Bad Mum

Magazine

8 June 2017

When I Was Growing Up...By Yvonne Telford (Founder Kemikids)

When I was growing up, I went through a few difficult periods that I pray my two young daughters don’t go through. The root of most of my childhood difficulties was not having a mother to love and guide me when I needed her the most.

My mum died in childbirth when she was 35 years old, and I was just ten. She died leaving six children behind while trying to have the seventh one. The year she died was the year that my body started going through physical changes. This was the year that my body started to stench due to perspiration, my pubic hair started to grow and my breasts started to develop.

Apart from when I got married and had my children, this was the period when I needed my mum the most. This was the period in my life when I needed support, explanations, love, encouragement and reassurance. This was the period that I needed to be reassured that what was happening to me was normal, and to not feel ashamed - but instead to embrace the changes.

But since there was no one in my life to explain the changes that I was going through, shame reared its ugly head and I started to feel awkward about my body. I hated what my body was doing; I just wanted to remain a little girl. And since I was the first amongst my friends going through these changes, I remember wondering why the same was not happening to them. This made me feel even more alien and alone. I had no one to talk to. Maybe, just maybe, I would have talked to my older sisters if they had been home with me... but they were away in boarding school.

“Why did you not talk to your father?” you may be thinking. The truth is we did not have that kind of relationship. I am not even sure that my father (who was now the sole parent of six kids under the age of twelve) noticed the changes. Even if he had noticed, I am not sure he would have felt comfortable talking to me. My father is from a generation of Nigerian men who feel some roles should be left to the woman of the house. Plus, he had just lost his wife and he was dealing with his own grief.

To cut this upsetting story short, I discovered a way of dealing with my changing body. I can’t recollect how I discovered it but I found a way of hiding my embarrassing but developing breasts from the world. Without going into the details, I discovered how to strap my breasts flat to my chest. The method I used made me flat once again (like those of my classmates and friends) and this was how I coped through this period of my life.

Fast forward to today. Now that I am a mother, I am very careful about what I say to my older daughter whose body is going through some changes. She is almost ten, and just like me when I was her age, has started going through some physical changes. From my experience, I understand this is an important time in her life. I am so glad that unlike my mother, I am here to explain these changes to her. I am glad that she is embracing the changes and she is not ashamed of her body. For this alone, I pat myself on the back.

Even with the changes my older daughter is going through, she still dresses in front of me and still allows me to wash her in the bath. Right now, I am teaching her how to wash properly. I have bought her first deodorant and we have had several grown-up conversations about the changes she is going through and what to expect.


To sum this up, I am grateful that I have been blessed with the gift of life to do for my daughters what my mother could not do for me. As long as the universe continues to bless me with life, I am looking forward to doing the same with my second daughter. I do not take my time here for granted and from first-hand experience, I understand that the role of a mother is irreplaceable.





Written by Yvonne Telford Founder of Kemikids @kemikids 

To visit the Kemikids store click here

You will find amazing products that celebrate motherhood and womanhood; and I myself LOVE! There is also a brilliant blog too! I love Yvonne's honesty and the love she shows. 


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