I’m not sure if I can do this.
I signed up for a challenge before I even knew what it was. The thing is, I’ve been following blogger Mandy Lee Miller and I know that all of the things she’s involved in, is good.
Like the #CarseatFullstop campaign. She is the founder of this campaign. Mandy Lee got several bloggers to join her to build awareness to get every child in a car seat in South Africa. They also explained through blog posts and social media why children should be in car seats.
I learnt a lot through this campaign. I adore how Mandy Lee made her daughter, Charly’s carseat look like fun.
I raised my hand when Mandy Lee asked bloggers to be part of the Cape Town Embrace’s #MothersDayConnect campaign.
This is really a challenge to me, because I have to do something completely out of my comfort zone.
In her email to me, Mandy Lee says: “Motherhood can be the loneliest journey, which is why we – as bloggers, offer so many the chance to see that they are not alone.
“We are asking moms across South Africa to give 1 HOUR OF THEIR DAY on Mother’s Day to simply sit with a new mom 1 WOMAN TO ANOTHER and make her feel less alone and let her know that she is not alone in this overwhelming moment.”
This initiative is remind mothers of the sistahood of motherhood.
I suddenly remember I too was overwhelmed in a public hospital nearly two years ago. My husband was not allowed in the ward until visiting hours.
I had our baby without my husband by my side. I remember I passed out after giving birth via c-section. I remember thinking: “Is this really my child?” when the hospital staff gave the baby to me.
If they were to switch babies, I wouldn’t have known, I thought. When I was my best friend’s birthing partner in a private hospital years ago, I followed the baby after he was born.
I could then tell my friend, I know where your child is and what he looks like.
Unfortunately, I had to have faith the baby I got was the right baby. Months later I realised this is my child, because she looks just like me.
Besides this, I watched the other women in my ward – how they did things and I listened to the nurses, to learn how to take care of myself (the new mommy) in the hospital.
I remember I was overwhelmed. I wanted to go home.
The loneliness did come. I found comfort in Facebook groups for mothers. There I saw messages of women who went through similiar things I went through. I realised I was not alone.
I still felt lonely, because most of my friends didn’t even talk to me any more. Their reasoning were: “You’re busy adjusting with your new baby; we don’t want to disturb you.”
But I want you to disturb me, I thought.
I often don’t see myself as a good example for a mother. Hell, my child is 16 months old now and she isn’t even in a sleeping routine yet.
I was advised by mature mothers (while I was pregnant) that I should get the BabySense book, but I didn’t. The book would’ve helped me, but I just didn’t have the money to invest in something like that.
I got a lot of parenting books, but last time I read a “how to” book was when my child was younger than six months old.
Throughout the period from birth to six months, I was a stressed out mommy. When six months came, I started to relax.
I started winging it. I started believing “I got this”.
Even though I have the confidence that I am doing a good job – my child is healthy and she is eating well, seems happy – I still doubt myself as a mother.
When I became a mother, I started thinking how am I going to be the best that I can be so that my child would want to follow in my footsteps.
I know that children learn by seeing what’s in front of them; they learn from your (the parent’s) behaviours.
So I started blogging and taught myself new things through online classes and conversations. I did this because I want to better myself.
I want my child to think: “I can be the best if I work hard and believe it, just like my mommy.”
I’m working on it.
MY OTHER DILEMMA
I’m not good at talking. I rather keep quiet. I’m sure some of you probably wonder why I’m a journalist by profession when I can hardly peep a word.
Well, when I have my journalist hat on, it’s easier to talk. When I’m a mother or anything else, it’s a struggle to talk.
I’ve seen mothers who choose their words carefully, especially when it comes to giving a message to their children. I’m in awe when I see this.
The challenge of the campaign is to spend an hour on Mother’s Day with a mother in a public hospital.
The only thing I can say is: “It will get better. You will feel bad or sad or frustrated, but you are not alone.”
Is that the right thing to say though?
I sometimes go on my friends’ WhatsApp group chat when I am frustrated about motherhood. About a week or two ago, I messaged them that I am going to have a long night – my child is jumping all over the place, that I don’t think we will go to bed soon.
I think she went to bed past 22:00 that night. The following night I had her in bed by 21:30. That was an achievement for me! [I’ve heard that many children are in bed by 20:00 already.]
I realised that you can do so much more than you ever did in your life – meaning, as a mother you’ll realise you have abilities you didn’t think you had.
For example, I used to be a late sleeper before motherhood. I used to sleep until 12:00 midday on an off day. Nowadays I’m up by 7 or 8 in the morning, even if my child is still sleeping.
Another example is when you’re sick (perhaps have the flu), you still have to find the energy to take care of your baba.
You change, because you’re doing it for your children. Your best might not look good enough, but the point is you are trying your best.
Well, I can’t really say this to a new mommy – or can I?
What would you say to a new mother?
If there are mothers who would like to join this challenge, register and get more information on Cape Town Embrace’s site: http://www.embrace.org.za/