I got this book late last year, and despite having heard a lot about the book, it wasn’t until the author, Buchi Emecheta died sometime last month that I finally got to read it. I’m most probably amongst the last set of people to be reading The Joys of Motherhood as almost everyone seem to have read this in the past.
The Joys of Motherhood, first published in 1979 tells the tale of a woman, Nnu Ego, the daughter of Agbadi who was respected in the community. The book takes us through her life from birth, marriage, childbirth and death. Nnu Ego’s life revolved round her family, her children most especially, making lots of sacrifices without much concern for herself. All this was done with the hope that someday in future, this same children would take good care of her in old age which is the popular belief. However, as time would tell, this was not to be the case as despite having two married daughters and two sons abroad (who seem to have forgotten about her), she still died a sad lonely woman who many regarded as mentally unstable. It wasn’t until she died that her children spent a lot of money for her funeral, the same money, which was never spent on her during her lifetime.
I liked this book and I’m still wondering why I never got to read it earlier. I like the fact that though the book was set way back around the early nineties, the struggles of being a mother and such traditional values ascribed to it is still very much relatable now in this present age. The pain Nnu Ego went through throughout her life makes me wonder if all her sacrifices were worth it. Did she ever enjoy the joys of motherhood she had sacrificed so much for!?
~”Her love and duty for her children were like her chain of slavery.”- Buchi Emecheta, The Joys of Motherhood~