The Parenting journey of a new mother
From the very first time I saw the double line on the home pregnancy test I knew my life as I knew it would never be the same again. But then again, this was what we’d been trying for almost two years, so I should have been ecstatically happy. Instead I was feeling so many feelings at once it was difficult to tell where one started and another one ended. My husband, though, was ecstatically happy but not so sure about how to react to my inexplicable reaction. I kept thinking I’m not ready for this!
It took me about a week to get used to the idea of being pregnant and about nine months to wrap my head around the idea that I was going to be a mommy. I honestly never thought I would survive the enormity of giving birth but thinking back it all happened in one big moment. This is and will always be my biggest achievement. And then it was me and my baby daughter. We spent the first few days in hospital and we had regular happy visits with my husband. But generally it was just the two of us with nothing to do but get to know each other. This was weird as she seemed so foreign to me, so completely new. She sometimes still does.
As she learned to breath, eat and poop, we just looked on in amazement at this wonderful new creature called Khanyisile that stepped into our lives and changed it so much. Her first meal, first word and first tooth felt like our accomplishments but really we had very little to do with it. She was doing what most babies do naturally, growing up. And we couldn’t be more proud. She is 19 months old now and she is her own person. She lets us know what she wants and likes, and what she does not like, not just by crying, but telling us. As she learns to talk, walk and eat by herself so we have to learn to take little steps back. Giving her the opportunity to make mistakes and acquire new skills is more difficult than I thought. Allowing her to experience a range of experiences, some uncomfortable such as water on her face as she learns to swim and some positive like packing her own bag for playschool is what she needs to grow up a healthy, well rounded human being. Dealing with her negative feelings and sharing in her triumphs is what I have to do to fulfil my role as a parent. Knowing what is expected of me, of course, does not make doing this any easier but then again a lot of this journey called parenthood is not easy but it is rewarding as there is nothing that fills my heart like the beautiful smile of my little angel.
By Samantha Hanslo