Lauded Nigerian author and celebrated feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie casually dropped that she had recently given birth in an interview with the Financial Times, subsequently catching her interviewer (and fans) unawares. And in case you were wondering, her decision to keep it quiet had a feminist animus.
Adichie’s announcement sprang organically during her interview, with the Lagos-based writer utilizing a tactic that can only described as “the epitome of smoooooove.” While drinking a mocktail, the author noted the syrupy nature and lack of alcohol in her drink—and revealed that she was breastfeeding.
“This is just very sugary, very sweet,” Adichie told her interviewer. “I would probably have a glass of wine, but I’m breastfeeding, I’m happy to announce.”
The Americanah author also relayed that only a few knew about her pregnancy and the ensuing birth of her child, and explained that her decision to withhold information about it to the public stemmed from the ever-growing performative aspect of pregnancy.
“I have some friends who probably don’t know I was pregnant or that I had a baby,” she said. “I just feel like we live in an age when women are supposed to perform pregnancy. We don’t expect fathers to perform fatherhood.”
Adichie, one of the few women in the world who can claim that she once inspired Beyoncé, refused to answer further questions about her child after her prescient take. When the FT reporter asked about the baby’s name, she simply replied, “no, I won’t say,” accompanied by what the interviewer described as a “disarming smile.”
It’s true that while Adichie has gained notoriety as an award-winning novelist and author of the non-fiction tome We Should All Be Feminists, she is still afforded a sizable amount of privacy compared to celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, whose bodies are subjected to scrutiny in pre-baby and post-baby states. (Quartz also noted that Adichie did nothing to hide her baby bump during her pregnancy.) Even so, Adichie’s pointed effort to elaborate the gendered imbalance of “performing pregnancy”—especially when it comes to the assigned roles of mothers and fathers—is still a refreshing take.
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