I remember being handed my son for the first time and looking at all the people in the room with smiles on their faces and, unfortunately, I could not relate to their excitement. For this child, I had prayed and everything went according to plan. So, where is my moment of gazing into his eyes and instantly feel the deep connection of unmeasurable love; where time seem to stand still with a spot light shining on us, and everyone’s presence suddenly disappearing like they never existed? Where is the soft background music that movies often reflect? For this child I have prayed, yet at that very moment all I felt was sadness and for a split second there I understood why some women abandon their new born babies.
Postpartum depression – The next couple of weeks were followed by guilt and self-hate. Many women before me have given birth and flourished in their roles as mothers, “motherhood comes natural”, they said. Why do I feel the way that I have been feeling? Questioning my womanhood, as though having a fertilized egg in my womb and walking around for 9 months with evidence that I had unprotected sex was not evidence enough that I am woman?
Fast forward – Postpartum depression is a real thing for most mommies regardless of your financial background, position or even support system. It’s easy to miss, and still taboo to talk about amongst the black society and treatable without medication.
Mother to mother – Today I look at my son and I honestly do not remember what the anxiety, emptiness and sad moments were all about. Mommies, your best is good enough. If you don’t believe me, take a look around at the people in the room. Just by mere looking at them, can you tell who took their first step as a child? Who wore branded clothes and who wore 2nd hand clothes on their first year of life?
Who was praised for being the prettiest child and who was otherwise bullied? Chances are that those very same people don’t even remember such details about themselves. Don’t let social media pressure you into being a perfect parent. Embracing your flaws and working on the things that you actually have the power to change can make all the difference. You are not alone. Your child that started crawling at 10 months is just as important as the one who started speaking fluent English sentences at 2 years.
Try the following steps to help you cope:
- Listen to everyone, but don’t take every advice that you hear from people;
- Be firm in what you believe is best for your child. Mothers know best;
4.People tend to forget about you after having a baby, so do your best to not forget yourself;
5.Take it one day at a time;
6.While taking care of everyone, don’t forget to take care of yourself (Befriend good hygiene);
7.Being a mother is a temporary position until they become independent, so never neglect your partner.
8.If you are a Christian, pray harder.
Vutomi Sophia Tshabalala is a 23-year-old compliance officer, single mother and divorcee. She writes motivational articles in her personal capacity.