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credit: Bee Walker

Ibi with her three children. credit: Bee Walker

By Judith Ohikuare

mater mea is an online magazine that profiles the lives of working moms of color through gorgeous photography and compelling features.

Speculative fiction writer Ibi Zoboi (pronounced e-bee za-boy) has a life that closely echoes the radical and personal transformations seen in her favorite genre: She changed her name in college; had an intense, whirlwind courtship with painter Joseph Zoboi; became a mother of three children before she was 30 years old; and has garnered a number of accolades for her writing, which melds folklore, mythology, and fantasy.

While Zoboi often uses the word “magical” to describe important moments and milestones, serendipity is only part of her story.

What was being a new mother like for you?

Most people don’t know how hard those first few weeks are for a new mother. Eventually, you make it through, but I know a lot of mothers who say those were some tough months. It was really, really hard because [we had] virtually no help. Because my husband is so [present], his family would come and play with the baby and think everything was fine, but Joseph was tired, too. I think what happens when you’re a married couple is people see a helpful husband and think you have it made. But he’s still a dude. He gets sick of the dishes and will be like, ‘I’m going for a walk!’ The hardest thing was not having a community of women coming to help.
I [also] had a home birth for all three children, so I didn’t get [those] two days in the hospital where you just chill and everybody else takes care of everything. In the past, I had taken ownership of my health — I changed my hair, was vegan, and juiced. A home birth would be taking ultimate ownership of my body. [We] didn’t even consider a hospital, but my mother was like, “Are you crazy! We came all the way from Haiti for this?!” (Laughs) She was scared, but after the third child, I saw that she kind of had a new respect for me.


To read the full interview, click here.

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