The Joys of Motherhood Written by Buchi Emecheta (1979) is about the life of Nnu Ego, daughter of Nwokocha Agbadi and Ona.
This novel explores the life of a Nigerian woman struggling in a patriarchal society. The bedrock of the novel is the “necessity for a woman to be fertile and above all to give birth to sons”.
Nnu Ego’s life revolves around her children, as she was unable to conceive in her first marriage, and was banished to Lagos where she succeeds in becoming a mother, had to protect herself and her children when she is abandoned by her husband and her people.
When traditional tribal values and customs begin to shift with increasing colonial presence and influence, Nnu Ego is faced with new truths that she must learn to live with.
The book takes us on a journey with Nnu Ego as we participate in her struggle between understanding and accepting the new ways of her people or clinging to her traditional values. This book provides excellent insight to the effects of colonialism on native Nigerians.
Buchi Emecheta writes with subtlety, power, and abundant compassion, as she 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 include anxiety, obligation, and pain.