When I was ‘diagnosed’ of pregnancy in 2016:
- I was surprised. I didn’t realise getting pregnant could come that easy for me. I could count the number of times I had had sex since I got married in December 2015 and I was certain it was not up to 50 times, so how did I get pregnant so quickly?
- I was disappointed. I had planned out my year and that included going back to school and combining that with my job. Secondly, I had assured my friends I wasn’t going to get pregnant in my first year of marriage so how come?
- I was scared. Who am I to be a mother? What are the theories of motherhood? What were the characteristics of good mothers? I had a lot of questions but no answers, initially. I was unprepared.
“Whether your pregnancy was meticulously planned, medically coaxed, or happened by surprise, one thing is certain—your life will never be the same.” – Catherine Jones
My husband was at his supportive best, answered most of the questions I had medically, and referred me to one of the best (in opinion) gynaecologists. During our first meeting, the gynaecologist encouraged me to be happy because I had no idea of what other women had to endure just to have babies. That statement got me reflecting, I felt I had been ungrateful for something as beautiful as the opportunity to bring life into the world. I started seeing my pregnancy in a new light and considered the best ways to make the most out of the situation.
I began reading and researching and of course, Pinterest (my favourite social media platform) and Baby Centre (app) were very resourceful and they cleared most of the misconceptions I had about childbearing. I spoke to other young mothers and there was a similar theme running through their conversations – Yes, delivering the baby was painful but an experience every woman needs to go through. Probably, the nine-month gestation period was designed by God for us to accept our new state and make preparations for the new addition. I made some adjustments to my career in order to combine schooling with motherhood (blog post for another day) and God has been faithful.
By God’s grace, my pregnancy experience was problem-free. No weight gain, no sicknesses, small tummy size and I could walk very well. Fast-forward to the delivery day, I had read so much about the process and I was certain I was going to sail through. I knew labour was painful but breathing through it gave you relief and that was going to be my strategy. When the labour started, my strategy was working perfectly until the process was augmented. That was when the pains switched from first to fifth gear. It was P-A-I-N-F-U-L and U-N-B-E-A-R-A-B-L-E. That level of pain is simply out of this world and for 12 hours, my body had to go through that to bring a 3KG baby girl into the world. There is a popular notion that when you see your baby, you forget about the pain. Well, my body didn’t forget about the pain. I felt traumatised and abused after going through that experience and I could barely sit up to touch my little girl. Before my delivery day, I had planned to dress my baby in a white dress, swaddle her nicely and take selfies when she was handed to me but, after what my body went through, I could hardly remember any of those plans. I’m not even certain who went into the suitcase to give the stuff for the baby to the midwives. When I saw my baby, she was already dressed in orange ‘welcome’ clothes (probably selected by her father). Thank God for her father who was present throughout the delivery process and offered all the help.
When women get pregnant, we probably believe we’ll be free after the delivery process but, that is one of the biggest misconceptions ever. The delivery process is actually the baptism into the ‘new’ life. There is absolutely no rest even if you have help, you still have to breastfeed and adjust your sleep pattern to accommodate the little ones who want nothing but comfort (blog post for another day).
Before I became a mum myself, I thought Mothers Day was overhyped but after I experienced what I experienced and I’m still experiencing, I feel mothers are not even celebrated enough. In fact, every day should be mothers’ day because the job is tough and the sleepless nights, numerous. The job description includes being a cleaner, a nutritionist, an entertainer, a clown, a cook, teacher and any other role prescribed by the baby.
“Birth is a mystery. Words are not enough.” – Marie O’Connor
Let me take this opportunity to celebrate all mothers because the role is a challenging one. To women who do not have biological children but sacrifice to make others comfortable, we say Ayekoo. And to mothers who have children with special needs, you are also doing brilliant jobs and we celebrate you today.
As a society, is it possible to ask us to stop questioning married couples on when they intend to have children? Childbearing is a choice, therefore, please stop putting people in uncomfortable situations when they have to keep explaining themselves to you. You have no idea of what their plans entail nor are you aware of what they are going through. The pressure you give may push them to do stuff in their power just to have babies and that could be deadly.