Conversations with newbie-moms that open a can of worms and trigger a trail of monologues…

…And sobs

Image of a red rose
Say it with a rose

“You’ve got to be strong mommy

Me: I want to cry. Someone please help. Be strong! Suddenly I didn’t know what ‘strong’ meant. I allowed myself to break down. I cried. And cried.
Tears are therapeutic. With each drop that I shed, some amount of pain, fear, anxiety, confusion left my head and heart. By the time I could not cry anymore, I had gained perspective. I looked at the tiny, vulnerable cute pumpkins and I knew I had to be strong. For them. Thanks for breaking the seal Fella Kelly Mogomotsi

“When are you going for another set… of girls this time?”
I know why this one did not send me to jail for assault or something worse. It left me so paralysed and totally nonplussed.

Me: do you want me to go to a mental hospital? Because that is where I would end. No jokes. I survived on two nannies until my bambinos were a year old, but still I got so exhausted to a point of numbness.
The more I got this question, the clearer my mind was. I was never. Wait…I am never going back to the fertility clinic, not even for a singleton. So there…I am done.
Now what I really need is a hug. Massage. Assurance that one day I will get my sleep back. And I will travel the world just like I have always wanted. Oh! And find the time to read. I look forward to reading with my minions.

“You make it look so easy”

Me: easy! I am not an alarmist but this…motherhood… is a mess. No one can ever be prepared. It is a perfect case of you hit the ground running.
A lot happens all at once. There is no time to recover from the C-section agony. And the fatigue of having carried the 4.3 kg load. No! You quickly have to adapt to sleep that is interrupted every 2 or 3 hours. Breast feed. Or express. I had to express so that I could get assistance with feeding one of the twins. The rugby ball technique was no child’s play. If you are expecting twins you might want to check out this video.
The list continues…
Change diapers. Manage umbilical cords. Attend ante-natal care. No delegation. Did I mention you have to eat? Imagine being so tired you find eating to be such a chore. I used to eat hungrily. No time to savour the taste. When I finished I would just drop, sob and doze off. Already anxious that before I have had enough sleep the babies will be up…
My eyes welled as I penned this.

“You look beautiful for a nursing mom”

Me: I am so tired. I feel drained. Am I trying too hard? Is this even realistic, or sustainable?
Well at least that is positive feedback. Who doesn’t want to know that their effort is bearing fruits?
There we go moms. Let’s keep trying. Figure out what lifts your mood and makes you happy. Bath salts. Long lazy baths, albeit few and far between. Your favourite fragrance. A coffee break with a friend. Massage. Facial. Drive with the windows down. Listen to your favourite song (in the car). Live a little.
I always felt a happier and better mom when I did the things I loved. I loved my bambinos more.
Remember the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

In February this year I was going to drop an acquaintance I had met during a conference, at the hotel. Upon seeing the two car seats which are sort of a permanent fixture in my car, she asked if I had twins. I casually responded “yep. They turned one, three weeks back.”

“And you have a full time job as an academic!”

Me: Thank you for recognising that it’s hard. Sometimes I feel like I must toughen up and stop feeling sorry for myself.
A month later I attended a seminar hosted by the Office of Research and Development. The facilitators were academics of note Dr. Anna-Karin Tiden from Stockholm University and Ms. Barbara Spano of Danish Technical University in Denmark whose passion on research, innovation, intellectual property rights and funding opportunities for researchers is just remarkable. Their presentation left me whispering “WOW! REALLY WOW!”
When evaluating applicants’ submissions for funding, consideration is made regarding the number of times a female applicant has been to maternity leave over a certain period in order to apply due ‘compensation’ for missed publishing opportunities, in the spirit of fair competition against their male counterparts. Now this… is equality epitomised.

To all working moms, heavens know what you have to endure and still keep your sanity. Below is my baggage, well part of it. [I know some of you could be going through worse.]
My chores
Meeting deadlines when I stayed up most of the night nursing temperatures. Quickly go to class. Teach like every day. Dash to the doctor, go back to the office. Do consultations with students. Smile. Laugh. Be ‘normal’.
Read. Attend meetings. Checkout emails. Respond accordingly and as promptly as required.]
You know what, feel like a tiny creature towered by huge boulders of rocks and about to crumble under pressure. Scrape that.
Feel like a big girl. No! boss girl, dealing with life and giving it some attitude. Smashing goals. Personal goals. Mommy goals

Happy Mother’s Day

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