Mon | May 29, 2023

Imani Duncan-Price | Unfiltered musings on motherhood

Published:Sunday | May 14, 2023 | 12:14 AM
Imani Duncan-Price (second left) with her children (from left) Marley, (who is now 10 years old), Aidan, (now 12) and Selah, 7 years old.
Imani Duncan-Price (second left) with her children (from left) Marley, (who is now 10 years old), Aidan, (now 12) and Selah, 7 years old.

I somehow missed the word ‘estimated’ when Dr Michael Abrahams informed Stephen and me that we had an ‘estimated due date’ of March 11, 2011. Yes, that is what the E stands for in E.D.D. There I was with my focused, get-it-done self, as an Executive and I had planned project meetings down to March 10. Indeed, so confident was I in the scientific precision of my hearing of what Dr Abrahams had said that my baby shower was planned for February 27.

Well, well, well! Although I had read cover to cover the baby books we had bought, I missed the fact that “more than 90 per cent of babies are born two weeks before or after the predicted due date”. So there we were on Stephen’s birthday, February 25 – exactly two weeks before March 11, incidentally – and I began to have “surges” (Read my article in The Gleaner of May 2019 – to see why I don’t call them ‘contractions’).

I was not bothered about the surges, though, as I thought my body was readying itself for the miracle of birth to come two weeks later. So,I went along to my grandaunt’s funeral and planned a lyme with friends for Stephen’s birthday. As the day proceeded, my surges progressed and got closer, but I just breathed deeply through it. When I could literally feel my baby’s head against my pelvis, I passed by Dr Abrahams to check in. I was 8cm dilated! There went the lyme out the window. We were off to have a baby!

Stephen and I were absolutely grateful to have had a beautiful birth experience facilitated by our doula, Susie Campbell-Isaacs (like a mid-wife), and the comedic and extraordinarily talented medical expert, Dr Abrahams. I say ‘our’ birth experience as Stephen and I both enjoyed ‘creating’ our first child, and so we were clear we would walk the unknown path together preparing to become parents. As the woman, I actually gave birth to Aidan naturally, but Stephen was there every step of the process (even when he fell asleep in the birthing class). To see his face when he cut his first umbilical cord as Aidan lay on my tummy was absolutely precious.


Though we had read books and taken classes together, we were newbie parents. Didn’t really have a clue what to do except that we both knew we completely loved Aidan from the very start and we would try our best!

Now here’s the juicy bit. Remember, my baby shower was scheduled for Sunday, February 27. When Aidan was born (in God’s own right time) on Friday, February 25, my friends asked if they should drop the gifts off at the house assuming the shower was cancelled. I said, “No way! We’re having my baby shower.” When they asked who would take care of Aidan, I said Stephen.

You see, the only advantage I had as Aidan’s mother over Stephen is that I had colostrum in my breast. Yes, to all the mothers to-be, milk doesn’t flow like manna from heaven for the first few days when your baby is born. Colostrum is filled with nutrients, antibodies, and antioxidants to build a newborn baby’s immune system, and it comes out in small amounts as babies don’t eat a lot in the first few days. As your baby suckles on your breasts, colostrum changes to breast milk within two to four days after your baby is born. And here’s a secret: you don’t all of a sudden know how to be a mother just because you had a baby. It’s a learning process for both parents.

So as we got home with our newborn, Stephen put Aidan in the crib to sleep, and I began using my breast pump. When I had a quarter bottle full and nothing else would come, I kissed Stephen goodbye and went to my baby shower. It was absolutely wonderful to hear all the advice, receive all the love, drink lots of water to hydrate and just be treasured as a new mother. It was delicious and soul-filling, especially as my own mother had passed away six months before.


When some aunties asked who had Aidan, I’d say Stephen. Their eyes would open wide in shock, and they’d reply “but he’s just a newborn”. And I’d say “Stephen read the same books I read, and I have no doubt he’d lay down his life for our child. He has a little milk, and I’ll go back in time.” They accepted my answer because they had no choice, but I could see that some were sceptical. That’s ok. They raised their children in a different time, and the majority of responsibility was on them. But that approach leads to more stress for mothers.

As my breasts got full with milk, I knew it was time to leave my baby shower. So said, so done. As I walked in the door, Stephen had a look of calm panic (if that’s a state) because Aidan had just finished the last of the colostrum in the bottle. Nature knows timing.

That was the beginning of our partnership in parenting. It built Stephen’s confidence to know he could and should do it – be an active, engaged father from the start. It also gave me the space to be me and have communal time with fellow women and time for myself then and in the future.

So to all the mummies out there, know this: you are not in this alone! If the father of your child lives with you, create space to co-parent so both of you can show up and share the responsibilities, the pains, and the joys. Gender equality begins in the home, and your child (boy or girl) benefits from this. If you don’t live with the father of your child, create deliberate opportunities for your child to form a bond with their Daddy and enable him to be a part of the child’s life. If for whatever reason, the father is not in the picture, then hold close to your tribe of family and friends and accept help from time to time. We are better mothers when we take breaks for ourselves. And it should not just be for one day of the year that we have the space. Give fathers the gift of time with their children so they develop strong bonds, too, and that way you get time for you too!

For more insights visit: Imani Seh Suh on Spotify (for podcast) and Imani Seh Suh on YouTube

Imani Duncan-Price is a women’s rights activist; World Economic Forum young global leader; affordable housing developer and former senator. Send feedback to and