My childhood, growing up was never simple or stable. While all my friends were struggling between which outfit they would wear that day, or who they’d send their valentines cards to; I was trying to make sense of which country I’d live in and with which parent I could feel I belonged. It was awkward- living in Belgium for a short time, and then between England and South Africa. For all the complicated reasons, I was constantly saying goodbye to one parent/side of the family. My LOVE TANK was never truly filled, but rather half empty missing one parent.
Life went on, I grew up and I found love. A few times. But couldn’t keep it. Why? Because I was always so insecure about losing it. Funny how that worked out.
Then came adulthood, I ventured out into the big, beautiful world and took some time in isolation to get to know who I truly was, and I spent quality time with myself, being alone. God orchestrated it so perfectly that he planted me right in the hands of a loving & hella PATIENT man who saw right through the baggage I carried, and let Jesus shine so bright in him, that my life began to brighten.
Whilst planning our wedding, I unfortunately lost my Mom. Well, she’s still alive, but she chose to no longer be apart of our new union. I moved to Cape Town, and set up home where my new husband had his career based. I was okay (in the beginning) with daily video chats to my family back home & occasionally 2 hour flights back to Johannesburg. But shortly after settling into married life, I realized I did not just move cities for my husband, but for HIS career, HIS family, HIS friends, HIS music, HIS WORLD. It was the greatest challenge trying to adapt as an outsider, and I will share more on that one day. But at this point of the journey, I care only to delight in the GREATEST GIFT, BLESSING & RAY OF SUNSHINE.. MY SON.
6 months into our marriage I fell pregnant. Greatest news ever! I remember feeling like being a mother would be the greatest joy for me. I felt that my LOVE TANK was finally free to share fully with another life that I could and would pour into forever. Doing it without a mother’s love and support was very sad, but I soldiered through it thinking that my Dad was amazing, my Baby’s dad was great.. but most importantly JESUS HAD ME 150%.
I remember the fear, thinking that my support structure, my amazing family, was all JHB based. GREAT! HOW AM I GOING TO RASIE A CHILD FOR THE FIRST TIME, ON MY OWN, AWAY FROM ALL GUIDANCE, LOVE & SUPPORT? Shit. So I went home & gave birth in JHB. As that beautiful boy came into the world, I knew most certainly I WAS BORN FOR THIS! Finally a family of my own to Love, Nurture, and Never Leave! I have aaaaaalways wanted children. I have aaaalways wanted to be a mother, to be able to share all my love & affection with my babies.
Returning back to CPT, so that my son could start his life in our home and resume normal life for my husband, was a heart wrenching time for me. I had so much help from my Dad, Grannies & Aunts, I was not sure how I’d manage. Especially considering that my baby Daddy had almost 0 experience with babies and works odd, and sometimes long hours. I gave my all into being 101% there for my baby. He never left my side for all of 8 months. I did not have a present Mom that could relieve me to pee, or give me a peaceful night off. And that was actually okay. I was more than happy to take full responsibility and care of my boy. I breast fed exclusively for 6 months and mix fed until he was 8 months. And then I started losing the plot.
I forgot what it was like to have adult conversations with friends. My sentences usually included the color of popo for the day, accompanied by which nursery rhyme I sang to put Bub to sleep. I started breaking down every time my Husband would work late or tell me he needed to rest because he had to work. LIKE WHAT BRUH?! Does he not get what’s its like having a little human sucking the life from you all day, poo’ing everywhere, crying and then back to square one? I started feeling like trash, watching my husband go out and live his passion while I stayed home all day and got spat on because it was too difficult to go out with baby alone. I started feeling like my body and life were not my own.
Sooo… I fed into the hands of all the judgy Moms and put my kid into Nursery school at 8months old. I got back into my fitness routine, and doing all the things that made me feel good about myself. I started studying again, to equip myself and give my son a mom he could be proud of one day. I even started buying for myself again (Moms, you know that guilt I’m talking about right?). I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m surely not where I was. My journey is still unfolding.
AAAND HERE I AM. 15 months post delivery, still standing and still smiling. Have I lost my mind a few times? YES. Have I packed my bags for JHB to be with my family and their help? YES. Do I feel lonely & incapable sometimes? YES.
But you know what? God wouldn’t chose ME to mother THIS little gift if he found me unfit. It would be too easy to give up now, and repeat my childhood cycle of hopping from one home to the next. And what I can share with other moms from my experience is that it’s okay to be totally smitten and in love with your child/children, but it’s also okay to nurture yourself throughout. Many mums believe you should give your all to your kids. I agree with that, but within reason. Make sure to always make time for yourself. Our kids need healthy, happy and fulfilled mothers. Our kids need mothers who love themselves too, how else would you teach them to value themselves if you’re not displaying that?
Remember, you cant pour from an empty cup! It’s absolutely necessary to become the BEST version of YOU, for your kids!
Love Always, A x