Title: The Joys of Motherhood
Author: Buchi Emecheta
Publisher: Allison Busby
The Joys of Motherhood is a novel that looks critically at the “necessity for a woman to be fertile, and above all to give birth to sons” in Nigeria.
It tells the tragic story of Nnu-Ego, daughter of Nwokocha Agbadi and Ona, who had a terrible fate with bearing children. Ego finally gets to bear her children and gives all her energy, money and everything she has to raising them, leaving her little time to make friends.
“The Joys of Motherhood” explores the life of a Nigerian woman, whose life centers on her children and through them, she gains the respect of her community.
The book x-rays the trials of motherhood in a Nigeria where traditions and customs are changing, as well as marriage, colonialism and women’s roles in society.
Traditional tribal values and customs begin to shift with increasing colonial presence and influence, pushing Ego to challenge accepted notions of “mother”, “wife”, and “woman”.
Through Nnu-Ego’s journey, Buchi Emecheta forces her readers to consider the dilemma associated with adopting new ideas and practices against the inclination to cleave to tradition.
In this novel, Emecheta reveals and celebrates the pleasures derived from fulfilling responsibilities related to family matters in child bearing, mothering, and nurturing activities among women. However, the author additionally highlights how the ‘joys of motherhood’ also come with anxiety, obligation, and pain.
Truly, with all the pain Nnu passes through she still found joy in being a mother.