Buchi Emecheta

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What justifies the title of The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta?

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The Joys of Motherhood, by Buchi Emecheta, tells the story of the Nnu Ego, a Nigerian woman who embraces traditional tribal values—most prominently, the idea that women are valued for their ability to bear children, particularly sons, and are defined by their roles as mothers. Nnu’s life revolves around her children, and their importance to her is immeasurable within the context of her society, as it is through her children that she gains the respect of her people. On a personal level, her children become her world. As colonialism takes root and tribal values begin to change, Nnu must reevaluate her role as mother—a role she embraces with joy, as women in her society are led to believe that motherhood will fulfill them. This book is, in a sense, a celebration of motherhood, as Emecheta conveys the idea that motherhood is a state of mind that is all-consuming. She also makes clear that the joys of motherhood include not only happiness but also pain and suffering.

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