the day i watched my mother fall in love

I remember the day that I told my mom that I was pregnant with Morgan-Lee; her face said it all. It was Thursday the 5th of March 2009, the day before my 23rd birthday. I was 22, engaged but still living at home with her, and she was disappointed. I don’t hold that against her; I think I was a little disappointed in myself as well. The news of my pregnancy received mixed reactions from our families; a lot of family members on my side thought I had thrown my life away, and there was both happiness and disappointment on the husband’s side. But all-in-all, everyone accepted the fact that we were going to have a baby.

Tuesday the 5th of May 2009. That was the day that I saw our daughter for the first time. The husband couldn’t come with me as he was travelling for work, so my mom dutifully accompanied me to the gynae, who also happened to be her gynae, and who delivered my brother back in 1992! It was the first of many trips up to Ladysmith some 200km odd away, as the doctor had decided to move, and as I wasn’t on medical aid, his offer of free consultations had to be taken up!

"Meeting" Morgan-Lee for the first time on the 5th of May 2009

“Meeting” Morgan-Lee for the first time on the 5th of May 2009

I remember sitting in his rooms, waiting nervously, so excited yet so scared at the same time. I’d already had a DNC in 2004 at the age of 17; what if something was wrong this time around? I remember lying down on the bed, and then looking to the sonogram. And I watched with big wide eyes, as this little ‘thing’ appeared on the screen, darting from one side to the next, with even the doctor exclaiming how active it was. I then looked over at my mom, who had her mouth slightly open, her eyes glistening. I even remember her gasping quietly. I watched her silently watch this little thing bounce around inside of me, her baby girl now about to have her own baby, and I watched her fall in love. It was a pure, unscripted moment in time, one that I will cherish forever. When my mom saw her first grandchild for the very first time, I knew that my baby was going to be the most loved and wanted child in the world, all from the look on her face.

It was quite a remarkable thing to witness; watching my mom fall in love.

And I’m so grateful and blessed that I did.

G

 

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the mom bod

At the age of 29 (ok, almost 30), I don’t have the body that I want. Heck, most days I wonder how my husband even copes. But then I start thinking about what my body has done over the past 6 and a bit years, and my body issues, they don’t seem so important anymore.

My body has gone through 2 pregnancies. My body has nourished 3 children. My body gained 30kg over 9 months, and lost it in 6 weeks. I have cellulite, stretch marks and a pooch that has taken up residence where my flat tummy used to be. My boobs are different sizes, and no longer point in the same direction. I literally have to stand in front of the mirror every morning, rearranging them in my bra so that if it happens to be a bit cold, people will look in 1 direction, not 2! I have 2 chins, sometimes 3. My hair has thinned out, and has fallen out. I have the epitome of a muffin top, even when wearing the loosest fitting clothes that I own.

But then, I thought about what my damaged, broken body has given me. 3 healthy, strong, beautiful children. My damaged, broken body has done something that is nothing short of heroic. My body grew and nourished 3 children, 2 of them at once. Do I like what I see in the mirror? No, not particularly. But then, I don’t spend my life looking in a mirror. I have looked at the bodies of my friends who have had also had children, and I’ve looked on in envy. I’ve looked at their flat tummies, skinny legs and perky boobs and then I’ve taken a step back and realised something; I am not my friends. This is my body, not theirs. My body has reacted to pregnancy in the way that it has, because it is my body. My skin is not very elastic; I knew this from my teenage years, when my first lot of stretch marks appeared. I look at my mom, super skinny after 3 pregnancies, and I’ve looked on in envy. But now I don’t. This is my body. My body that produced 3 children. Will my body ever return to its 55kg svelte state? Quite simply, no. Yes I’m exercising and trying to lose a bit of the excess weight that I’m carrying, but it’s no longer a huge issue in my life. It’s no longer a major priority. What is a priority, is watching my children grow up, to be happy, healthy, loved people. To be determined, respectful and full of perseverance. To be the best that they can be. To know that the world is theirs for the taking, if they work hard enough for what they want.

No, I’m no supermodel. No, I never have been, and never will be. I’ve got lumps and bumps, absolutely no ass whatsoever, and lopsided boobs. I have aches and creaks in my joints, and my wedding band still doesn’t fit on my finger, even though I’ve lost all of my pregnancy weight.

But quite honestly, what more could I ask for, without being selfish?

I am woman. I am mom. I am enough.

G

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This is me

i really did want to push

I read a blog post yesterday that got me to thinking about my 2 pregnancies and subsequent births. Both were planned c-sections, but that was never the original plan.

When I fell pregnant with M-L in February 2009, the plan was a natural birth. I wasn’t on a medical aid, and natural birth is far cheaper than a c-section, plus the recovery time is quicker as well. Then we found out that my OBGYN had moved 200km away which kinda freaked me out, as no one wants to go into labour, pile into the car and then have to drive for a good 1.5hrs to get to the hospital. But, hey, it was doable and being a first pregnancy labour should last a while, right? Anyway, fast forward 5 months, and something was wrong. DOWN THERE. Now I’m not one for doctor’s, but when I’m pregnant I get paranoid. So off I went to the GP, who upon examining me, kicked my mom out of the room (that’s never a good sign) and gently asked how many sexual partners I’d been with recently.

I’m sorry, what?!

I had contracted an STD, genital herpes to be exact. I have never felt dirtier or more disgusted with myself, ever. Through a mixture of snot and tears, I told the GP that I’d only been with my husband (for the past 6 years anyway) and how did this happen?! Apparently this does happen in pregnancies, and it’s more common than a lot of women will admit to. Being pregnant, I couldn’t go on the antibiotics that are normally prescribed, so I was sent home for a week’s bed rest (if you’ve ever had this condition, you’ll know why – ow 😦 ) and life continued on as normal. At my next check-up with the OBGYN I told him what had happened, and that’s when he told me that a natural birth was pretty much out of the window. Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to describe it.

If a woman gives birth naturally whilst experiencing an ‘outbreak’, it is very dangerous for her baby, as if any of the blood is ingested by the baby, this can result in blindness as well as the baby now having the herpes simplex, and if you still opt for a natural birth, then your baby has to have a nasty injection once born, to combat any of the herpes nasties that will be harmful to him/her. I couldn’t do that to M-L; why should she have to suffer unnecessarily as well as have the risk of blindness, when there was another alternative? So, the husband and I decided, along with the OBGYN that a planned c-section was the safest way to go.

Before we found out that I was pregnant with twins last year, we discussed a natural birth with my OBGYN. I told him of my ‘condition’, and he said that there shouldn’t be any issues, and that many women have natural births after c-sections and that we’ll just monitor my ‘condition’. I was excited; this way my opportunity to experience labour, and to ‘push’. I firmly believe that a lot of my postpartum depression that I experienced with M-L, was attributed to the fact that I didn’t experience labour. I believe that labour is the body’s way of both mentally and physically preparing a woman not only for birth, but for becoming a mother. I walked into hospital, heavily pregnant, and walked out the next day in pain, with a baby. The bond wasn’t there. The connect wasn’t there. I was excited; I imagined me waking up the husband in the middle of the night, excitedly exclaiming that my water had broken and that we had to go to the hospital, you know, all movie-drama like. But alas, that wasn’t to be, as a few minutes after that discussion, we discovered that there was an extra invader in my belly. As much as a woman can birth twins naturally, my OBGYN didn’t want to take any chances, and said that he wanted to deliver them via c-section. Pop went that bubble.

I don’t feel any less of a woman because I’ve birthed my 3 children via c-section, but I do feel judged by some of my friends (and even random strangers) who have had natural births, like I have taken the easy way out. But I can assure you, there is nothing easy about a c-section. It’s scary, it’s painful and it’s not something that I’ve jumped into. It’s major surgery, and the time that could have been spent cuddling my newborn/s, washing bottles, folding baby clothes etc, was spent trying to get out of bed faster than a tortoise walking a meter without crying out in pain. And the postpartum bleeding after a c-section is no less than if you had a natural birth; I was shocked after my first c-section that I was bleeding, and so much, and for so long! So many woman think that you don’t after a c-section; believe me, you DO! After a c-section you aren’t allowed to drive for 6 weeks; a natural birth allows a woman to drive pretty much the same day, depending on what went on DOWN THERE. With a natural birth, things tend to shrink down to their ‘normal’ size relatively quickly (there is no normal size after pregnancy, I know) whereas with a c-section it takes so. much. longer. Being wheeled into the theater, drip in your wrist, catheter up your who-ha, having to schooch your big, heavy pregnant body over onto the operating table, having to somehow bend your body in half (impossible with a big ass tummy in the way) and then having to try and breathe through the needle being inserted into your lower back for the epidural, are all wonderfully soothing things that a woman looks forward to, right before bringing her child/children into this world. Right before her stomach is sliced open, her insides mooshed around, air filling every nook and cranny (air that she’ll know about for weeks after the birth) and a pressure unlike she’s every experienced before, all before welcoming her child into the world. Also with a c-section, the time spent with your newborn right after birth is not like the time spent after a natural birth. Because you now have to lie in theater for another 30-45mins (sometimes even longer) whilst your doctor stitches you back together, your baby is whisked away to the nursery, where the first bath is given, the first feed and you’re lying in theater, missing it all.

I wanted to push. I wanted to do that, be a ‘real woman’, whatever that is. But I couldn’t, and I’m ok with that. I have 3 beautiful, healthy children who are no worse off because their mommy didn’t give birth to them ‘like a real woman should have’. My mom had all 3 of us naturally, and I applaud her for that. Just like I applaud every other woman who has had a natural birth. Just like I applaud every other woman who has had a c-section. I applaud every woman that gives birth, whichever way she does so. I wish women would stop ‘comparing’ births; what matters is that your child is here, healthy and perfect, whether born naturally or via c-section.

Yes I wanted to push.

But I didn’t, and that’s ok.

G

the realisation has hit me

I was lying in bed last night, all stuffy nosed and congested head (the winter flu has finally found me) and it dawned on me that I would never again be pregnant, at least not naturally. Apart from the fact that I am now down 1 entire Fallopian tube from my surgery at the end of April, I had my tubes tied in February when the twins were born, so the only Fallopian tube that I have left is in 2 pieces!

Don’t misunderstand me; I do not want anymore children. I’m done, kaput, fine-to. But, the thought that I will never again be able to conceive life, has done a number on my brain. I’m no longer a ‘complete’ woman, for want of describing it better? A part of me wonders if I made the right decision; I remember lying on the operating table, the twins and the husband had left and my OBGYN looked over the covers and asked me in a very serious voice if I was 100% sure that I wanted my tubes tied. It was something that we had already discussed (a few times – the first time being on the 14th of July 2014 when we found out that it was twins in my belly!) and in the haze of the epidural and some freaking fantastic pain medication I said YES! – absolutely! I also recall asking for a tummy tuck, but alas, that didn’t happen.

I just wonder if I should have just continued on the pill, as it had thus far served me well. I fell pregnant with both M-L and the twins after being off the pill for 1-2 months because (and this is the really funny part) I couldn’t afford it every month! Look there’s nothing I can do about it now, and I don’t regret it, but I just feel a little incomplete inside. Like the one really important thing that only a woman can do, I can’t do anymore. I’ve been fine about it since I had it done back in Feb; last night the realisation just slapped me upside the head and I can’t seem to think about anything else but that.

But, I have my 3 blessings, and i couldn’t ask for anything more 🙂

G

i don’t have a perfect child

Technically, no one has a perfect child. And I have always been the first to tell people that M-L isn’t perfect. Maybe I’m in the wrong. Because according to the parents of her now former crèche, L and I let her get away with anything and we don’t discipline her her, and are letting her run wild. I cannot even explain how this has infuriated me.

This whole situation started, well actually was brought to my attention 2 Sunday’s before Christmas, by not only a dear friend but also a fellow mom at M-L’s crèche. M-L had spent 3 days at her house as she is/was best friends with her son, and the crèche had closed for the year and we both thought that it would be great for the kids to spend some time together outside of school. Well the complaints about M-L started after the first day, primarily about her not listening and being very stubborn. Please take note that the nanny that my friend had only just recently hired is actually a chef by profession, and as far as I know, doesn’t really have any actual childcare experience. Apparently “nanny” just couldn’t handle M-L and was absolutely exhausted and had a bad headache by the end of the first day, all because of M-L, my 5 year old daughter. The second day was pretty much the same, and apparently on the last day, the Friday she was a little better. Anyway, I thought everything was fine, and even received an offer for M-L to go back to her friends house on the following Monday! Sunday came around, and I received a message from my friend, stating that M-L had destroyed her son’s trampoline, and she couldn’t believe how destructive she was and now that’s R2.5k wasted and she’s going to have to buy another trampoline. I was obviously shocked; M-L has been naughty in the past and has broken things, but how does a 5 year old destroy a trampoline? It later emerged that it was just the protective rubber stuff on the bars of the trampoline, and that the entire trampoline didn’t have to be replaced. What also wasn’t discussed, is that this trampoline is also an outdoor trampoline, thus the UV rays will degrade it. One just has to look at my neighbour’s trampoline for proof of that!

It ended up being a good 30-45mins of messaging, and it emerged that my friend believed that M-L has some underlying issues that L and I either don’t see, or are refusing to acknowledge. My friend pretty much said that we as M-L’s parents refuse to see that she isn’t perfect, and let her get away with whatever she wants. All of the other parents at the crèche see it, AND the teachers and principal. I was flabbergasted. It then emerged that M-L and her “issues” have been discussed with not only my friend, but with several other parents. Her “issues” have yet to be discussed with L and I, her parents. Anyway, I did manage to sort things out with my friend, only after L had gotten involved and actually made things worse (gotta love him for trying, and for standing up for M-L and I) and we ended the chat with her telling us the we were always welcome at her house, and with me thanking her for bringing these issues to my attention, and that I was going to be looking into them. I also said that for now, M-L wouldn’t go to her house without me, just to prevent anything from happening. All was well.

Monday the 29th of Decemeber, I received a text from my friend in the evening, ending our friendship completely, and her telling me never to contact her ever again. It was a serious WTF moment. Earlier that day, I had emailed the principal of M-L’s crèche, pretty much demanding answers as to why my daughter was discussed with every other parent at her school, except with me or L. When I texted my friend back asking what on earth had happened (we had had contact before the 29th; we sent each other lovely messages on Christmas Day) she reiterated all of the points that she had made 2 Sunday’s prior, saying that she didn’t need the load of rude and hurtful messages that were sent to her by L and I, when all she was trying to do was help. I was stunned. I never once sent her a rude or hurtful message. Every single one of my messages were polite and in the spirit of saving our friendship. L’s messages may have been abrupt and to the point, but hardly rude and hurtful. Plus we’d sorted all of this out, and now a week later she decides to end it all, again?! In the interim, she had unfriended and blocked me on Facebook. The unfriending hurt; the blocking felt like I’d fallen off a 100ft swing and had landed flat on my back, totally and utterly winded. Well the principal denied contacting my friend after I’d sent her the email, as I did ask, purely because I had mentioned names in my email to her. The principal also never actually answered my main question, which was why had M-L been discussed with everyone except L or/and I, her parents? The principal denied that M-L wasn’t ready for Grade R (big school) and stated that she was a lovely, wonderful, delightful child in her school. I then asked why did she, as the principal got frustrated when I queried with her some months back when M-L had hurt my friend’s child, but my friend had told me about it instead of me being told about the incident by someone in her school, ie: her, a teacher, a nanny etc. “Oh I wish she hadn’t told you as we dealt with it.” That was the principal’s response. I don’t care how small an issue a teacher thinks it may be; as M-L’s parents we need to know about these things! And especially seeing as this wasn’t a once off incident; M-L has apparently been disruptive, destructive, stubborn, doesn’t listen and can show bullying tendencies. None of which we as her parents we aware of, because the crèche that I entrusted her to, where she spent 85-90% of her time, didn’t feel it necessary to bring up these issues with us. On my last day of work last week Wednesday (New Years Eve) I replied to the principal’s response, saying that she hadn’t addressed or answered the issue at hand, and that we do require urgent feedback, as we want to send M-L to a child psychologist for an assessment and chat. To date I haven’t received a response.

It’s also been bugging me, well not so much bugging me, but I’ve been curious as to why I hadn’t seen the principal’s Facebook posts for the past week. I checked a short while earlier, and she too has unfriended me. Talk about taking the cowardly way out. Her unfriending me honestly doesn’t faze me that much, as she’s always pleading for fundraising etc at the crèche, but is always off on holidays and overseas trips and family weekends away blah blah blah but still. Instead of admitting that there is a serious lack of communication at her school, and that quite honestly her teachers doesn’t really give a damn, she’s chosen to run away from it, because hey, M-L isn’t going there this year.

I am not trying to remove mine and L’s responsibility as M-L’s parents here. We could have also been more perceptive, and instead of being so wrapped up in our own lives paid more attention to M-L. But honestly in the evenings and on the weekends, apart from ‘normal’ 5 year old behaviour, she was nowhere as ‘bad’ as the awful stories that I’ve heard in the past 3 weeks. At the end of the day, she is our daughter, and as much as I refer to her as my princess, she isn’t one, and I know that. But I also can’t believe that this little 5 year old girl is 100% responsible for the destruction of a trampoline, especially when she is not the only child to have used it in recent months. This little boy always has friends over and his trampoline is frequently used. Yes, she maybe did pull the rubber/foam protection stuff off of the bars, but I liken that to pulling the paper wrap off of crayons, like we’ve all done at one stage, and which M-L does as well! I am not saying that her behaviour was right, all I’m saying is that she’s 5 years old. She’s learning everyday about the consequences of her choices and decisions, and these holidays she has been grounded 3 times. Ok, only for 1-2 days at a time, but again, she’s only 5! Yes, we have also noticed her lack of listening skills, and we also believe that she may have some deep seated issue that references back to my car accident last July, of which she was a passenger. It was a very scary thing for a then 4 year old to have experienced. Then there’s the fact that in a month or so she’s getting 2 siblings! That’s gotta be hardcore for any child, especially a sensitive little 5 year old who has had mommy and daddy all to herself for so long, and now the house is full of baby things, and I have this huge tummy, and and and. I think sending her for a chat with the child psychologist will only do her good and if it comes back that she’s a happy, well adjusted 5 year old, then my friend, and that cliched, cliquey crèche can go and shove it. And if it comes back that there are some issues that we need to tackle, then I will forever be grateful to my friend for raising her concerns with me, even though it cost us our friendship, but the school can still go and suck it as they didn’t feel the need to discuss our child with us.

And no, the twins will not be attending that excuse for a crèche in 2016!

Happy new year everyone!

G