Q&A with Ona Okoyé - Author of Winging It
Excerpt from Chapter: Labor Day …. My baby girl was placed on my deflated belly for warmth while Dr. Gayle clamped the umbilical cord. Exhausted and disoriented, finally seeing my baby was not the happily ever after I had imagined. She was messy. Really messy, as newborns are, and often times, funny looking which could be surprising for new parents when your baby doesn’t pop out looking like 1000 likes on instagram. Finally gazing upon the creature that had inhabited by body for 10 months now, should have probably been where my story ended, you know, like the movies, my baby being put in my arms, David and I gazing lovingly into each others eyes, the music rising, the credits rolling... “You’re not done yet” Dr. Gayle said interrupting my thoughts. “You still have to push out the placenta” ... The exhaustion that followed my 19 hour labor took hold of my body in a way that I had never known before. Friends and visitors came by the hospital to congratulate our budding family, and while I was completely incapable of functioning, I was somehow supposed to take care of this brand new tiny person. It seemed inconceivable that anyone was able to do this, least of all, me... I left the hospital, Wednesday morning, both frightened and amidst my worry, slightly amused at the prospect that David and I were expected to go home and raise this baby. No grueling list to follow, no manual just a kind of ‘see you never’ ‘off you go’...
Oiokoyé, aka Ona is one of my girl crushes and has become something of a friend over the past months despite her being LA based (originally from Nigeria). She is a creative working in advertising, a mother and most recently an author currently enjoying the success of her book 'Winging It' in the US and UK.
I don't know about you but I am fascinated by other peoples stories and what is more intense than a birth story? The intrepidation, love, fear, anxiety, adrenaline, overwhelming joy - the actually process, it is other wordly! I loved having the opportunity to share Ona's through her own eyes.
To celebrate our giveaway, I wanted to ask this beautiful, sassy and inspiring lady some questions and find out more about her (just how is she that cool?!) why she wrote it and what it is about Maltesers that got her to fall in love with the UK...
S: Ona, tell us a bit about yourself.
O: Sure. This question always goes a bit over my head because I’m so many things! Most importantly, I’m a storyteller, have been a write all my life and I'm a wife, and I’m a mom. I live in Los Angeles, I’ve worked in Marketing for over 5 years now, and I recently started my own little company, called kinn, so I'm also an entrepreneur. I help brands tell their stories through creating captivating content for promotion on social media.
S: You have beautiful baby G. How have you found the journey of motherhood so far? Has it been what you expected?
It started off very rough for me to be honest. I often go into new experiences not expecting anything from the experience, but always expecting to give the best of myself. I had no expectations about motherhood, but I knew that I would give it my best shot, little did I know that it would change me, and change my life in ways that I really wasn’t prepared for.
S: What inspired you to write your book Wingin It?
O: I’ve been writing for a long long time, but I stumbled upon the idea to write winging it, early on in my pregnancy when I became quite fascinated with motherhood, and the twists and turns of my journey that I felt was really omitted in many of the traditional pregnancy books available to me. I was finding that not a lot of people were doing a good enough job telling the story of motherhood in a way that was interesting and relatable to the modern woman, and so I wanted to tell that story in a way that was fun, and engaging, while still keeping it real.
S: What do you hope to offer other mums through sharing your story?
O: I discovered great power in my womanhood. I think that in addition to becoming a mom, what I really became was a woman because for the first time, I was aware of my power as a woman. By sharing my story, I hope to empower other women to see the beauty in their femininity. That they can birth life, raise children, and still kick ass in the boardroom. That’s very powerful. Being a woman is a super power, and I think you really realize that when you become a mom.
S: How has your life changed and what does it look like now, in comparison to before you became a mother?
O: Life has changed in ways that I didn’t expect, I make more money now as a mom because I work 10x harder. The pressure is on. I have less time, and less energy, but still on the same playing field as everyone else, so there’s no room for excuses. I would definitely say I'm more motivated and riven now. I also feel broke a lot of the time because all my money goes to being a mom and caring for my daughter. It’s like a business that hasn’t broken even yet, if you know what I mean, but we’re definitely getting there.
S: If you could give all mums one universal gift, what would it be?
O: That’s easy, a hug. So many moms gave me that, and so now I just want to pay it forward.
S: Tell me about your recent trip to the UK, how was it, what did you get up to? And what is your favourite thing about our little country?
O: I loved my trip to the U.K. I had heard terrible things about the weather, but it was surprisingly much better weather in London, than Los Angeles. This was in April, and the weather was great - not too cold, not too warm, literally perfect. I was also able to do a some press runs, and promotion while I was there for Winging It’s release. It was a very productive trip. My family had a great time. I never went a day without Maltesers. We don’t have enough of it here in the U.S. but it’s everywhere in the U.K. so that is definitely my favorite thing
S: With regards to the book, what are you most proud of?
O: I’m most proud of myself for going through with it, I mean people talk about writing a book, but not everybody goes through with it..I did it and now I'm standing on the other side as an author and I'm very proud of this accomplishment. I know that in it’s own way, Winging it made an impact to many of the lives of the people who read it. So many readers have written to me, saying how much they enjoyed it, and how they’re buying more for every woman they know. It’s really been amazing.
S: What does the future hold for you?
O: More. I have more stories to tell, and I can’t wait for the world to listen and embrace more of my stories.
S: Where can we buy Winging It?
O: You can buy Winging It on Amazon, Kindle, and on my website oiokoye.com
I’m actually currently running a promotion on my website. If you get it on oiokoye.com it’s free shipping, no matter where you are in the world. How great is that? Also my reading tour starts in June of 2018 and I’ll be doing live readings and will be doing meet & greets, and signings. I hope to be back in the U.K. very soon!
To win one of 3 copies of Ona's book (plus a little chocolately treat to accompany your reading...) head to our IG: MamaboxUK. Competition closes Monday 16th July 4pm.