Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Men suffer post pregnancy stress too

So, I came across several studies about men’s perspectives of the child birth experience, fathers had this notion that;
They were most helpful to their partners during labor 
And they found childbirth very stressful!

The consensus was that- Fathers’ needs and roles should be regularly assessed during childbirth as the way in which they experience childbirth may have some influence on their emotional well being.

I need me a Prism face here!

An Obstetrician gives his view point supporting this notion of male post partum depression:

"When I was first involved in obstetrics in the Fifties, it was unheard of for a man to be present as their child was born. Childbirth was predominately a woman's preserve - usually carried out at home - and while a man may be in the vicinity at the time of labour, in the kitchen probably boiling copious amounts of water, and generally missing the actual event.
However, by the late Seventies, all pregnant women were saying they could not imagine giving birth without their husband at their side.
Now, not only is the husband nearly always present at birth, but with his wife clasping his hand during labour and screaming out for reassurance, he became an active participant.

The reality is that, for her, his presence is a hindrance, and a significant factor in why labours are longer, more painful and more likely to result in intervention than ever.

As for the effect on a man, over the years, I have seen something akin to post-natal depression in many men who have been present at the birth.
In its mild form, men often take to their bed in the week following the birth, complaining of everything from a stomach ache or migraine to a 24-hour bug. Their wives, meanwhile, are up and about, caring for their baby and in good spirits, and tell me how unfortunate it is that their husband has been struck down by one ailment or another.
There are also men who try to find ways to escape the reality of what they have been through. This could just be a night at the pub, or a day playing golf when their child is a day old.
I've known of perfectly well-balanced men who held their wife's hand through labour then left the next day never to return again.
And in the most graphic example, one perfectly healthy man had his first experience of schizophrenia two days after watching his wife give birth" (Sounds like a scene from a Nollywood movie..lol). Read more here
People please help me corroborate. The two things I know men do during labor are: 
Take pictures/videos
Read Newspapers
Play phone games
Social media
How in the world does that translate to ‘stress’? He is not the one who carried a kicking turning 7 pound football for 9 months. He didn’t push it out of a small crack.
(Ahem, Housewives tales has it that a husband watching a baby emerge from that most cherished vaginal orifice kills future sexual desire).
]\Maybe it is the thought of future ‘relations’ (thank you Lady Ngo) that is causing the stress?
Obviously this research was conducted in the West because Africa has bigger problems. I would rather research on ‘African/Nigerian men’s perception about their role in pregnancy’ because seriously I have regularly witnessed some gross neglect from the same husbands that would rather bandy round town receiving pats on their back for their perceived virility while their poor wife is writhing and moaning on the hospital bed after 18 hrs of labour.

A few other deeds of neglect (you are welcome to add to the list):
Not helping around the home
Expecting her to cook and entertain like before pregnancy
Never accompanying her for Ante-natals: Studies show that only 1 out of 3 women attend at least one antenatal clinic. Any wonder they are dying from simple health complications that a little preventive medical attention could have solved.
Never rubbing her back
Not buying her the medicine she needs: Iron deficiency is real and common among African women
Not making sure she eats well: She is eating for two you know!
Not making sure she uses the best of healthcare affordable: Studies show that deliveries were more likely to be in hospitals or by a trained medical personnel if husbands or the spouses decide on the place of delivery. Men may have more knowledge about hospitals, less concerned about cultural and traditional beliefs, and more concerned about the well being of their wives and children.
Not knowing your wife's EDD (expected due date) and then conveniently be away on the D-day so she is left to find her own way to the clinic. It’s all about planning. If you can’t be available, at least make contingency plans.
I had a neighbor who was away on two separate occasions during the birth of his children. One of the other neighbors on each occasion had to be woken up and asked to take her to a clinic. This same man does not believe in carrying babies. His excuse “they are too tiny, they might fall off my hands”.

I know some of these problems are related to poverty but some cooperative planning between a supportive husband and wife can make a difference.

Dear Wives, you too must learn to ask/demand your husband’s cooperation if he wants to answer proud Daddy. Don’t bear it all alone or keep making excuses for him. Believe me, if men were the ones who had to go through pregnancy, you the wife would be expected to wait on him hand and foot. You’ve nursed a sick man before haven’t ya?
I rest my case!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Prayer for Nigeria - pocket edition

Today was a bit odd at Mass. Usually during the prayer of the faithful, general prayers are offered by the congregation for the sick, soldiers, the bereaved, students especially during exams and for countries in distress. I had gotten used to hearing names of countries like Congo, Sudan, Japan etc. It was therefore disconcerting to hear a prayer offered specifically for Nigeria. I felt like someone had pulled off my clothes and left me lying naked under a cynosure of eyes ‘what’s your pride in feeling black and proud when there is chaos back home?’. Sigh.
Oddly it was comforting too. Maybe the more people pleading to Heaven for Nigeria the better right?

Anyway, at a point I had a flash and whipped out my phone to Google a forgotten prayer ‘Prayer for Nigeria in distress'. If you are a Catholic in Nigeria you will probably remember it. It was written by Catholic Bishops in July of 1993 following the annulment saga, riots etc. They must have thought that year/period will remain the lowest point in our life as a nation.
I am sad to prove them wrong.
There is something comforting about this prayer (to me at least) as it reminds me that a loving God created and watches over us. I used to have the prayer card with me, and pray it at random times during the day/week. 
If it touches you pls print out/save it on your mobile and when you think of Nigeria, rather than despair, say a prayer.

All powerful and merciful Father, you are the God of justice, love and peace. You rule over all the nations of the earth.
Power and might are in your hands and no one can withstand you.
We present our country Nigeria before you. We praise and thank for you are the source of all we have and are.
We are sorry for all the sins we have committed and for the good deeds we have failed to do.
In your loving forgiveness, keep us save from the punishment we deserve.
Lord, we are weighed down not only by uncertainties, but also by moral, economic and political problems.
Listen to the cries of your people who confidently turn to you.
God of infinite goodness, our strength in diversity, our health in weakness, our comfort in sorrow, be merciful to us your people.
Spare this nation Nigeria from chaos, anarchy and doom.
Bless us with your kingdom of justice, love and peace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Disclaimer: This prayer does not absolve you from being proactive. E.g. don’t stand and be praying when you see a mob preparing to lynch somebody's son or daughter. 
Do something.
Thank you. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lessons learnt Travelling

This was reposted from Goinswriter here. He says.

"Young person, travel.
Travel wide and far.
Travel boldly.
Travel with full abandon.
When you get older, life seems to just sort of happen to you. Your youth is a time of total empowerment. During early adulthood, your worldview is still being formed. It’s important to steward this time — to give yourself opportunities to grow. A good way to do that is to travel.
You will regret few risks you take, when it comes to this. I promise you.

There are three reasons to travel while you’re young:
1. Traveling teaches you to live an adventure
You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. It’s not about being a tourist. It’s about experiencing true risk and adventure so you don’t have to live in fear for the rest of your life.

2. Traveling helps you encounter compassion

Traveling will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you.
If you go to southeast Asia, you may encounter the slave trade. If eastern Europe, you may see the effects of genocide and religious persecution. If Haiti, you’ll witness the ugly side of Western paternalism.
Your heart will break.
You will begin to understand that the world is both a big and small place. You will have a new-found respect for the pain and suffering that over half of the world takes for granted on a daily basis. And you will feel more connected to your fellow human beings in a deep and lasting way.
You will learn to care.

3. Traveling allows you to get some culture

While you’re still young, you should get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. I can describe the city of San Juan and its amazing beaches and historic sites to you, but you really have to see it for yourself to experience it. You can read all the books in the world about the Great Wall of China or The Louvre, but being there is a different story.

The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it.

You won’t always be young. And life won’t always be just about you. So travel. Experience the world for all it’s worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion.

“What if I’m not young?”

Travel, anyway. It may not be easy to do, but find a way to get out of your comfort zone. It’s really never too late.

Do you agree with this author?

I do, why else would I repost it? :)

Now let me give a brief rundown of my travel experiences
It started with secondary school in Suleja, Niger State. I was already in my comfort zone at FGC, Enugu; one of the teachers was my Aunty, my sister and family lived a few miles away. 
What more could a newbie ask for? My provisions and pocket money were replenished at the drop of a hat. Food was cooked the Igbo way I liked it etc etc. But a scholarship opportunity came knocking and my parents couldn’t betray me, so I went to the school in Suleja. 
Six years of hot Niger State sun, cold harmattan nights and arid days, lafu, boiled okro and stew?! and 12 hrs of road travel. In those 6 years I was visited once by a family member - my elder sister when she served in Kaduna. But I survived, thankful to Niger State for her hospitability. 

Then there was University at Ibadan. 
I was fast losing my "Igboness" so my family wanted me at UNN to rehabilitate :). I insisted on UI for exactly the opposite reason. Luckily I had family there so they reluctantly agreed. In Ibadan, I got my A+ in Amala and ewedu (F9 in gbegiri shaa), I learnt to appreciate atta in obe (chilli pepper stew). I am the only one in my family who has eaten and still eats ewedu, fufu, amala. My Yoruba(spoken) is shameful admittedly but don't you dare discuss me thinking I won't understand :)
I will also admit that my dark complexion got me a quick pass at some instances when tribalism could have reared its head. Notwithstanding, I love me my Ibadan people and thank them for their hospitality!!

Then there was a 5wk internship in Kumasi, Ghana in my 5th year at the University. I added 4 kg on return. Can we say a woot! woot! to Ghana foofoo (made with cassava and plantain), kelewere, groundnut soup, and their heartwarming hospitality?!

Same story as a Youth Corper in Makurdi, Benue State. A shoutout to Joyce, Joy, Aunty Maria and Josephine. Is it the rich pounded yam, the exotic meats (I ate alligator meat for the first time there) or the dizzying fruit varieties available? Benue State is indeed the food basket of the nation and I have to say I am devastated by the news about the flooding there.

I have travelled for visits,weddings, funerals, birthdays to Port Harcourt, Edo, Benin, Abuja, Ondo, Enugu, Calabar, Asaba, Jos, Kogi, Owerri.

Here in the UK, I live in a city steeped in culture from a 1000yr old Cathedral which still stands magnificent, to an annual Miner's gala where different miner unions established hundreds of years ago come out in musical splendor. I have visited Exeter, Birmingham, Norwich, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bolton, Leicester, Reading. 
I have told you of my brief Euro trip.

I have met wonderful, kind people. United as brothers in Christ and Nigerians. I have met noble poor people, I have met the skanky rich. I have made my home in the houses of strangers who became family. Some I have lost touch with, some I haven't. I have had near death experiences, I have slept in strange beds, I have woken up to the sight of Zuma rock from my dormitory porch.

Lessons learnt – today I am the least tribalistic of my family members with my friends cutting across most tribes in Nigeria. I have learnt to appreciate the diversity that's Nigeria and rarely think of people as Igbo, Benin, Yoruba, Hausa to justify good/bad behaviour. That I may marry a non-Igbo is not a strange notion to my parents. 
I am extra kind to strangers because I have been a stranger and experienced kindness. 
I am more understanding of other people’s culture. I may not like it but I appreciate that it is what makes them unique (unless it is harmful!).
Having a Green passport doesnt help right?
I have a bucket list of places I still want to see. Money isn't an issue unless you make it one. I would rather save to travel than save to buy that designer collection or gold.  

Travel is also not about shopping or sticking to your hotel. Experience a place. Take walks. Read the history. Visit landmarks. Appreciate things greater than you!

A shout out to Lara, Myne and Mamuje for constantly sharing their travels with us. You guys rock!

Now tell me, why are you not travelled?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Blame Nigerians Abroad for Nigeria's troubles

Prof directed me to this conversation on facebook and I thought to share it with you. I have seen this conversation going on in various contexts but I loved the perspectives these commenters brought.
It stared withTaulpaul Oselen posting this as his facebook status

''The guilt of my generation [Nigerians who received quality education in the 1960s, ‘70s and early 1980s at little or no cost, courtesy the Nigerian Govt is a big one. It is not the misleading of Nigeria. They were not around to do that. The guilt of my generation is that education did not give us enough character to stay and fight those who did not realise that the duty of every generation is to make its shoulders available so the Generation Next can better see tomorrow to make it better than yesterday. Instead of fighting off those who took power in the 1960s at age 30 so we can make ready a better place for the generation Y to build on with their ICT know-how and technology savvy disposition, we simply said these guys don’t take prisoners and left town.''
Prof. Pat Utomi

What generation is he talking about? Exactly how many members of his generation "left town", and why should it be those few who left rather than the so many who stayed, like him, that should shoulder the responsibility of fixing the roof that they sleep under? Shouldn't people devote more time to mapping out and sharing strategies for correcting things, instead of always scouting around for some phantom group to blame?

While I see Prof Olu Oguibe's point of not shifting blames, there is something to take from Prof Utomi's statement. Each of us (both those that left and those that stayed behind) need to find a way of helping those travelling with us and those coming behind us. I believe each of us has something that we can use to impact the world around us. I feel we each have something that can change somebody's world.

Taulpaul Oselen Yes. We all (those who left and those who stayed back) have a role in fixing our leaking roof.

Olu Oguibe
Frankly, I'm tired of the blame the expats game. Throughout history, people have left home and gone elsewhere either to fend for themselves or simply to explore, and from there make whatever contribution they care or can. Leaving is a right, not a betrayal. Many of these folks who "simply left town" are doing things back there that Prof. Utomi is not. They're building schools, they're building Internet cafes, they're helping family members set up businesses, they're doing what they can. Yet, none of that will ever register with these blame the expats buffoons because they don't ever actually sit back and think and ask themselves: is it really the case that these people are not contributing in any way? I'm tired of it. I've mentioned elsewhere that my late friend Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem who died in a tragic car crash in Nairobi three years ago, built a secondary school in his hometown in Northern Nigeria even while struggling abroad to feed not just his wife and daughters, but the host of extended family members as well. What better contribution to the future of the next generation could anyone make than build a school. Yet, I don't recall that these loudmouths are building any secondary schools for the next generation. What they do is once they get into government, the most radical among them suddenly turns apologist and petty thief. No, Utomi has no point because he fails to acknowledge the contributions that people are making in their own way. Anyone who does not acknowledge those contributions, and simply shoots his or her mouth about people leaving town has no point whatsoever. I think it's push back time. People should show what extraordinary contributions they're making that no one abroad is equally making, if not besting. The idea that his generation did not fail Nigeria because they're busy mismanaging and robbing it blind, but that they did so because a few of them left, is preposterous nonsense. Enough of it.

Taulpaul Oselen
 Abeg Prof. Olu no vex too much o!
I guess what he's trying to say is that the 'FIRST ELEVEN' of his generation, who were trained and nurtured by the Nigerian Football Academy left our national team and went on to play for European teams, winning trophies for them... While our team suffered.
Of course, they send football kits to the Academy now and then, but you'd agree that it's not the same thing as playing for the national team.

Olu Oguibe
Yes, but is it true? Is it accurate, or is it simply a lame conjecture in the service of trying to find someone else to blame? The other thing that is so pathetic about this meme that you guys have become so enamored of is that it actually also fails to acknowledge the individual circumstances under which people left. Take Professor Niyi Osundare, for instance. He was merely on a sabbatical research trip abroad when his child took ill. It wasn't mere malaria, but a terminal illness that would require life-long care. There are no facilities in Nigeria to keep that child alive. Against all his heart's desire, Osundare decided to find a means of livelihood in the US and stay to make sure his child did not die. Prof. Osundare and his family were living in New Orleans when the Katrina disaster hit in 2005. They lost everything. Everything except the clothes on their back. Every book, every pen, every house appliance, every memory, every possession, everything. In his late fifties, Osundare had to start life all over from absolutely nothing except gifts from friends. No home, no possessions, no books, no research papers, no precious manuscripts, no car, no spare pair of slippers or underwear, complete nothing. That's part of the story of those who "simply left town". If you read Utomi's nonsense and all that crock that you guys are filling your heads and hearts with, you'd think that people like Osundare simply woke up one morning and like Andrew said: men, I'm checking out. Which is simply intolerable.
Obiora Udechukwu left after he was jailed in Enugu for no good reason. He lost his job, he had children in school, he had a family to feed. It was friends that stepped in and helped him find a job in the US. Chika Okeke-Agulu who is now a professor at Princeton University, was a bright, young lecturer in Nsukka when he was sacked from his job in 1996 because he dared speak up for other lecturers. He had several siblings in school to take care of. For a whole year, I supported him in Nigeria by sending him a meager stipend. I was myself only a struggling artist trying to make ends meet in London. In the end, I had to bring him out and put him back in school so that he wouldn't continue to waste away in Nigeria with no means to support his family. These are the stories. People didn't just check out or leave town. People have reasons, personal stories, individual trials and circumstances, yet all of that is waved aside as if none of it matters, just so that the Pat Utomis can avoid blame and instead put it on those who "left town". Is there a shortage of professors in Nigeria? Is there a shortage of educated people? Is there a shortage of radicals, organizers, civil rights campaigners, educators, scientists, medical doctors, researchers, lawyers? Why is Nigeria's failure the fault of people who're living abroad? Does it really make sense to keep blaming a handful of people who left under different trying circumstances, instead of taking responsibility for saving the street you walk everyday?

Taulpaul Oselen
Hmmm. Sir, I get your point... But if every good Nigerian that faces some form of difficulty or persecution decides to leave the country, who then would stay back to build the nation? Or wait to receive support from relatives abroad?

Also, these countries we relocate to at one time in their history had to be built by their citizens, who were determined against all odds to make them the beautiful and accommodating havens we run to.

Olu Oguibe
But, Taulpaul, not every good Nigerian left Nigeria, unless you'd like for us to believe that, and not every Nigerian that left is good. People leave. Or is Nigeria an iron-curtain communist state where it's now a crime to leave?
The people who founded America left Europe. They were not branded traitors. Whole communities in Italy, Poland, and Ireland sent their family members away to America. People leave. People must reserve the right to leave if they please. A country is the responsibility of the people who live in it, not those who left. People must be free to leave like humans have always left throughout history, without being branded traitors or blamed for the country's failure. Nigeria is a failure because of the actions of people who live in it. The incompetent governors and legislators that you elect. The stupid presidents that you elect or allow to usurp power and rule you. The collusion of millions of people there who cut corners, demand and offer bribes to corrupt every single transaction, do their jobs with supreme mediocrity and criminal abandon and no desire whatsoever for excellence or longevity, invent nothing of worth, cheat or steal every opportunity they get, fail to make wise investment in their communities and in the country that they live in, loot public funds to enrich themselves, collude with looters and thieves and organize praise and worship Sunday services for criminals, and bring no creativity or vision to their lives and no plans for their future. Nigeria is a failure because of millions of such people who live in it, not because of a few professors or Omata shoe traders who left. You want to tell me that if your child was dying, and your only option to keep that child alive was to take him or her abroad or remain abroad to take care of the child, you Mr. Oselen would prefer for the child to die rather than take the opportunity? What are people talking about here? You think there is something noble about staying in jail in Nigeria rather than finding refuge abroad and finding the means to feed your family, including those in Nigeria? That that is somehow heroic and wise? That it were better for Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem to remain in Nigeria and waste away, than for him to go abroad, finish his education, raise a family and then build a school in his hometown? People must take responsibility for their lives and circumstances, and not blame others for their inability to take charge of their own destinies. Again, every country is the responsibility of the people who live in it, and there are more than enough people living in Nigeria to take responsibility for saving Nigeria. If 150 million of you won't do it, then, leave the few thousand abroad alone; they're doing their best while struggling like everyone else to make a living. They're not the ones corrupting and destroying and looting Nigeria, you folks living there are. Save yourselves from yourselves for yourselves. That's how it's done.

Yomi Okusanya 
It's blame Nigerians abroad season for Nigeria's woes I guess. At this rate I might be needing a visa or resident permit to visit or reside in Nigeria soon. Olu Oguibe thanks for your erudite contributions here. Nothing to add. But like you postulated already, nothing beats a scapegoat apologies to Dbanji. If we are not crying more than the bereaved, we are unpatriotic. Nigerians abroad are the flavour of the moment that's all. N'abania. So I beg of you am already distraught from my part and role in helping destroy Nigeria. So leave me alone.. Nigerians abroad that don't give a damn about happenings back home have their heads in the right place it has to be said.

Afolabi Oghafua
Please permit me to add to this discussion... The psyche of the Nigerian mind has been battered and re-conditioned by our collective failures over the years both leadership and follower-ship. You see this manifestation in our daily lives, the quality of leadership on display at all levels, the expression of the citizenry in the various social media outlet on issues such as this one and the list goes on and on.
Until an individual, family, community, state and Country gets to the level of naturally accepting responsibility for their short-comings, failures or successes (as the case may be), then the chasing of shadows and ovoid cycle becomes inevitable. It is unfortunate to even consider blaming people for leaving Nigeria to better themselves elsewhere in the world. Athletes, artistes, academicians, professionals of all shades and flavor bust their behinds, learn new languages, new technologies, new cultures to become a better person and valuable to the environment and spheres of influence.... This to me, needs to be praised, encouraged and commended. If the present Nigerian space is unable to provide people with opportunity, a platform of expression, a lifeline, and people choose to seek these elsewhere, then how have these people become the main source of Nigeria's woes? When they were in our midst, we never acknowledged them nor gave them a chance. The founding fathers and most successful Nigerians have at one point in their lives lived and trained abroad (better themselves) and they returned to contribute to National building (A continuous process). The ostracizing, unpatriotic labeling, blame game on diasporans is counter productive. Rather, we should be encouraging and providing the means for folks outside to add to our rich and diverse composition for our collective good.

BTW, have we observed the ongoing Olympics in London... quite a number of Nigerian names in other nations colors... and we are getting mad at them! We can choose to blame the outsiders and ostracize them or creatively blend them into our total brand and package. Every Nigerian (everywhere) on earth has a unique role and place in Nation building. If I am playing my role well, blaming anyone will be the last thing on my mind. We must not tear apart, waste away and discard, but rather we must gather and build.

Ginger says Amen to that!!


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