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Isio Knows Better: Maternal Instinct



This is true. I know better. I lay no claims to being more knowledgeable than anyone, but I do confess that I know better than I did yesterday, last year and a decade ago.

You see, there is this conversation that we all have with ourselves, within ourselves and most times I just listen to mine. So, here’s an introduction to the Isio that is; beneath the surface.

There’s my mind: sharp, witty, caustic, 100% Realist. No nonsense. A ferocious reader; likes to acquire knowledge, highly opinionated.

And there’s my soul: soft, kind, maternal, nurturing, and forgiving. She is the lover, the spiritual one, the deep thinker, very empathic.

And there’s my body: which is where I come in, this vessel, experiencing life. The voice of the mind and soul. Likes beautiful things. Does not like driving, does not like traffic, absolutely detests saliva, sweat and yucky bodily fluids, loves laughing, exotic food and pretty much is concerned with the more mundane things of life. She is the everlasting referee between the caustic mind and the sensitive soul.

This is Isio.

Isio Knows Better is an attempt to capture the shocking and highly entertaining conversation within myself. Now I must say that these conversations happen in various languages, in any situation and underneath a poker face and a hidden smile.

I walk into my apartment and three things happen simultaneously as I slip my feet out of my stilettoes and into my comfy “house slippers”. My mind mulled and wondered vaguely for the umpteenth time what Freud would have to say about the things I “chose” to put in my apartment – white walls, low ambience light and clean crisp lines in my furniture. My mind of course thinks I’m something that I KNOW I will not like to hear, (the little tyrant), and she is waiting for some Freudian psycho-babble to justify her opinion- (Like I care what Freud thinks -no offence Freud). It’s my house, and no, I am NOT painting my walls orange, you little witch!

My soul is calm, content. She runs a message through my consciousness about the sharp edges in the modern-minimalistic furniture in this house with the white walls that I love so much. She shows me how “hazardous” this will be to a child. One second… and she manages to sell me on the merits of child-proofing, by showing me vividly the many horrific ways my enemy’s child (definitely NOT my child) could:

1. Bang their head against my coffee table.
2. Slip on my tiled floors and split their lip on my lacquered finished white TV stand and/or vomit on my white walls.

I winced.
“I’m hungry!” my body tells me through hunger pangs, so I headed straight to my fridge. I reheated the moin-moin and turned on the TV. Many episodes of Suits and a few hours later I am fast asleep.

I wake up, handle a few business calls and emails then head to my parents’ house. Our housekeeper was home. She had left her son in the living room while she did the laundry outside. He was sleeping soundly. He was such a tiny beauty. I smiled at his curled little fist and chubby feet. I go to my sister’s room – convinced some of my clothes are tucked between her mountain of clothes. I am determined to find them. One of the blessing of having two sisters and a gazillion cousins is that you MUST perform “census” on yours and their clothes unexpectedly, you just might find something beautiful you never even knew was missing in the first place…
“Waaaaaah! Waaaaah! Waaaaaah!”

I froze.
Waaaaaaaaaah! Waaaaaah! Waaaah! Waaaah!

Shuo, wetin be dat? No be pikin dey cry so?

Just my luck. Mother is out, and my sisters are at work. I rush to the living room. Baby Ayo is up. He is wailing and flailing. His little toothless mouth is quivering. He is a fiesty cryer, this one.

I pick him up… I bounce him gently in my arms and do the whole cooing and baby babble I have seen adults do. He likes my language and begins to calm down. I find that this comes quite naturally. I am pleased. Aha! I do have the Maternal Instinct afterall!

Baby Ayo is staring at me with round eyes. I squint at him and try to wonder what he is thinking about. Probably …

Who is this one carrying me like wood so? See her head, amateur! Is that how to coo to a baby? Premium baby like me. Pstchewwwwwwwwww. I will just do you strong tin na. In fact, I will just vomit on your white shirt. Yeah… that top left hand corner, it looks like a great spot for regurgitated breast milk…

IYA AYOOOOOOOOO!” I scream with the full force of my lungs.

Ewa gb’omo yin ooooo!” (Come and carry your child!)I wail even louder. I could hear Iya Ayo stumbling over buckets to rush to where we were. I hand him over to her gingerly. I realize that vomiting is something that babies do, and that my horror of body fluids WILL have to give way to this when my baby comes.

My mind tells me that our son will be a masterpiece. He will be so intelligent that he would do the honorable thing and angle his neck away from me and vomit on his father. Something about appreciating the glorious pains of childbirth I had to bear for his sake.

Mischievously I share this thought on my BBM, and tons of messages started pouring in. The men thought it was funny; and the women (especially new mothers) sent me alarmingly descriptive ways I shall have to do things to ensure my baby’s comfort. One said, and I quote:
Hahahhaaaa, Isio, you never start. You go see wehnn! Wait, till your pikin nose block with cattarh and e no fit breathe. Na only you go use your mouth suck the thing commot.

Ahhhh, Jesus! I shiver and shudder. I am close to dumping my phone in horror. What is that?

Another one said:
Lmaooo! Isio-Isio. Wait naaaaaa, na only vomit you dey talk? looool! You never see where you go take cotton wool abi na cotton bud sef, chukk am inside Robb come chukk am inside the pikin yansh make e for fit shit. And that shit dey smell eh! Hmmmn, my sister, e no easy, but you must do am. Na you be mama na!

GREAT GOD HAVE MERCY! My mother did not warn me about these things o. I reply that my son will be too sophisticated to shit smelly shit, and that it would smell like roses and she will beg me for the air freshner that I use to “scent” my house when she comes visiting. I shall tell her smugly that it was simply my baby’s poop. His father and I would be so proud of our “masterpiece”.

I wait at home patiently for my mother. I had questions. We had dinner together- a delicious Urhobo meal of starch and owo soup with plenty plenty mede-mede-fish-tins inside (just the way I like it). I made sure she was well fed and sated before I bombarded her with questions. I asked her if parents MUST suck catarrh from babies noses, if we MUST induce poo-poo with Robb and cotton wool (this sounds so wrong). Did she do it? (She said no). She agreed on the baby proofing thing. Especially when they become toddlers.

I ask again about the catarrh-cold thing. There MUST be another way, as me I no sure say oyinbo dey use mouth clean pikin nose o! . She said she never did that with any of her 6 kids. That my friends’ responses could simply be a cultural alternative that had been passed down from generation to generation. It wasn’t set in stone, but some do it because that is what they learnt. That the maternal instinct is such a powerful thing. You do what you must for your child. It is what it is.

As I lay down in bed to sleep that night, I mull over the events of the last 24 hours. Most people argue that the maternal Instinct is wired into every woman’s DNA. That we are genetically pre-disposed to responding to a child’s cry. Some argue that this is not the case. That some do not want kids, even if they are biologically capable of birthing them. I am reminded of the stories I have heard of women who throw away their kids or abandon them.

I am reminded of one of such cases that I had seen as a Unilag student, of another student who tried to flush an “induced foetus” down the toilet. The image of the little one stuck there upside down with his perfectly formed toes in the air is an image I wish I could wipe from my memory. I wondered what “Freud” would have to say about that. I ask my smart-mouthed mind what Freud would have to say about this.
She ignores me.
I ignore her back.

I am close to dreamland. It had been a good day. I am happy, though the memory of the “induced foetus” saddened me. I say a prayer for his soul. Generally, I am content, as I look forward to my future. I pray to God that my mother is around when I become a mother. Her experience and wisdom is a gift that I do not take for granted. At all.

Isio Wanogho is a top-model, TV Personality and entrepreneur. She is conversant in five languages and has 12 years of experience in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Isio, popularly known by her brand name Isio De-laVega, captivates audiences with her signature wide smile and relatable, quirky personality which endears her to many. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @isiodelavega

Isio De-laVega Wanogho is a Nigerian supermodel, a multi-award winning media personality and an interior architect who is a creative-expressionist at her core. She uses words, wit and her paintings to tell stories that entertain, yet convey a deeper meaning. Follow her on Instagram @isiodelavega and visit her website: to see her professional body of work.



    February 4, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I believe some people are just not wired that way..I know of some one if you tell her to watch your kids,they would go hungry ooo.Or rather they always put themselves first so if a baby comes the baby doesn’t get their attention.It must always be about them

  2. jcsgrl

    February 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Isio I looove you. You’re such a witty child. Now onto the sucking catarrh…hear ye hear ye. I WILL NOT DO IT!!! C’mon naa there are better ways of doing stuff without ingesting gooey substance. I detest fluids too and will not do it. As for helping with constipation, feed them right (plenty green veggies) and you wont have to stick your hands up their rectum to induce shit

    • c'est moi

      February 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      lol… trust me i said thesame words about sucking catarrh, not until my son couldn’t breath.. it’s the most horrible experience with him so far! i was scared to my bones and still scared as i type this! i didn’t know when my lips grabbed his tiny delicate nose… i’ve always hated poop, i just can’t explain it, it’s crazy! but love does amazing things. about constipation, when your baby is too young to eat solids and he is wailing in pain, you’ll do anything to help him out of his misery. my dear, when you hold your baby, you will do anything, i mean ANYTHING to make sure they wouldn’t even shed a tear unless it is totally necessary

    • c'est moi

      February 4, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      and about the poop, (sorry, lost track) i’m virtually the poop-cleaner of all times. I see diaper gravy at least twice a day and it isn’t pleasant but i now look forward to it cause i’d rather clean poop than have him constipated. sometimes, it’s so messy it leaks but I’ve totally forgotten all about my ‘i’ll never clean poop’ days. Your baby will puke in your mouth and pee as well and all you’ll say is ‘Mummy loves you, slushy’ ‘oo cutie cutie’ etc lol. It comes naturally my dear 🙂

    • Nominee

      February 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      And with these words, you have successfully given Isio heart attack!

    • jcsgrl

      February 5, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      And me too…you have given me the heebie jeebies. Gosh I hate cleaning poop. Was at my cousin’s house recently and the youngest oh soo cute baby pooped and the mama handed me diapers and wipes. Kai I did a few hail marys, held my breadth and proceeded to clean the goatlike poop. phew thank God it wasnt messy. Now that I think of it I dont mind the goat-like looking poop…lol

    • Bee

      February 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      You can’t afford to detest bodily fluids if you want a kid someday.

  3. Chic

    February 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Nice piece Isio are you able to shorten your italicized intro that appears on all your articles? Too long to read in addition to your articles. Meanwhile where is Atoke? I don’t remember reading her Monday banter yesterday.

  4. wunmi

    February 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Isio is just so special. I love her write ups; they are so hilariously written and I can so relate to her experience. The last part did get me teary eyed though; the part about praying your mom is here when the children start coming. Mine is gone and I don’t know how I will ever get through planning my wedding without her and raising my children without her guiding me. I also just quiver at the thought of having to leave my babies at the daycare center *shivers*. U know Isio I think when u become pregnant and start having kids certain feelings would just come. Sometimes I don’t think we need a pre-plan. U would have already sucked the catarrh before realizing u just did; anything to make your baby comfy. you’ll see, you’ll just do all those seemingly disgusting things without even getting irritated

    • hot mama

      February 4, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Awwww biiiggg hugggg!!!!and nah we don’t need a pre-plan really, it just sets in except the woman is just a witch walahi….I remember when my mum told me certain things I would have to do during motherhood and I told her nahhh I don’t think so, especially the ‘sucking catarrh’ thingy….fast forward having my child,my dear dem no tell mi twice wen my pikin no dey breathe well cos of catarrh…I sucked the yeye thing out like I was sucking sauce from bone.

  5. Sola

    February 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Lol! im kinda in-love with you *pause* *no homo* and your writing!!! Lol

  6. FOB

    February 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Its official…..I’m in love with Isio…maybe small homo sef (just kidding), great sense of humor.

    • Eve82

      February 6, 2014 at 11:58 pm

      14years 🙂

  7. Que

    February 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Loving you more with each one. As for d catarrh there’s a nose pump alternative I hear…. google helps a lot too with alternatives. I don’t know about being born with maternal instinct or not, but when u have kids I’m sure u’ll survive… 🙂

    • TA

      February 5, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      You know I was thinking same. Google should offer alternatives,all that yucky catarrh thing? Urgh,I’ll pass.

    • Eve82

      February 6, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      Use a bulb syringe to suck it out.

  8. DAMMY

    February 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    nice pieces Isio @Wunmi is right, she would have sucked d catarh before realising cos u will pity d child in dat kinda situation…it all for good, being a mother is such a beautiful experience. may God provide u with good kids wen d times (amen)*proudmotherofone

  9. Modella

    February 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    @Chic,you can quietly skip the intro part,that what I did..why do we complain about everything? Atleast it written in italic*..I have say it before,I will never suck any catarrh from any child,God knows,I throw up easily!..Ahaaa,BN what happen to Isio hawt Bikini pics??

  10. Jane Public

    February 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    You wait until the Doctor gives you not so great news about your fertility, then you won’t know where the maternal instict will come from. You don’t know if you want something, until you are told you may not be able to have it. I am not a prophetess of doom, please don’t get me wrong, I am just sharing the experience of women I know who didn’t even think they wanted babies or were ready for motherhood until acronyms like FSH, LH, AMH, PCOS, POF, fibroids, Thyroid function started flying in from all sides and the maternal instinct they thought they never had or were never in tune with now becomes they only thing they think about, especially when they see friends and family getting pregnant like stork season is upon us. Once you cross the 30mark, its time you start going for those tests, just to be sure.

    • Grace E

      February 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      u dont have to wait till you cross the 30s mark to go for these tests…gone are the days when you had to wait till a certain age to have certain complications..

  11. Tincan

    February 4, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Love you already, Isio. I’m the girl that everyone thought was too career focused to do babies, yet when the little mister came, along came every instinct I needed. I’ve got to say I didn’t give him a bath or suck his nose for the first few months, his Dad did that, but once I was sure I wouldn’t drop him or suck the breath outta him, oh girl, I suck/bath away. I don’t let myself taste the goo tho’. I always fly straight to the loo *insert disgusted face*

    • Sim

      February 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      I need me a man like your husband. Bathing a baby? Sucking the mucus? Ha, biko, hook a babe up o

    • nwa babii

      February 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      LMAOOO gosh u beat me to it..I was just gonna ask her where is her husband from?wow!!humble man and rare gem!

  12. Sere

    February 4, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    This has to be the best writing i’ve seen here in recent times. Beautiful piece.

  13. my love

    February 4, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    You’ve gotten a fan in me Isio. We’re so much alike. I’ve always wondered how I’ll cope with child upbringing, I’m seriously praying for mother’s presence.
    On another note, must the child have catarrah?

  14. Dr. N

    February 4, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Lol @my love. No d child must not but prob will. I was one of those who threatened to lock my children in the bathroom for crying unnecessarily. I laugh at how patient I am, 2 kids later. What 9 months will do to u and your “career”. I like your forthright and witty style. Do u blog?

    • birdieblue

      February 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Love your blog!!! and I read your how to win over difficult people just in time!! thanks!!

    • Dr. N

      February 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Dancing azonto! Thanks

  15. Suki

    February 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Oh my God! Who is this Isio chick, I absolutely love her! What an amazing writer…muah

  16. everything's rosie

    February 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Isio, your piece is so beautifully written. Funny you find sucking catarrh disgusting. Sweetie, I was once wearing that shoe, two years, two kids changed all that. I’ve even had poo splayed all over my face while trying to change the diaper of an overactive baby. Yup! I once thought sucking catarrh disgusting. I wasn’t a mother then.

  17. Patticole

    February 4, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Well, the maternal instinct is for real and I tell you, when u see ur little one not breathing fine and you try the suction bulb and it doesn’t work, you will suck the nose out and look for a close by sink or trash can to spit it out. Also when you bambi tries to so hard to poop and you see tears in her/his eyes…no one will tell you before you look for the bulb again and fill it with warm water and insert it rectally. The happiness you feel after this is done is priceless. Every child is different, what worked for your mom might certainly not work for you. You will figure it out..take it from a NEWSIINGLEMOM

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      February 5, 2014 at 7:05 am

      May you be strengthened and loved just as selflessly as you have this child.

  18. Mz Socially Awkward...

    February 5, 2014 at 12:06 am

    Awww, all this sharing from BN mums and mums-to-be makes me feel like I wandered into a warm area of cyberspace 🙂 Biko, BN editors, articles from those on the path of motherhood would be nice from time to time. Especially as una don give us multiple tutorials on how we go use catch/keep the man…

    On the subject of babies and bodily functions, it’s a prayer point for me. When my godson lovingly pukes in my mouth, it’s always a disgusting experience. And whenever I have to change his older brother’s nappy, you need to hear me hollering in the bathroom like I’m being assaulted. Even the little boy just looks at me as if he’s wondering “wetin dey worry dis one sef, abi na aje she dey form? My friend wipe my bum, jare!”. But that smell, sha, how can somebody adjust to the aroma as part of daily living? Oh well, love conquereth all…

  19. Stephanie

    February 5, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Nice one

  20. birdieblue

    February 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Love the Isio’s write!! But abeg she should have shared what her mom did to avoid sucking catarrh out of the baby’s nose!!! that’s the one I mentally vomit at every time I see think about.

  21. love does it all...

    February 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I got pregnant in my first semester 200L. I was confused, broken, sad, almost going insane, you name it. The supposed baby daddy wasn’t helping matters either, He confessed to already having a son in the past out of the same silly mistake and unfeelingly told me to ”best get rid of it”. I was too scared to do that and was determined to tell my mum. I had thought of the worst that could happen to me, school, social life etc. Getting home that weekend, my head filled with strategies on how to spill the beans, I met my mum crying cos my elder sister of 24 just confessed that she was pregnant, dad was threatening to disown her and so on. jeeez, how I for do?! I got my pocket money, got back to school and got rid of it. Wedding plans, introduction blabla bla… fast forward to her delivery. Baby’s first word, was my name, at my touch he stops crying, I’m so attached to the baby, nobody ever mentioned sucking catarrh out of a baby’s nose to aid their breathing to me, when the time came, I just did it and even my sister went eeewwwww!, but oshe sha” – ewwww, but thanks though. his poop i clean with delight and when he started insisting on using the toilet, I’d be right there holding him through the process. He feels like my first. I still seek forgiveness from God everyday. I know I’ll do just fine when I get married and my babies start coming.
    Isio you have a fan in me!

    • jcsgrl

      February 5, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      Aww hugs…I’m laughing at your sister saying “eeewww then oshe sha”

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      February 6, 2014 at 12:23 am

      love truly does it all…. that sounds like the start of a wonderful relationship between you and your nephew and I pray that your heavenly Father’s love for you will bring the answers you need.

  22. Tayo

    February 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    [email protected] does it all….
    *hugs*. God has forgiven you. Now forgive yourself and live your life to the fullest :))))))

  23. done it, lived it and done with it

    February 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I always had this mind of can’t do that, can’t do this, won’t do this but watching my sisters pass through motherhood, i know that with love, Everything is Possible…. when you keep those tiny feet in your womb for nine months and they slip through your Vjayjay or you are cut open.. YOU WILL GO ANY LENGTH FOR THEM

  24. Autoprincess

    February 5, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Isio, I have promised myself that I will comment on your BN articles, whether I have something to contribute or not. Good job!

  25. whocares

    February 5, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    LOOOL. This was amazing.. I remember when I was about 7 and I was constipated, my grandma put me over her lap and squeezed water into my bumbum. lool. point is, you wont only do this for your baby, but even the more grown up child. LOOL.

    • jcsgrl

      February 5, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      Ha ha ha ha…thank God for grandmas. They even do more than your mama sef. My grandmother always joked that we destroyed all her wrappers from puking, pooping, slurping and external dumping of any other body fluids

    • whocares

      February 5, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      looool. Amen to that. I mostly grew up with my grandmamma, and that woman is a veteran! From squeezing water into my bum, and smacking that same bum when I wet the bed, to sleepless nights as I suffered from the “yellow pikin sickness” (the idea that light skinned kids were sickly.. I was sickly), prayers, sending my aunts to bring my party cloth all the way to Lagos, and the pampering.. Whilst I love my mother to death, my grandma, I worship the ground that woman walks on.

  26. Deep Soul

    February 6, 2014 at 10:49 am

    In my entire life, I have never been as exhausted as I am now. After I had my daughter, EVERYTHING changed. The energy I need to keep up with her is just impossible. The catarrh, the smelly poops, the spit-ups are all mild compared to the fact that I can no longer just go to bed at night and wake up in the morning because my daughter wakes up at least FIVE times EVERY night.
    Meanwhile in my former life, I was the sleep champion of Africa. I could sleep till 12 noon and not feel bad. The sleep deprivation is driving me crazy.
    However, like I always say, if for any crazy reason, I’m told that the only way I can still have my daughter is by giving away ALL sleep for the rest of my life, I GLADLY will without batting an eyelid!!
    The joys of motherhood cannot be fully expressed except you feel it yourself. I think it’s the greatest thing in the world.

  27. Toma

    February 6, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    I said a lot of all these and more while i was unmarried. But believe me when i say that maternal instincts take over without u realising just what point it happened. Before i married, i loved to sleep! I’d sooner lounge at home than go out. Everyone close to me knows not to wake me up, or else… fast forward to being a mum, i jump up at the slightest cry. about the poop, i dont mind one bit, infact i inspect d colour, texture and quantity every single time i change my baby. As for the catarrh, u really need not suck with ur mouth, there is a nasal aspirator i got from Boots, there’s a barrier between ur mouth and baby’s nose so u dont get the gooey stuff and it works excellently. I never did d mouth sucking bit. I hope this lil info helps

  28. jaybee

    February 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    well said @deep soul,i also could sleep for Africa before having my daughter some months ago,as tiring as it is,i do everything i have to do for her joyfully,i am also a pro now at cleaning poop,lol motherhood is surreal,its the best thing that can happen to a woman imo.may God grant those seeking for the fruit of the womb their hearts desire.

    • AAsh

      April 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Amen Oooooo. Thanks Jaybee. GOD bless you and yours.Amen

  29. D'dream

    February 18, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    love you isio. this write up bring to rememberance of grandma. she was the one who didnt give me up when my mum did. i was a very sickly child so much i couldnt walk or talk for the first three years since birth. mum taught i am gonna end up a vegetable. but thanks to my grandma. she is the thread that sustain my volatile existence from shredding. i worship the ground she walked on.

    i love all mothers and much more the grandmas of this world. they are the best.

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