Hi my name is Efia. I am mother of two fantastic boys aged 3 and 1. I am wife to my personal person who is the best.I work full time at a bank. Everyday i am winging this mummyhood journey and it’s one of the most honourable hoods to be a part off.
After delivering my first born, the nurses placed him on my chest, I was nonchalant. Alarming right?! I did not shed a tear or express any emotion, I was pretty blasé about the whole situation. How could somebody who just went through a torturous, life threatening and miraculous experience such as labor and delivery feel this type of emotion? It is very common to hear and watch stories of how a mother cries and feels an absolute sense of connection to their child once he/she arrives. What I can say I felt was the best feeling was relief, pure and absolute relief…finally it was all over. Thank God!
My second delivery on the other hand, was over before I could say jack. Exciting right?…for sure! Looking back, four years down the line now, my first experience I believe was traumatizing and exhausting which probably led to my reaction. I endured a total of twelve hours of induced labor due to preeclampsia at 38 weeks. I was cut and stitched up down there, amongst a host of events, before he finally made his grand appearance (literally and physically). I vowed never to have any more kids at that point but of course God had other plans and the pull out game was not strong enough – to be honest. A month before my oldest son’s first birthday, second baby had already been cooking. Wowie!!!
The second pregnancy was smooth sailing and I really prayed against preeclampsia and I had a different outlook towards it all. I got some books to help through this time. The Power of Supernatural Birth by Jackie Mize. I spent time reading it and kept visualising how I wanted my labor and delivery to turn out this time round. To my amazement, it worked how I had intended. I did get labor pains but it was manageable till my waters were broken and then it got to the peak. However, it was very quick. This pregnancy was also induced by choice and not due to any health complications.
It was a regular Saturday morning antenatal check, my husband dropped and rushed off because our close friends were having a naming ceremony for their son. I went in and got checked vaginally since I was 38 weeks pregnant. Once checked, Dr. confirmed I was 1cm dilated and she was not about to send me home because second time mothers tend to have the tendency to deliver quickly. I tried to convince her to let me go home for bags which were already packed but she refused, understandably. My husband had to come back with my bags and I was checked in. The drug was inserted at about 11am to kick start the process. Contractions proceeded an hour later, very mild. By about 1:30pm the nurses decided to break my waters and at this point I got straight to about 8cm dilation. By 2pm I was adamant this baby needed to come out and there was a huge edge to release my bowels. Good Lord! am I about to just ‘poop’ all over this place, I mean how much more embarrassing can this get? These women are all over my ‘vejay jay’ and now they are going to have to clean up my mess. Sigh. I did the doo and to my amazement the midwives were very calming and did not make me feel like a worthless adult who could not hold her funk together. By 3pm and a few pushes later, baby number 2 arrived. This time around I was not dead in the moment, I was very alive and engaging. I owed it all to my mindset for this particular birth story as compared with my first. I guess experience really is the best teacher as they say.
Stay with me because we are going back into time on the feelings after birth for baby number 1. At the time, I just did not understand who I was. I had gained an excessive amount of weight, tying my belly everyday was just killing me, I felt like dying…okay I am being dramatic but I just could not take it. I gave up after about a week. I was exhausted the whole time caring for my newborn coupled with breastfeeding problems. I ended up feeding him formula, the best decision ever because what is important is a well fed baby. By this time preeclampsia had completely disappeared but I still felt like a stranger in my own body and mind. The hardest part was I had no one to talk to because I felt nobody would understand. After all, I just had a beautiful, chubby and healthy baby that some women dream of, why be ungrateful? My emotions were bottled up until a close friend had a baby a month after me and introduced me to a baby support group on whatsapp for new mamas who dealt with similar issues like mine. The group was a life saver because I no longer felt alone and found genuine relatable people. It was a true sisterhood and I made genuine friendships.
Four years down the line of parenthood , I feel like I am winging it on a daily basis. I do the best I can for my children because they are the most precious gift to me on earth. I love them so dearly. The dark days do creep in when I have the feeling of the ‘R’ word…Regret. I regret this and wish I was solely responsible for just me. The responsibility of taking care of just me is soo much easier. There are typical days with occurrences which make me want to pull out strands of my hair. Typical example the night of a working day, my youngest reverts to waking up at about 1:30am and refuses to sleep till about 4am despite all attempts to send him back to sleep land, in turn I end up with a messed up schedule which drags into the rest of the day. I end up being late for work, my husband all of sudden becomes the most annoying human being on earth. On such days I feel I am unable to give my best at anything I do, then I become hard on myself and feel miserable and make up all the scenarios of how wonderful life would’ve been without this feeling of ‘R’. The funny part is, next I am fine and back to the reality of loving who I am and my role as it is now.
You see, very often, women are ridiculed for feeling regret on the new role of motherhood they might find themselves in, just like myself. However, it is utterly important that we acknowledge the fact that it is usually only but a fleeting moment where clarity and perspective disappears when faced with such challenges.
To enable growth, it is important that these feelings are acknowledged and outspoken rather than internalised. The danger becomes apparent when the mother feels the ‘R’ constantly and seems extremely helpless. In such a case your inner circle and village have to be the strongest and find ways and means to hold you down in any form or shape necessary. My fellow mothers and sisters, I urge you to speak up to your safe people, seek the necessary help, acknowledge how you’re feeling and know that you are not alone. We need to be each other’s keeper.