My Journey to Motherhood

May 20, 2021 | Women's corner

My Journey to Motherhood

Life, they say, happens.

My physical and spiritual family knew my love for children. I was the one who would be willing to stay back and watch over the younger ones or be willing to, at short or no notice, serve in the kids’ department in church. The one everyone thought will probably start a family in her twenties.

Moving from Port Harcourt in the eastern part of Nigeria to Lagos in the west was God’s providence. An invitation to attend church service by my older sister and her husband led to my being baptised into Christ as a teen on May 28, 1989.  Now, 31 years after, I am still hooked on Jesus!

As I moved into singlehood and the years rolled by, marriage seemed so far-fetched. I struggled through so many nights, weeping in prayer and fasting on my own and sometimes with other sisters in the church. God caused my path to cross with the love of my life, Gilbert. A little over a year into our dating I had to undergo a surgery to remove fibroids which caused excessive bleeding during my periods and literally grounded my life for about a week every month for years.

At 37, I decided to get the fibroids out and the doctor advised that I quickly plan to have a child, otherwise the fibroids would reoccur. I smiled and said God will make it happen after I get married. He insisted I may not have much time for that. I affirmed, though with pain and uncertainty in my heart, that if it was God’s will, He’ll make it happen. My conviction has always been to raise children within the family unit; I am a disciple of Christ! I know no other way. I carried on with life, asking God while in the waiting to grant me peace with where I was, even if it was sometimes beyond my understanding.

On April 13, 2012, Gilbert and I got married. Our journey as a couple and potential parents began. After a year the pressure started coming from within and outside the church. He was 40 and I was 39-years-old. God bless the hearts of those who asked for the most part with good intentions even when occasionally not properly communicated. As much as I tried to smile through the situation to keep a positive mindset, it got to me sometimes. Philippians 4:4-9 was my go-to scripture in those moments.

We tried to have a child in the first two years, while visiting fertility specialists, taking tests on end, and some were very invasive. Results showed that my husband had a very low sperm count, almost nil, owing to the chemotherapy administered during his treatment for cancer 23 years before. We both prayed and were moved in our hearts to commence an adoption process while still seeking ways to conceive.

The frequent visits to the hospital and specialists took a toll on us, coupled with increasing responsibilities at work, lots of funds spent and life in busy and stressful Lagos. During the period of our engagement, we had discussed the desire to adopt even if God blessed us with children and so decided to continue to pursue the adoption process. We sent in an application and after three years of following up, we were told our file could not be found. The welfare officer we met asked that we put in another application which we did immediately. With much prayer and fasting, weeping and begging for a period of four additional years, God used a change in the Lagos State Government policy to accelerate the adoption process thereby reducing most of the protocols. We finally got a provisional approval and were given 18 months to search for a baby of our choice from a list of approved orphanages.

After what became another heart-wrenching search, God brought Josef into our lives. The 18 months’ wait felt like being pregnant in my heart with Josef. He was about 2-weeks-old when I first saw him. It was love at first sight! I knew in my heart he was the one. It took another six weeks before he finally came home. Again, God used a judge at the court to order his release to us from the orphanage and for his final adoption process after an extensive medical test carried out on all three of us.

Josef has turned my life upside down; a welcome disruption. God has brought laughter and joy to our hearts as I see him grow each day into an adorable child. He is a constant reminder to me of God’s loving-kindness. When he crawls onto my lap and curls up in my arms, he feels safe and sleeps off like nothing else matters. This is one of the joys of motherhood.

The loads of experiences gathered on this journey have shaped my perspective about motherhood. It goes beyond physically birthing a child. When a soul instinctively calls a woman “Mama,” “Mum” or “Mummy,” it speaks to their experience of motherly love, care, nurturing, etc. Romans 8:15 comes to mind. (The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”) This is quite common in some cultures in Nigeria, Africa, and the Middle East.  Though without a child of my own for many years, I did not feel less a mother. I had spiritual children I adore.

I understand the journey to motherhood has been and will be different or somewhat similar for others, but it speaks to one of God’s purposes for women.  As I continue on this journey, my heart is full of gratitude to the beautiful-hearted sisters God has used to shape me. I am reminded there will be many more days ahead of anxiety, uncertainty, as well as explosive joy from my child’s milestone achievements, transformation, etc. As the days roll into years and these varied stages make their mark in my motherhood journey, may God grant me the wisdom and strength to embrace them graciously.

“Being a mama can be tough, but always remember in the eyes of your child, no one does it better than you.” – Unknown

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful women!

Perita Kimeng has been a disciple for the past 31 years. She was baptised on May 28, 1989 as a teenager and has served in various capacities, especially with the Singles Ministry of the Islands Region of International Church of Christ (ICOC), Lagos and currently serves with her husband, Gilbert Kimeng, in the Business and Professional Ministry of the Islands Region. They are both blessed with a son, Josef.
 
Perita holds a Diploma in Law and a Bachelor’s degree in History and International Relations. She has a passion for youth development and works with and mentors several youths across West, Central and East African countries.

She serves as an Executive Director at StreSERT Services Limited, a human resource outsourcing company in Lagos, Nigeria with expertise in expatriate management, human resources and project/event management spanning over 22 years. She leads the Human Resource Services team at StreSERT and also plays a complimentary role in providing support to the human resources outsourcing team.

 

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