Finding out that I was pregnant was definitely an emotional rollercoaster. I was glad to find out why I had been throwing up and feeling ‘weird’ and super excited to know that I was bringing life into the world, a life that I have always wanted. The sad part of it was realizing that the guy I had been dating decided that he did not want to be a father again and so, he left. I cried, I prayed and wondered why? Why had he left me when I needed him the most? He had given me a gift I had always wanted and I had hoped that we would have raised our baby together. After months of praying and asking God why, I decided that its best I leave it be and focus on how am I going to look after my baby. I was working but I wasn’t getting paid, I hadn’t told my mother yet and my belly was getting bigger. I felt scared and ashamed, my mother is a single mother and now here I am following in footsteps that I wasn’t sure I was ready for.
The Secret Comes Out
By the fifth month I was no longer able to hide it. I had to tell my mum that I was pregnant. She was undoubtedly shocked and disappointed, as any parent would be to a child who is not just unmarried but in a position where they are unable to look after their baby. I had struggled for months trying to make enough money to go for scans and eat right so she grows healthy. I would walk a lot to save kombi money so that I could sneak meals in on the way home from work just so that I could feed her. I missed a lot of scans due to not having enough money. In the end I stopped working as I felt there was no point since I wasn’t getting paid. I had decided that I would go and stay with my father in Malawi where he had said he would help me find work, so when I told my mother that I was pregnant and of my plans to relocate, it kind of helped to make it easier.
C-Section and Baby Blues
She was quite a big baby (I’m guessing that’s because of all my secret snacks, LOL) I had to have a caesarean and unfortunately, I was not producing enough milk to meet her needs and so, I had to bottle feed. Again, I felt like a failure. Unable to keep her father with me and now not able to give birth naturally or even breastfeed. I suffered from post-partum depression (PPD) or more commonly known as the “baby blues”. There were days when I thought I was possessed. I did not understand how a mother could feel such hatred and anger towards such a beautiful baby. I would have such deep overwhelming emotions of pure joy and love for her and I’d just want to hold her and love her always, make her smile and cuddle her. It was when she seemed to show more love towards my mother and yet with me she would cry endlessly, that’s when I would feel such anger. My mother is amazing with her, but I felt like I was just useless and a waste of time.
Finally Settling In
All I could do was pray and ask God, what is it? What do I need to do to get her to love me? Then one day, almost magically, things changed, as she got older and I adjusted to her routine, it got easier. She did not cry as much anymore and I learnt to follow her cues and learnt that crying was just her way of communicating that she needed something. All I had to do was establish some sort of routine to help me figure out what that need could be. Moments where she started walking towards me with a big smile on her face, yelling ‘Mama Mama’ warmed my heart in ways no words can fully explain. In the morning, no matter how early she wakes up, she rolls over, finds my face gives me a kiss Good Morning and says ‘HI’ in the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard.
Focused on a Bright Future
Being a single mother has proven to be exhausting and frustrating, but more importantly, it has proven to be the happiest I have ever been. I know that things would be a lot easier if I was in a position where I was earning a living, and I still face that struggle daily, looking for work. Full time, part time, weekends, night shifts (he he he he) just about anything. But having my baby is making me realize that as a single mother, it’s my duty to make sure that she never goes without her basic needs and that is what I am working towards. A mother who is always there for her and I have the utmost confidence that everything will turn out just fine.
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