Show some love today for a regular guest poster here on the blog for Simple Girl blogging over at (Simple Girl Writes) who defines herself as Slightly Neurotic, Cheerful, Blessed, Wants to be a back-up singer in the next lifetime, Sh*t scared of pigeons and chickens, Econometric nerd extraordinaire, Just a simple girl…
Technically my little one is now just over one year (13 months to be exact) and I honestly can’t believe that I’ve been a mother for a year. WOW – we made it 🙂 (albeit with a lot of bumps and bruises along the way and don’t forget the many, many tears)!
I’ve never really liked children. I know that may be a shocking way to start this blog post but I always thought that I was a better aunt especially to little ones over the age of three. But babies? Yoh, I was not present for the diaper changing, constant burping, bottle feeds and anything else associated with newborn babies. So when I found out that I was going to be a mother, my biggest worry was whether I would genuinely like my child. Of course I would love my child – that goes without saying but I was honestly worried about how I would cope given that I knew nothing about handling babies and whether I would genuinely like the experience.
I was pronounced a mother on 28 November 2016. When I finally got a chance to look at the little human that I had been baking for nine months, all the fears and trepidation I had did not miraculously disappear (contrary to all the lies you are told at the baby shower) – but rather completely enveloped me.
Yes, I was that woman.
I was scared and completely nervous about being a mum over the first four months. I was completely overwhelmed by the responsibility that comes with raising a child. The sleep deprivation and hormones did not help. And let me not start on the struggles faced with breastfeeding. It didn’t help that I also did not receive proper support regarding this and went into it completely blindsided. People take it for granted that every woman will have sufficient (milk )supply and the right technique for baby to latch. Needless to say, I struggled with breastfeeding. We had incorrect latch and minimal supply (a teaspoon worth of milk was produced after pumping for at least an hour). Breastfeeding completely humbled me. I remember hysterically crying after another (well-meaning, I’m sure) relative called to give me a lecture about the benefits of breastfeeding and that regardless of the pain and difficulty I faced that it’s just something I must do if I want to give my child a good first step to a healthy life (yes, those words were actually said). The judgement you face from other women when they hear or see that you aren’t breastfeeding is real 😦 I still haven’t gotten over the guilt over my failure with breastfeeding – this despite having a happy and healthy little girl. Lol, I actually think I am quite scarred by the experience, especially people’s reaction to my attempts. Baby steps I suppose.
But the past year hasn’t been all gloom and doom. The first time she smiled at me, first time I saw her sitting up on her own, the first time I came home from work and received a massive toothless smile and of course the first time I got a wobbly hug after someone took her first steps were literally the best moments I’ve had in a while. Those were the days I honestly felt like a mother and realised that this little person knows that too.
What I have learnt over the past year is that it’s ok to not be in control of everything and to ask for (and accept) help. Once I learnt to let a few things go, motherhood was not as scary anymore and I was able to enjoy being a mother. I luckily went through this emotional roller coaster with probably the most understanding partner I could ever have asked for. This coupled with the support from the grannies and aunties also helped (especially when all the nanny drama started – that’s a story for another day).
But honestly, I think motherhood (especially with your first child) is made to appear all shiny and sparkly and perfect (like floating in a field full of candyfloss perfect). And in my experience, I was rather running through a field of thorn trees 😦 Yes – It does get easier and becomes quite enjoyable but it’s not always easy to start off with. I just wish someone had told me that so that maybe I could have prepared myself a little bit more for it.
When I think of motherhood now, I’ve learnt to be kind and patient (nothing like a few weeks with minimal sleep to test your patience). That Googling if the colour of baby poo is normal at odd hours of the morning is ok. I also know that I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought I was. Importantly, I’ve learnt to humble myself and to be willing to do just about anything (including crawl on the floor if I have to) to get that amazing laugh (now with eight whole teeth!) from the little madam.
I’m constantly amazed by my child at her sheer resilience to reach all of her developmental milestones (regardless of the many bumps, tears and falls on the way). I’ve also fallen completely in love with my husband again and again while watching him interact with his child – their bond is love in its purest form, it is beautiful to watch. So here’s to the first year of being a mother – it hasn’t been rosy and perfect but hey, aren’t those imperfections what makes for an interesting ride?
Thanks so much for this post, I already shared with you how much it means to me that I can
guilt/bully/ ask this of you and know that I can depend on you to be honest and vulnerable with me. It is much appreciated. As someone that has witnessed you come into your own as a mother and wife, I am so delighted to witness this growth and wish you and your family many more joyful and blessed days ahead.
When your daughter asks you if she’s pretty, looking like the universe is weighing down her little bones with insecurity, resist the urge to say “Of course, darling, Of course you are.”
Tell her instead: “Everyday, I bless the stars that fell apart to allow your body’s embers to glow to life.”
Tell her instead: “In the 7 billion that exist on this planet you are the only one of your kind.”
Tell her instead: “You are so much more than pretty. The stars that gave you to me made you to be like the sun. You are their best ever masterpiece. You aren’t pretty. You are inspiring.”
“i will tell you, my daughter
of your worth
not your beauty
everyday. (your beauty is a given. every being is born beautiful)
knowing your worth
can save your life.
raising you on beauty alone,
you will be starved.
you will be raw.
you will be weak.
an easy stomach.
always in need of someone telling you how beautiful you are.”
I generally hate letters written to future whatevers but today being Women’s Day in South Africa and because I just watched an advert of ladies giving advice to a younger self, I thought I would give it a try.
Overall, be confident. There is nothing as attractive as a woman who is confident in her skin and who draws out the best in the different people she encounters in her day to day life.
All the best!!
Men have been denied so many safe spaces where they can be men and vulnerable
Guys like us, it turns out, are hungry for a place to talk with other men, particularly about how fatherhood is changing us, and changing writ large. Just as literature has long helped people see that our seemingly personal struggles are universal, being able to talk in this group offers a similar revelation. In an age of near-constant superficial virtual connection, there’s an enormous benefit in having a real life community to confide in more deeply and provide a genuine social network — especially for men and young fathers so often without it.
When I am a lazy blogger, I always come back with a myriad of links for people to enjoy. This time is no different either, so enjoy!!
Hope I have made sufficient amends for my absence on the posting front.