AFTER being told by doctors that she would never get pregnant, Monica Cudjoe of New Road in Buccoo is today a mother of five healthy children and 13 grandchildren.
In an interview with Cudjoe at her Buccoo home, she said: “Since growing up it was always my desire to have children. I came from a large family where there were ten of us. So, being around a lot of children is nothing new to me. I always told myself whenever I grow up, I want to get married and have five children.”
Cudjoe, 69, and her husband got married in January 1975. After trying to conceive for a few years, nothing happened. So, they decided to visit the doctor to ensure that all was well with them. The news that they received was not one they wanted to hear. They were told that they will never have children.
"The doctor told us my womb was retroverted (turned backwards) and, not only was my womb turned backwards, we were also told that my blood and my husband’s blood were not corresponding.
They visited several doctors but the prognosis was the same.
“My husband and I grew up in church where we have seen the miracle working power of God. So, we both decided that were going to pray and ask him to help us get pregnant. After praying and fasting for three days, I went to church one Sunday morning. While I was praying and talking to God, I heard a voice which sounded as clear as day, saying to me: 'When you get this baby, I will like you to name it Bonisa.'"
Cudjoe said she turned around to see who was speaking to her but saw no one. When she got home she told her husband what happened.
"On hearing this good news, he became very excited and lifted his hands up and thanked God. He was confident that it was the voice of God that had spoken. Well, the rest is history. A few months later, I was pregnant with my first daughter, Bonisa – the first of three daughters, and then our two sons came after. I got the exact number of children that I asked God for.”
Being a mother was a very thrilling experience for Cudjoe, but it was not without challenges. The first being Bonisa's health, and secondly because the children were born in quick succession, she found herself having to care for five young children all at the same time. She had to quit her job in the hotel industry.
“When my first child was born, the doctors discovered a growth on her neck. They wanted to do surgery, but being the prayerful man that my husband was, he objected and chose instead to ask God to heal her, and he did. After a short time, the growth disappeared."
Cudjoe said motherhood, for her, is serious business.
"I strongly believed that it was my responsibility to bring up my children in the right way, which includes providing a proper education, teaching them the ways of God, and ensuring that I model the type of lifestyle that they can imitate."
Because of her love for children, Cudjoe was not just a mother to her own children but also cared for her siblings’ children. During the school vacation she would take them to her home to spend the time with her family.
Cudjoe’s third daughter, Natalie who also has her own family but who visits her mother daily, described her as a very straightforward but loving and caring mother who goes all out for her children.
“She is a pillar of strength for us. With our father now deceased, she continues to hold the family together. She is a very spiritual and strong woman who you can always come to for counselling and advice. Had it not been for her being the supportive, helpful, caring person that she is, my siblings and I would not have been the persons that we are today.”
Cudjoe has some advice for couples who have been married for quite some time and have not been able to have children of their own.
“Do not give up! You just continue to pray and ask God to bless you with children. Remember, God has a perfect timing for everyone. Sometimes we also need to ensure that we are ready to start a family by putting everything in place before their arrival. We also need to be patient. Everything in life comes with patience, including caring for your children. So just continue to pray and trust God, and in the end, you will get the desire of your heart as he sees it fit.”
Cudjoe also has some advice for mothers with children.
“Love and respect your children. Since children live what they learn, it is very important that you give to them exactly what you want them to reciprocate to you. You also need to conduct yourself in such a way that they can emulate you. Do not say negative things to your children, always find some positive things to say to them. By so doing you are going to develop their self-esteem, and this will help them to blossom into the type of individual that they were created by God to be.”