THE CHRISTMAS GIFT

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“I know it’s very uncomfortable, but these pains means you’ll have your baby very soon. Just try to relax. You are one step closer to having your baby… “, the midwife was saying this to the woman in the labour room.  The pain was so agonizing for the soon-to-be  mum. It felt as though all the bones in her body were being crushed. She could feel her sweat streaming down her entire body. She found herself engaging all her muscles, at the same time putting in the required pressure needed to bring this being out of her.
“PUSH!, PUSH! “, the midwife yelled. She was a light-skinned,plus-sized, middle-aged woman.” Aaaargh! “, the expectant mother cried out. Outside the Labour room, the aunt to the about-to-be born baby waited anxiously. The father was out of town and wouldn’t be back until the following week.

” Wetin she born?! “, the aunt asked loudly from outside the window.” Na girl o!”, one of the nurses assisting the midwife answered. Almost immediately, the baby’s aunt rushed into the room, holding on to her wrapper to prevent it from falling off, as it was loosely tied round her waist.
The mother of the baby lay on the hospital bed, still breathing heavily. She looked like she had just been rescued from a near-death drowning experience. The soft cries of the baby filled room. This planted smiles on the faces of both the medical staff and the family members present. By her first cry, the baby had taken some air into her lungs for the first time in her life. This event meant the baby was alive and breathing.
“The mother of our child, you are indeed a strong woman”, the baby’s aunt remarked. She had said this with the smile still spread across her face. By now she was setting the baby’s items in place for use. The mother smiled to herself on hearing this, the statement made her realize something very significant, she had proven herself as a woman. Her prayers had been answered. She would walk with her head held high among her family and friends. She had moved from being called “Our wife” to “Our mother”. She would be called “Mummy”, not just by other children as she had been fondly called due to her kind nature, but by her child, her very own, her daughter, her blood.

“Na wa o, this pickin get hair”, one of the nurses remarked. “Na her papa she take am resemble, see, she carry him eyes sef. This one na Emeka”, said the baby’s aunt. At this time, the baby had been cleaned and dressed up. Her hair shone brightly from the baby oil that had been applied. The sweet scent of Landers baby powder penetrated the noses of those close by. The aunt was packing up the already used items into a bag. She had previously sent for recharge card.  She was itching to share the good news with everyone she could think of.
“No be now person they know who pikin resemble”, an unfamiliar voice interjected. The group, except the mother, turned in the direction of the voice. It had come from a cleaner working in the ward. She was a young lady of average height. Her face carried three long marks running down the sides of each. She had really full hips and narrow shoulders. Her uniform was so tight, it gave an outline of her figure, making her look like a human pear. She had been listening to their conversation. “All these cleaners sef, una no dey mind una business”, the baby’s aunt muttered under her breath. The midwife seemed interested in what the cleaner had said. “That’s quite true, but not in all cases”, she answered. “Like say na yoruba, na    ” Bodunrin ” we go give am”, the cleaner remarked again. “Abi o, this one na real Christmas gift”, the aunt answered looking away from the cleaner, her scornful expression signifying she didn’t want her to be part of the discussion.
“Congratulations Madam”, the midwife said, as she placed the baby into the mother’s arms. “Thank you”, the mother responded smiling, her arms spread open to receive her bundle of joy. She immediately forgot about all the agonizing pain she had experienced earlier. She sat in the bed, with her baby in her arms as everyone watched with admiration. She couldn’t help but wonder how beautiful her baby was.
“This is the best Christmas gift ever “, she thought to herself.

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