Monalisa Chinda is everything to her toddler. She and the daughter adore each other. More than two years have passed since she had the lovely child whose toothy smile is so infectious. Joyfully, she has been raising the adorable tot all by herself.
It has been a thrilling experience, which naturally came with challenges. But then God, who promises never to forsake or leave people that put their trust in Him comfortless, has abundantly been her one source of inspiration. In this interview, the GLO Ambassador shares her single motherhood experience.
How does it feel to be a mother?
Well, to be honest, the feeling is out of this world. It’s ineffable. I think motherhood is a stage where women learn that God is real. When you go through the process of pregnancy, you go through labour, you have a successful delivery and then you see what has come out of you. You can’t explain it.
How does it feel to be a mother of an only child?
Well, I really don’t know how to answer that question. It is just only for now. She may have other siblings later. She’s going to probably get more attention. Lots of love would be showered on her, she’s got everything to herself and I think it’s okay.
Do you sometimes feel frustrated that you are raising the child alone?
No, not at all. You will only feel that way if your lovely husband died and you became a widow. That’s when you can feel that way. But, when you are raising a child by yourself and you know that you are better off as a single mother, I don’t feel anyhow. In fact, I don’t even know how to answer the question.
What is the biggest gift you’ve given your child?
It is the gift of making sure she starts school with her mates. God has given me the resources to be able to put her through school and she’s learning what everybody is learning. There is nothing as bad as having a child that starts his/her education late. But thank God for money and I’m happy she’s starting school with her mates. That is the biggest gift I think I have given her , because there is nothing as good as education for now.
How old is she?
She’s two years, six months old.
Has she started talking?
Yes o, she’s talking now.
Despite her age, do you share some intimate stuff with her?
I talk to my daughter. I share things with her, I pray with her. She now knows how to sing praises with me. She knows how to say amen and I read the word of God to her sometimes when we wake up in the morning. We pray together. Though she doesn’t know how to read yet, but most times, I read the bible to her before she goes to sleep. I know that my child will look after me by the grace of God.
She’s got all that it takes, she wants to do things herself, she wants to wear her shoes herself, she picks up her diaper when it’s soaked and all that. I won’t let work come between me and my child because she’s all I have. I don’t have a partner, so I just have to be there for her. So, we have a very good relationship. She knows when I am angry, she knows when I want to cry, she cries with me, she’s just wonderful.
Some people argue that the present generation is populated with men who simply ‘father’ children, and are not ‘fathers’ in the true sense of the word. What is your view?
Generally, morals and family values have really depreciated. I want to relate it with the way the country is heading, I want to relate it to the parlous economy of our country. I don’t want to completely rule out the fact that most of our men are not responsible.
I don’t mind them having a social life but they should realize that they’ve got a family. You go out all day, you struggle and come back in the evening, just remember that you have a child and a wife and if you don’t have a wife but a child, you should remember that there is somebody out there that is part of you and that person is waiting for you to come back. I don’t know how to qualify a man that knows he has a son and daughter somewhere and he just lives a reckless life. It’s just unimaginable.
I don’t know why men behave like that. You should have some sense of responsibility. If you don’t want a child, don’t bring that child out. You can control whatever you use to produce these kids. You could have taken drugs but you refused. Now that you have the child here, you have to be available for that child. There is no excuse when you are alive
What can we do to make men more responsible?
(Laughs) I don’t know.
Does your daughter miss the absence of her dad?
Yes, of course. Especially when other children have their fathers and mothers with them for school programmes and it’s just “my mommy” all the time. Again, she starts crying daddy when my ex-husband’s family friend, Damilola, comes to see her and the man is leaving. She knows that there is no man. As she grows, probably she’ll get used to it. I will have to talk to her about it.
Do you think it’s healthy for a woman to raise a child alone, especially an only child?
Of course, it’s not healthy. Who can they look up to? It’s God. God will have to give you the wisdom to raise the child all by yourself especially when the whole thing is really not your fault. God will surely guide you. I pray to God for wisdom, because that’s what I rely on to raise her.
Do you sometimes get angry that you are having to raise your daughter all alone?
Yes of course, am I not human? Especially when you know that you once shared something very nice with the man but all of a sudden, it all crashed. Yeah, I do feel lonely but with the kind of work I’m doing now, I really don’t think much about it and I know that God has filled up the vacuum. When I’m lonely, I just read a book or go to the cinema or watch TV all to keep myself busy. That’s what works for me.
When you look at your child sometimes, what comes to your mind?
My child is adorable. First of all, I look at God in her because she’s the perfect picture of what I have always wanted in a child. She’s a blessing to me and all I see in her is God’s blessing. I can’t toy with it.
What’s her favourite food?
She loves plantain and omelette.
What was it like in the labour room?
It wasn’t so stressful for me. My labouring was just for four hours and she popped out. I didn’t have the outstretched labour pains though I felt the normal pains. So, I keep thanking God for her.
So, when the doctor handed the child to you for the first time, how did you feel?
The joy was indescribable and I don’t think there is a woman who can describe that kind of joy. You just can’t put it in words. It’s divine, it’s heavenly, you just feel like you are with God.
Would you mind if your child tells you she wants to be an actress?
I would mind o. Let me not lie to you, because we are already facing a lot of heat as it is now in this our time. I don’t know what it will be like in her time. I want her to be well educated, I don’t want her to be too much in the public glare. For now, I know what it really takes out there to make it .
It’s not easy. You have to be self-disciplined first, before you can be able to handle fame, because if you can’t handle fame, it will control you. I really would prefer that she becomes a scientist, or a doctor. Funny enough, she loves the spotlight let me not lie, because that’s what she sees me doing. I once took her to set and she saw all the behind-the-scenes. It’s not her fault that she loves spotlight. It’s me. She loves to take pictures, she loves to pose, she likes to put her hands on her hip, akimbo for a photograph. She loves to smile at the camera, may God help me. (Laughs)
Are you sometimes scared that the next man you date might not like your child or vice versa?
No, I’m not scared because I know that God will give me my dream man and I’m relying on God’s judgment on that. I’m not going to take decisions on my own, I am going to follow His footsteps because I know I have strong communication with God. I don’t joke about Him. I’m not just saying it, I have a working relationship with God. He talks to me, and I answer. Another crash, which I don’t pray for, might kill me, so it is better I stay single or wait on God for Him to take control.
When you need a man around the house, what do you do?
I call my uncle, or I call my ex-husband’s family friend, Damilola , to come and help me fix one or two things.
How does it feel to carry the entire financial burden all by yourself?
I don’t feel anything. I don’t feel it, because while I was with him, it was only me. So, I don’t feel anything at all. Whether he brings or he doesn’t.
Like how many more children would you want to have?
Maybe two more. I would like to have two boys so that they can protect their sister.