You could say that I was among the “cool chics” in class during my school days. I took time to dress up, look good and still came out top of the class. I was so driven by my will and passion to always be the best. I gave no room to distractions. My head was fully in the game.
I’d look at pregnant women in my class, struggling to meet up with one assignment or the other, always asking for lecture notes and sometimes looking completely lost, worn out and confused in their maternity dresses, and I would wonder why they didn’t just take it one at a time, why they bothered with pregnancy considering how stressful the final year of school was. I thought they didn’t have their priorities right.
I tried to help one in particular, Ugochi, as much as I could because we were pretty cool prior to her wedding and subsequent pregnancy. But, I have to admit, inside me I was insensitive. I thought she could come to school earlier, actually do an assignment before the deadline, write her own notes most of the time, “if only she put her mind to it.”
Well, guess what. Just a few years down the line, I became the pregnant lady in class. Here I was, with a son, pregnant and running a post graduate program. I never seemed to catch a break. There was simply no time to accommodate all I had to do in one day.
By the time I woke up, prepared breakfast, dressed and dropped my son off at preschool, came back to prepare for my own school, stayed in traffic to get there, I would be completely exhausted. I joined the no-makeup gang not out of my own will, but because I didn’t have the precious few minutes it would take to get some makeup on. I constantly asked my colleagues a whole lot of questions trying to make sure I was up to date on everything going on. I’d sacrifice hours of sleep, spending it on my table writing assignments, studying or doing research work. It finally dawned on me: I had become the pregnant lady in class. I had become the lady with the rounded belly and maternity dresses, always looking tired and barely meeting assignment deadlines, and who everyone unconsciously grouped as “not one of us.”
How did life become so busy? I was no longer in the “cool gang.” Lots of females dressed better than me in class (because they weren’t pregnant, obviously) and I never seemed to stop being in a hurry. My attention was always needed elsewhere, and so my day was always planned to the last hour, detailed. Take, for instance, me being in school by 3 PM. It meant I would be late to pick up my son from preschool. And how about lunch and dinner and chores, guess who that was on too?
I quietly dusted most of my colleagues in the first semester results, and they were all astonished. Most of them couldn’t believe I could still make good grades despite all my responsibilities. The results were a huge consolation to me for all my sleepless nights, but I couldn’t help but feel terrible for all the times I was insensitive toward pregnant women who were trying their best to meet up with family life and schooling.
Women are the real superheroes, and deserve to be celebrated. Ugochi, my classmate back in our undergraduate days, was probably trying her very best to meet up with everything. And the same goes for most pregnant and family women out there. Some have to work 9-5 every single day, and still find a way to meet up with other numerous responsibilities. Oh and they still find a way to be graceful while at it. Some play the role of wife, mother, nanny, cook, primary care giver, business owner and career woman, all at the same time, without breaking a sweat.
So if you’re reading this today, show some love to that pregnant woman in your class, or at your place of work. A kind word from you might just be all the encouragement they need to adjust their capes and go about their day.