.
      We all have stories to tell.. I just chose to share a tiny bit of mine. 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by!
      I really do appreciate it.

  10. Hi. says:

    Can’t talk. This is so touching. I can relate.

    I am 27yrs, married and was circumcised…partial circumcision though. Not all of d Clit was cut but I know all d effort I have to put in to enjoy sex like 5%.

    Female genital Mutilation is wrong and d painful part is that it still happens.

    Kudos to ur mum. God will see her through. Drs. Help too. There r some drugs that provide partial relief and ectasy. She should ask her Drs.

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Why.. this is amazingly shocking. I havn’t actually come across a young female who has undergone that procedure.
      Something seriously needs to be done. It still happening in this time and age is simply unacceptable!
      I’m really sorry for what you have (and are partly probably still) gone(going) through.

      Yes, my mom has sought medication and drugs etc too but they have so far not helped much <– her words. I'll certainly also do some research on this. Unfortunately, most med. Drs. here in Austria are almost entirely ignorant about issues relating to female circumcision.. *sighs* It is well.
      I pray you find complete pleasure and enjoyment in being intimate with your husband. Thanks for opening up too! 🙂

  11. Lord God! Are you telling me they’re back together?! Happily? Wow! My parents haven’t gone through half of that but I have lost hope that they’d come back together. But this, this is an amazing story. A million ‘thank yous’ for sharing such a personal story. I’m very happy for you & your parents.

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Thank you so much.
      Yes, they are still together. It is obviously not a perfect marriage, but it is a wonderfully fulfilling and loving one, I want to believe.
      It is one with a lot of room to grow, and willingness to love more and more each day.

      Once again, thank you for stopping by! 🙂

  12. Please please please, may I have permission to re-blog?

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Aww, you’re so sweet. Haha.. of course you’re free to reblog. 🙂
      Many thanks!

  13. jegzy says:

    woooooow this is so touching. thank God for His mercies. thank God for your parents, thank God for you; you are a strong woman. much love x

  14. Reblogged this on olorungemstone and commented:
    This post really had me thinking and renewed my hope…

  15. ubernon says:

    Good lord, this is a personal story, a little too personal for the www perhaps?

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Not at all, I think.
      My blog is a very personal one in general. I like to nickname it “Stones of Remembrance”. This is how I decided to start it, and this is how I’ll continue. Stories are meant to be told.. 🙂

      “He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Tell them..” (Joshua 4:21-22)

      I see my stories are building blocks. Some are hilarious, some sad, some are simply what they are, stories, some are beautiful and touching, some (many) are romantic.. The one thing they have in common: they are all part of who I am.. and who I’m becoming to be.

      I have chosen to share ME.
      Some will like it, some won’t.. but that’s not the point. The point is: I am sharing. 🙂

      So, thank you for stopping by.

  16. Anonymous says:

    WOW! a very heart-felt story. This is a beautiful and very inspiring story, Vict. Nicely written. It teaches patience, perseverance and hope. I’m touched! Your mother is a strong woman.
    Not sure how someone could misinterpret what your story is trying to convey.
    When reading this, i thought ” Vict! wow! this is personal!” but another point for her sharing this amazing story is so that we can learn from it.

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Haha.. there is only ONE person who calls me “VicT”.. Gloriaaaa!! 😀

      Thanks for stopping by *hug*

  17. Anonymous says:

    hahaha….you found me out. Taking time to actively come check your stories, they are lovely. You’re a writer oh! (this is not to big you up) but seriously, they’re good and refreshing. I really think you should become a writer. jheezz! I’m starting to get hooked* bookmarks page*. Definitely sharing. Speak soon.

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Hahahaaha.. you’re too sweet lol. Thank you! 🙂

  18. Tolu says:

    Incredible. Literally shocking, painful, sad and inspiring all at the same time.
    Your mother is such a strong person. I somehow feel you have that spirit too.
    Great things await. This pain would not have been in vain! AMEN

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Lol.. you’re actually the second person to refer to me as having my mother’s spirit in the past two months.. Hmmmmm

  19. DeMorrieaux says:

    That’s what I always say. Big AMEN 🙂

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