My name is Ukamaka Olisakwe and I am here to talk about what happens to the woman’s body before, during and after childbirth.
I was encouraged to tell my story by friends and family with whom I’d shared my experiences with. You see, no one prepared me for what would happen to my mind and body after childbirth. The literature available to me back then were often about how to take care of my pregnancy, what to eat to stay healthy, what to do when labour begins, that sort of thing. None dwelled on what was going on in my mind: how I was dealing with it all, how I felt. And after I gave birth to each of my three children, the later conversations were often about how to take care of my episiotomy and my vagina muscles, and when I can resume having sex again with my husband. None, of the conversations and literature cared about how I was mentally dealing with having a child, or what was happening in my body after having that child.
And childbirth, I must say, did wreak havoc on my mind and body. There is so much silence wrapped around this conversation, which was why it took me 17 years to come forward with my story.
Now, I have two teenage daughters who may want to have children in the future. I have my lovely sister who is actively looking to get pregnant. I have relatives who want to go on this journey. And I feel that we, especially women who have had children, should tell our stories, because we matter. Because our bodies matter. Because our mental health matter.
And this is why I am launching this initiative—the Body Conversation. I am hoping that this will be a safe space for women like me to share their stories. I hope that this will become the kind of community I needed when I was still having children.
These webinar will be structured in episodes, and for each one, we will have a group of women and hopefully, a medical professional, join us to talk about what happens to the woman’s body when she decides to have a baby.
Thank you all!