The Joys of Motherhood is a novel written by Buchi Emecheta. It was first published by Allison & Busby in 1979 and was reprinted in Heinemann's African Writers Series in 2008. The basis of the novel is the "necessity for a woman to be fertile, and above all to give birth to sons." It tells the tragic story of Nnu-Ego, daughter of Nwokocha Agbadi and Ona, who had a bad fate with childbearing. This novel explores the life of a Nigerian woman, Nnu Ego. Nnu’s life centres on her children and through them, she gains the respect of her community. Traditional tribal values and customs begin to shift with increasing colonial presence and influence, pushing Ego to challenge accepted notions of "mother", "wife", and "woman". Through Nnu Ego’s journey, Emecheta forces her readers to consider the dilemmas associated with adopting new ideas and practices against the inclination to cleave to tradition. In this novel, Emecheta reveals and celebrates the pleasures derived from fulfilling responsibilities related to family matters in child bearing, mothering, and nurturing activities among women. However, the author additionally highlights how the ‘joys of motherhood’ also include anxiety, obligation, and pain.
In the words of critic Marie Umeh, Emecheta "breaks the prevalent portraitures in African writing.... It must have been difficult to draw provocative images of African motherhood against the already existing literary models, especially on such a sensitive subject."