Dr. Oluwatoyin ‘Bode-Abass is a wellness, nutrition, weight management and lifestyle consultant. She studied Medicine and Surgery at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, where she finished top ten of her graduating class. Passionate about health promotion and disease prevention, a career in Preventive Medicine is a fit. With encouragement from her husband and friends, she founded TBA Wellness Hub, a wellness and lifestyle consultancy where she empowers individuals to take a proactive approach to their health and nutrition. She also recently founded Erin’s Clean Kitchen to provide healthful meal options.
Oluwatoyin got married to her college sweetheart, ‘Bode barely three months after a major gynaecological surgery. Both knowing that the diagnosis could affect their chances of having children, they held on to their love for each other, faith in God and hopes for a miracle. Grateful for a happy ending to nearly eight years of childlessness, she has written the book, ‘RANGE’ which chronicles her formative years, her orientation, how she found love and her long, arduous journey through infertility to motherhood and eventually to suffering pregnancy loss. Her experience with difficult life situations from a very tender age and her fighting spirit speaks to her ability to recoil. Lets read just a bit of her inspiring story.
What motivated you to write “Range”?
It was a struggle writing this book. I didn’t want to open up on a lot of my life experiences. I wanted to shield myself from cynicism, criticisms and judgements. I was scared to be vulnerable, to be stigmatised. Then it dawned on me that I had the weird privilege of having theoretical knowledge of infertility as a doctor and experiential knowledge as a patient. I have a vantage view point. One that is real and relatable. I realise it is important that I share my story and lend my ‘voice’ to change the discourse on infertility in the hope of dispelling the stigma that is associated with it.
I have been through fire, I survived it. I am returning with truckloads of water to help those still consumed by the fire.
Some of the Lessons from Range include love, resilience, hope, support. Other lessons included the role of my faith along with medical intervention and the need to fight together (as a couple).
In a nutshell tell us your story of waiting
Our season of waiting for a baby wasn’t just waiting. Every step of the way there were challenges. There were medical problems that required surgery. Ultimately I had 7 surgical procedures before our precious son arrived. I am thankful for the gift of my husband, who I call Darl. He stood by me every step of the way. He went with me to every single hospital appointment. He is constant and steadfast. He supported me in every way that I needed. He is everything good wrapped up in one. The unflinching support and unconditional love of Darl was a major source of strength during the wait. My mainstay through all the harrowing procedudes and waiting period was Christ. I drew strength from God’s love, and His promises. It wasn’t an easy journey but I saw God every single time I needed a miracle. For every surgical procedure I went through, it was faith in God that helped me stay the course. It was the knowing that Christ already paid the price that stilled me through the fiercest storm. Today, I am thankful to God for His mercies towards me.
You also have a Range Foundation, please share what you hope to achieve through this foundation.
Writing the book “Range” is the first step towards helping others facing the struggles with infertility. Much more than sharing my journey is the desire to help others.Range Foundation will be providing support to couples dealing with infertility. Support will range from medical advisory, emotional, social, spiritual and financial.We will be partnering with some fertility centres in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Ibadan to begin with. We hope to get discounted rates at these centres and help couples who genuinely cannot afford pay for their fertility treatment. Our desire is to see every coupe has a chance at parenthood irrespective of their socio-economic status.We want to lend our voice to dispelling the stigma that surrounds infertility with the hope that couples battling infertility can wade through their journey with dignity.
You also wrote another book titled “Wellness Found Me”. Presenting two books at once is no mean feat, why did you write this?
Well I am an advocate for having a good body image and loving your body the way it is right now while you work to achieve a healthier body. So my approach is one based on professionalism, grace and compassion. My vision as a medical professional and wellness coach is to be the voice that changes the narrative and shapes the future of healthcare in Nigeria, and indeed the rest of Africa from curative (reactive) to preventive (proactive). I am hopeful that we can begin to raise a generation of disease free Africans – using a proactive approach – one that is not plagued with lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, obesity and overweight. Healthy individuals means a healthy community and nation, thereby reducing overall healthcare expenditure. With the state of our healthcare delivery system, prevention is the obvious choice. While I acknowledge that there are existing risk factors influenced by genetics, environment and age , there are still certain proactive and preventive measures that can be taken to promote health and delay onset of lifestyle diseases. It is really my sincere hope that by sharing my personal experience and some insight into how to get started on your wellness journey, we can begin to appreciate the importance of taking a proactive approach with our health and nutrition, and understand that ultimately, it is cheaper to prevent disease that treat chronic conditions.
Wellness – is simply striving for health through mind, body and spirit.
Beautifully said Toyin, congrats on your two new books and I wish you all the success in your endeavours! Follow Toyin on Instagram @drtba for more information on her book.