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Worlds Apart

I am a first time mum with an almost 6-month old son. This is also the first time I’ve written anything this lengthy about being a mother (of course, I’ve written a ton of posts of Facebook). So, I’ll give a little back story to try and make this interesting, hopefully.

So when I found out I was pregnant, I was six weeks along. My husband and I had been trying for two months after our wedding, and we were elated! I was eager to feel the kicks and see my stomach grow. Thankfully, I had a beautiful pregnancy. Apart from throwing up a handful of times and having occasional migraines, I was fine.

Fast forward to May 23, 2017 at 7:32pm, I had my son on after about 5 hours of contractions and 30 minutes of pushing! I felt like a super woman. I had brought a human into this world, and I was proud of myself.

To the main matter: In Ghana, working mothers are entitled to at least three months paid maternity leave. Thankfully, I got mine and was able to watch my son grow. During that time, it is tradition for an elderly woman, most likely the woman’s mother, to stay with her after delivery. Meaning, either the woman moves into the elderly woman’s house after delivery or the latter moves into the new mother’s house for some time. It is assumed that the elderly woman would be in a better position to handle the baby, and teach the new mother how to take care of the baby properly.

I will pick some interesting bits I learned from my mother and seek to show how different those bits are from how things are done in other foreign countries.

For lack of words to describe the process of bathing a baby, I will just drop this picture:

This is the “acceptable” way of bathing your baby in Ghana until they are able to stand on their own, without support.

Baby wearing is a thing everywhere in the world. Though in Ghana, some mothers buy “modern” baby carriers to wear their babies, the most common way of wearing (carrying) a baby is on your back by using a cloth to tie him or her to you. Again, I’ll drop a picture to make it clearer.

Just so you know, if your baby is heavy or your wear him for a long time during the day, your back will hurt so bad at the end of the day. However, like most baby wearing techniques, it gives you back your hands! (lol)

Breastfeeding is a big deal in Ghana! When your baby cries in public, you will mostly find one stranger assuming he’s hungry and instructing you to breastfeed him. Nosy huh?! And yes, lactating mothers can pop their breasts out anywhere for their kids without getting disapproving glares from people (I still can’t bring myself to doing this though).

On that note, I’m enjoying being a mother to Leroy though it can be very frustrating at times, and I sometimes wonder if I’m doing a great job or not. Regardless of the world in which babies are brought up, it is exciting to see them develop and be eager to learn the plethora of things the world has to offer.

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