Love Note from a Mom to the 200+ Abducted Nigerian Girls



By Dr. Leslie Nwoke
Guest Commentary

21 days, 20 hours, 32 minutes, and countless seconds have passed, and with every passing second I know that your  fears deepen. With every passing second, I know your moms’ fears deepen too. I know because, I too am a mom and even though I’m not your mother, my heart literally wants to escape outside my chest at the thought  of what you’re going through and what you could be facing.

Daughters, it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

My name is Leslie; I’m Nigerian too, and a mother. Over and over, I’ve watched your mothers weeping, fighting for you, and I weep with them too. You see, I’ve only been a mother for 16 months, and with every waking moment my heart beats for my child. When he was first born, I would sit amazed, counting all his fingers and toes praying grateful prayers to God for his health and with the same breath praying and wishing away any negative thing that could ever happen to him. I know your mothers did the same. The village must have pampered her with care as they watched you growing in her belly. With every kick you made in her womb, her heart jumped each time, thankful for you and excited to one day see your face. And when you were born, everything she had willingly became yours. You were an extension of her. Every dream she’s had, every wish was deposited into you, and she prayed for the strength and favor to be able to perhaps give you what she didn’t have. Like me, I know she showered you in prayers of gratitude as you slept, while forbidding anything should ever happen to you.

Daughters, it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

As a new mom, I’m always thinking of my child. Is he ok? Did he sleep well? Did he eat? What’s he doing this very minute? Was that cough something serious? And the questions  go on. In just these short 16 months, my heart quickens when he’s not by my side. I know this is what your mothers are feeling as well. I know they are asking themselves if you’re ok? Are you sleeping ok? Are you able to sleep at all? What is happening to you this very minute?  Are you sick? Are they taking care of you? I can imagine their complex prayers, ushering venomous curses over your captors, and at the same time praying mercy on them so that they may show you goodwill.

Daughters, it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

I, like so many, think of you daily. I wish you could see the marches being held on your behalf. I wish you could see your mothers’ bravery as they impress our governments to fight for you. We, and most assuredly, your mothers miss you more than you can ever imagine. With every passing day, we feel your absence. Your fathers are missing their Ada’s. Your siblings are missing the jokes you two cracked. Your best friend misses the secret times you shared on holidays. You should be here with us. Every day we hope against fate that you will be returned back to us. As mothers we tap into the natural connection we shared with you in the womb, whispering messages, hoping our children can hear them. Along with them, I whisper, “Hold on to who you are. We are fighting for you. You are worth more than they say you are. We are coming for you. Never lose hope in this despite what happens. We have not forgotten you.”  With tears, I’m sure she would whisper apologies of a fault that isn’t hers, offering concessions of an act that shouldn’t have happened to you. Along with her, I whisper to you as a mother, with my own tears, saying, “I’m so sorry Daughters-it wasn’t supposed to be like this.”

Dr. Leslie Nwoke currently is a psychiatry resident at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is co-founder of The Ruby Project (, a non-profit organization that serves young girls facing trauma. You can catch up with Dr. Leslie on her blog,, and on Twitter & Instagram (@DivaDocSpeaks) where she shares her truth about balancing family life, being a physician, faith, and philanthropy. is a cutting-edge online magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. The site offers a platform for young adult perspectives, profiles inspirational visionaries and artists, and serves as an online community for change agents who are like-minded. Founded in 2011 by Rahiel Tesfamariam, Urban Cusp highlights voices, ideas and images not commonly found within mainstream media.

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