A mother’s love can be expressed in several ways, but when it results in unfortunate and sometimes tragic consequences for her child, people begin to question whether the emotion she expressed at that point in time was truly love.
In Nigerian homes and on the streets, I have seen mothers and grandmothers carry out the task of force-feeding their babies in the most unpleasant ways – closing the baby’s nose, bending the baby’s head, forcing pap into the baby’s mouth in such a way that the baby has to gulp it in so that he/she can breathe. The sight always irks me and though most times, I know the mother means well for the child, I can’t help but think there could be other ways of getting the child to eat. Probably feeding the child in small quantities at regular intervals.
I can understand a mother’s worry when her baby doesn’t get too eat. I’ve felt it before and it is really, really disturbing.
Therefore, this sad story I’m about to share with you now is one that leaves me with mixed feelings:
A mother in Lagos on Wednesday caused the death of her only daughter while trying to force-feed her.
Chinwe, a housewife and bread vendor at Tedi Town in Ojo local government area of the state, was said to be feeding her year-old daughter, Ada, a meal of pap at home.
As is common with mothers in Africa whose children refuse to eat, Chinwe was said to have cupped a handful of pap over her daughter’s mouth with her right hand while she closed off her nostrils with the other.
The purpose is to make the baby gulp whatever liquid enters through her mouth, but it ended up killing her.
Unknown to Chinwe, Ada had been suffocating while she thought that the pap was being swallowed.
The mother raised alarm by the time she noticed that her daughter was immobile.
However, she died even before they reached the hospital and doctors also confirmed Ada dead.
Ikenna, who had left for Auto Parts at Trade Fair International Complex along Lagos-Badagry Expressway where he works, was called back home by his neighbours.
The couple appeared grief-stricken as sympathisers condoled with them.
On the passage of the tenement building, popularly called face-me-I-face-you, Chinwe was seen sprawled on the floor with a lone sympathiser, not uttering a word.
Since his hasty return from work, Ikenna also stared vacantly into space, hands on both cheeks and head bowed, appearing to be lost to the sympathisers milling about the house.
Neighbours and sympathisers also appeared confused as nobody was sure of how to react to the avoidable death.
Also left unsaid was the obvious carelessness or willful ignorance of Chinwe in trying to force-feed her baby.
What do you think about the last paragraph of this story – obvious carelessness or willful ignorance? It is really sad what happened to this family but do you think the mother is to blame for this? Would you force-feed your child? What other options can be used to get a child to eat?
Please share your thoughts.
News Source: Daily Times
Please note, the picture used above is not that of the mother and child in the story.