Born Female and Ibo- Ella Umeh-Ezeadilieje

Being born female and Igbo is both a blessing and a curse. Our society holds the girl child to moral standards that even the angels will aspire to….and we are held accountable for so many things, including the actions of men. We are taught that marriage is a woman’s crowning glory, motherhood her reason for being. Our African society has used women in different ways, even as legal tender. Plenty care is taken to raise the girl child, plenty care is taken to hide some truths from her, knowing that she will liberate herself from the shackles that society has bound her with.
Veronica was always harping on being a good, hardworking wife, to the man who marries u…it was like the anthem in our house of four girls and one boy. I don’t think I ever heard her admonish the boy about impregnating someone’s daughter…. no….it was about her own daughters not disgracing her…. I guess it meant that if the boy impregnates someone, it will just be him testing his microphone…..
We were taught so many things…big bros was playing ball in the field or watching TV….though as Veronica’s son, he got some training and beatings, but the girls were the stars of the show. I can’t forget the yam he cooked for us one day after school….and the beating he got????
In the last few days, there have been plenty of talk on single motherhood and how some men bash them, other women blame them and so it goes….I don’t know….I have always had an affinity for them, knowing that I could have easily been one….yes….with the training i got, and the sex education I didn’t get, I could have fallen into the trap of teenage pregnancy. Some of us believe that a single mother is that morally loose lady, who gets pregnant and the father denies responsibility or refuses to marry her because she was trying to entrap him…
A single mother is any woman raising a child or children alone. She could be a widow, a divorcee, victim of domestic violence, a fugitive from an abusive spouse, a teenager, or a lady who decided marriage is not for her and just went ahead to become a mother. I have been through three pregnancies and while my boyfriend was there all thru, I know how difficult they were and the pain I went thru…. knowing this, I am awed at the courage and resilience of these women.
Some of these women are dealing with impossible odds, in a judgemental society, who holds women to a higher moral standard, blaming us for even how a man behaves. Some of these women are single mothers today, after escaping with their lives and the clothes on their backs, just to make a life for themselves and their children, while some are dealing with the pain of the loss of a spouse or partner…
Let’s talk about the young, unwed mothers, removing the widows, the divorced and the separated. It takes two to tango…. where are the fathers? Some of these women fell pregnant because they and their partners weren’t smart enough to use protection, so this is the result. Please, I am not talking of ladies who deliberately get pregnant to entrap a man into marriage and have their plans back fire on them, neither am I talking of ladies who stalk or date celebrities just to become their baby mamas.
I’m talking of women who are getting the short end of the stick because our society does not hold the men accountable, they will applaud or forgive absentee fathers and demonise single mothers. A responsible man should think of the aftermath of unprotected sex…. oh, u impregnated her by accident? Wow….u were just walking along the way and your naked, fertile, unprotected penis just fell into her vagina??? Wow…happy survival Sir.
We are all responsible. A man and a woman copulate to make a baby, they should collaborate to raise the baby. Some women bash single mothers, blame them for being pregnant and feel superior just because u had your kids within a marriage. Some of us are just mothers of dead babies…. you aborted, she had hers, who is better? Men protect their own daughters, but abandon someone else’s daughter that they got pregnant? Our society is so warped that even landlords refuse to rent their houses to single mothers…. I mean, what stupidity is this? You think she will stain your house and make your daughter pregnant just by staying there? As long as she can pay the rent, that is the only issue that should concern u.
I am friends with some single mothers and i see their daily struggles, i see their pain, that pain of rejection from the man who loved and left and that of society. I have friends whose parents threw out of the house because they are pregnant…. that one is too bitter a pill for me to swallow. My child? Who needs me now more than ever…my own flesh and blood for whom i went to the other world to bring forth? I will now sacrifice her on the altar of her mistakes? Not possible.
Before you have sex, understand the consequences. We are very deficient in sex education, which is why a girl will believe that after sex, u can jump up and wash off….no pregnancy! Or u can have sex and drink soda water…. you will just piss the baby out??
Unprotected sex equals baby…. not just pleasure and orgasm…
Ladies, skin to skin sex equals baby, not just air time, car, rent, school fees, slay fees etc….sometimes, a baby is in the equation. This does not mean a man must marry a woman he impregnates….no, this is 2018, we don’t do shotgun marriages any more, and ladies, I assure u, it will be worse when a man marries u out of a sense of duty….u are a burden, if he doesn’t love and marry u of his own freewill, u are in for a life time of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction. But if the child is his, he must take and share financial responsibility and play his role as a father to his child, or else the cycle of irresponsibility will never be broken. Who else can teach a man to be a man if not a man?
I have seen single mothers put their lives on hold, raise kids and go on to do great things. Do not let one mistake deny u your vision and your future. Motherhood is a beautiful thing…. A child is a precious gift, irrespective of how he came about. Your choice to have that child was never a mistake. Never. It will be hard, no doubt, but pls don’t give up.
Let’s not judge and make pronouncements on a woman’s life just cos she has a baby. No child is a mistake. None. If it were, a lot of us will be mistakes!

Ella Umeh-Ezeadilieje is a Nigerian writer and Business Woman


  1. Ella Umeh-Ezeadilieje is blessed. Her writing are both comical and truthful. She embodies the total woman. I look forward to her writing books. Anther Chimamanda in the making who knows.

  2. You have said the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
    Women should take charge of their lives… this issue of pregnancy, and absentee Father’s is so heart breaking.

  3. This is so true. This is one of the best writeups I have seen this year. There is so much pressure on women,and the stigmatization of being a single parent. Everyone should be responsible for their actions,even the men. Well done ma’am

  4. Beautifully written!, However, I particularly noted the phrt “one mistake”. Indeed, it’s a mistake cos it happened once!. I have sister who has had 2 kids in 2 years for 2 men she can’t seem to point at. Note she was 25years old the first time and a graduate. How do explain this?

  5. You have said it all ma’am. My mother is a single mom. One thing I loved about my grandparents was how they took care of my mom when she took in at age 15. I can remember when I was 9yrs, one of her friends made a comment saying “na was oh, I no no where chemist dey when I go flush am for toilet?”.
    Ma’am, do you know that right now, am 28yrs,a graduate,working and married. If not that my baby died last month, my mom would have been the youngest grandma which God will give me more that will stay. And this her friend is still single like my mom.
    Today, everybody is congratulating my mom for keeping me.
    God bless her for me. Am happy today because she helped me survived. Thanks again.


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