Pregnancy and You Magazine is Nigeria’s first insightful lifestyle magazine for expectant mothers and their unborn child, and is fast becoming a must have for expectant and nursing mothers. Femme Lounge had an interesting chat with Folawe Banigbe, the enterprising young woman behind the trail blazing magazine.
Your professional and educational background?
I grew up in the city of Ibadan, Oyo State Nigeria where i had my preliminary education and high school. I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry at the University of Ado Ekiti, Ekiti state Nigeria. I also have a Diploma in Event Management Training at Event Management Training School UK, an affiliate of the University of London. I also trained as a makeup artist from New York certified expert; I delved into confectionery, designs and so on. I believe all this happened because of the diverse passion i had as a young lady and that my love for creative art was very intense. I have done a lot of creative writing ever since i was a young girl and my profound interest in the body anatomy hooked me to the medical line, though i did not really consider studying medicine besides the fact that my parents fantasized about me being the doctor of the family.
Your family life?
My parents are both from Ogun state, Nigeria. I was born into a large but very interesting family. My father is an educated man, who availed his kids of facilities that built unique interests in us from childhood. We had a standard library in the house and my father also made us a laboratory in case one of his children would become inventors in the future! I am married to Obafemi Banigbe, a Telecommunications Professional and a pioneer of Leadership Forums and mentoring programs for youths across Africa. We are blessed with a boy and a girl, Imisioluwa and Ayanfeoluwa respectively.
What is Pregnancy and You all about?
Pregnancy and You Magazine was born out of the fact that we had a dearth of such in our country. After i had my first pregnancy and i experienced the whole process, i felt there is definitely more to pregnancy than just waking up one day and finding out you are pregnant without knowing what to expect. I also figured that the average woman would get prepared for everything such as weddings and all in her life but pregnancy and that was depriving them of a lot of fun that pregnancy could turn out to be if they could just know what they are getting into.Pregnancy and You magazine came on the scene, introducing new levels of excellence and support for women as they prepare for their bundle of joy. Pregnancy and You is much more than a pregnancy title – it’s a celebration of family lifestyle. The features in Pregnancy and You are refreshing, thought-provoking and challenging, covering a range of topical and worldwide issues. Pregnancy and You is the ultimate glossy lifestyle magazine read by upwardly mobile women and their partners.
What inspired it?
November, 2005. I had just gotten married; I was ovulating my wedding night. Two weeks into our long fantasized honeymoon, i started misbehaving. I did not want my husband to touch me; the cologne we had both picked at a mall in Dubai was so irritating i begged him to stop using it. My poor husband thought he had done something wrong; i did know how to explain the sudden irritation i started to feel. A couple of days later, i missed my period and we were not even back from the honeymoon yet! Christmas and New Year was terrible. I started throwing up so much; i was hospitalized a couple of times. You can imagine we were newlyweds who had not had a chance to live together as two love birds and i was already ‘messing’ up! After the first trimester, when i could manage to put a smile on my face and swallow spit after 4 months, i started making research. I read so many books and asked a lot of questions from my ob/gyn, we became such good friends afterwards. Amongst my friends and family, i had been known as the ‘uncertified doctor’ and i remember being asked questions about ovulation, safe period and all other things even before i was married. I thought it would be a fantastic idea to start a soft sell on pregnancy and parenting and at the time i was in the uk so i made a lot of research based on magazine publication, designing and printing and we kicked off ever since.
What do you hope to achieve with it?
Pregnancy and You is aimed at creating such awareness about pregnancy and parenting across Africa. It is basically a platform that has been made available to give the African woman a voice and also we hope to effect changes on policies that does not favour the African woman in different spheres such as the corporate environment and the society at large. We intend to build a network of the African mothers across the continent; women from different backgrounds and culture that pregnancy and you has brought together.
How has been the response from readers?
We have had such encouraging and awesome response right from the time we made reservation cards for people before the first edition of the magazine was published. We have built a subscriber base of about 4,000. Our average readership statistics at each release of the quarterly published magazine is about 25,000 across and beyond Nigeria. We get lots of mails everyday from women and men about how interesting and helpful the magazine has been and how proud they are of the publication. And is has just started.
What has been your challenge?
Hmm, well i have learnt at a stage in my life that my challenges are spring boards that launches me into the future, and so it will be a bit difficult to state what i would regard as a challenge; financial capital, getting the right expertise, setbacks and amongst others are part of the package and when things really get tough, i remind myself that they are all “symptoms of greatness” like i believe God revealed to me at a particular time and then i shrug off the situation and there comes a fresh energy to make things happen.
Your most fulfilling moment on this journey.
Hmm, it would be a bit difficult; i have found fulfilling moments from awesome feedbacks and calls i get every now and then about how relevant and helpful the magazine had been. One of the most inspiring was a woman who called that she decided to change her hospital for a better one after she read a particular article in the magazine and she realized that she deserves to be treated better than she was being treated at her previous medical center. It dawned on me at the time, that we have taken such responsibility on ourselves as a publication to look out for our mothers.
Most successful women have had to climb on the shoulders of others to have a clearer view of the road ahead them, who are your own mentors?
I have had a mentor for every stage of my life and journey but at this stage i would say that my mentor is my husband. My spiritual parents and mentors for a long time are Rev&Rev Mrs. Albert Femi Oduwole. However, since they handed me over to my husband, he has been my mentor and coach. I have since adopted his lifestyle and learnt a lot from him. His views and approach to life have become mine and he is the only mentor i follow so closely; very closely. (laugh) (obvious innit..lol)
Your greatest strengths and skills that has been particularly been of help in achieving this.
One of my greatest strengths that had kept me going is persistence. I do not take ‘no’ for answer and when i see a new reason to make things happen, i move in on it. My writing skills have also been handy and my strong desire to get the publications into every woman’s’ hands.
What significant life lessons have you learnt on this journey?
That you can achieve your greatest dreams with not as much hard work as you thought. You just need to be smart and consistent.
What do you think are the success essentials for today’s young women?
Discover your passion and what ‘makes you tick’ and then do not be scared of exploring it. The moment you set the ball rolling, you have started to succeed already.
Where and how can we know more about your work?
Facebook: PREGNANCY AND YOU GROUP AND ask-a-mom
Our office address: 12,Aba Johnson Crescent. Adeniyi Jones. Ikeja. Lagos.