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“I didn't want to perform pregnancy”: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's refreshingly low-key baby annoucement

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Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has given birth to a baby girl – but without the fanfare usually made of high-profile births, because she didn’t want to “perform pregnancy”.

Speaking to the Financial Times in a feature called Lunch with the FT, the bestselling Nigerian writer casually revealed that she was now a mother by rejecting a glass of wine at lunch: “I would probably have a glass of wine, but I’m breastfeeding, I’m happy to announce.”

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with her novel Americanah

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was nominated for the Bailey's Prize in 2014 for her novel Americanah

The interviewer, David Pilling, asked if she had spoken about her baby before, and Adichie, 38, admits that “I have some friends who probably don’t know I was pregnant or that I had a baby.”

“I just feel like we live in an age when women are supposed to perform pregnancy. I went into hiding. I wanted it to be as personal as possible,” she adds.

Adichie's novels Purple HibiscusHalf of a Yellow Sun and Americanah have received rapturous critical and popular acclaim and her hit 2013 TED talk We Should All Be Feminists cemented her status as one of the world's leading contemporary feminist voices. 

Although not surprising to her fans, Adichie's decision to keep her transition to motherhood fairly private is deeply refreshing in an age where social media can make motherhood competitive, and women are judged for their choices around it.

Talking about her decision not to bring her pregnancy into the public eye, Adichie points out that “we don’t expect fathers to perform fatherhood.” When the journalist asks the name of her baby, Adichie replies, “No, I won’t say.”

She is famously private about her personal life, saying “I’m becoming a bit of a recluse. I like solitude. I like silence.” She also rarely speaks about her husband, a Nigerian doctor - although she does note, “In this country of mine [Nigeria] that I love people think that you’re incomplete unless you’re married.” 

Adiche’s essay We Should All Be Feminists is based on her 2013 TED talk, which was sampled in a Beyonce single, Flawless.

She was reluctant to reveal whether she is currently working on a new novel: “It’s a very bad question. It’s a question that puts you in a panic.”

She also touched on the upcoming US election, saying “I adore [Barack Obama],” and that she’d vote for Hillary Clinton, although Bernie Sanders is like “your dishevelled, likeable uncle.” 


Images: Rex Features

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