Posted in Motherhood

Balance

Balance: a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.

Life with Hanaan during lockdown has been great. Although sometimes difficult, I have truly settled into life at home; I’ve enjoyed spending every minute with her; being able to lay in bed in the morning, putting her to bed without worrying about where we have to be the next day, cooking with her and just taking our time with everything because we can and most importantly, not feeling guilty for going to work! As I prepare to return back to work, I can’t help but feel sad about how things are going to change as life slowly returns to normalcy. This brings me to answering the question a friend once asked “How do you balance being a mum, a wife and a teacher?”

The short answer is, I don’t. I do what I can, when I can. It is quite difficult to ‘balance’ things when you have a set amount of things that have to be done. As a full-time teacher, I work five days a week. Each morning, I leave home at 6.50 am each morning to drop Hanaan off at her childminder before making my way to work. I arrive at work at 7:00 am and leave at 5:00 pm to go pick Hanaan up from her childminder. We get home just before 6:00 pm and by 7:30pm, she’s in bed ready for the next day. After putting her to bed, I take some time to do a bit more work before going to bed myself. The routine begins again the next day and this continues to happen until the next holiday. Evidently, during the week, there is little time to do anything else but work. However, there are a few things that I do to maximise the little time that I have whilst also making sure that I fulfil all of my responsibilities to my family.

  • Trustworthy Nursery/Childminder: As Hanaan spends a lot of time at the childminder’s during the week, I find it really important that she is with adults that are trustworthy and good role models for her. I personally chose a Muslim environment because I wanted her to be in an environment that supports our morals and way of life. I also make sure that she is in a place that supports her development. Some other things that I look for in a childminder are: clean environment, low teacher to child ratio, up to date licenses, extensive experience, great references and a trial day so that she can settle in and I can see how comfortable/uncomfortable she is. Most importantly, I constantly communicate with the childminder so that I know what Hanaan has been up to.
  • Meal prep: I plan our meals for the week at the weekend so I do not have to worry about it during the week. This means that the little time I have in the evenings is spent with my family rather than in the kitchen getting dinner ready.
  • Quality time: We do not have a lot of time together during the week so I try to make sure that the time that we do have together is quality time. I spend most weekends doing meaningful and memorable things with her. I give my undivided attention and avoid doing any school work until she is in bed. I also get her involved with my chores to keep her busy whilst I work but also to maximise the time that we have together (E.g she may help me ‘spread’ the clothes) This means that some things may take longer than they should but I try to turn mundane tasks into quality time with her.
  • Early starts: I start my days (weekdays and weekends) quite early so I can get the most out of them. Hanaan gets up early too so I use her as my alarm clock. Once she’s up, I start my chores for the day so that the rest of the day can be spent together.
  • Date night: My husband’s work schedule is just as busy as mine. So, we have learnt to be more intentional about making time for each other. We pick an evening where we forget about work and just spend time reconnecting without Hanaan.
  • Maximising time: I don’t always do this because I like to socialise but I do try to make the most out of my hour lunch break. I generally work through lunch so that I have less to do later and can go home to my family. Someone also recently suggested ordering groceries online to save additional time.
  • Communicate with your manager: My manager is aware that I have a daughter that depends on me; she is aware that I have to pick up Hanaan at a certain time and so I can’t stay in meetings that run past 5pm. Speak to your manager and let them know your situation. This doesn’t mean that you’re not going to do your work, it just means that they may need to be more flexible.
  • Self care: In the midst of all the chaos and rush of the week, it is very important that I have time to take care of myself. Personally, I do this through praying and exercising. I wake up earlier than the family most days to take some time to work out and just have a moment to myself. This makes me feel good about myself and gets me ready to take on my responsibilities. It is also important to note that sometimes, getting enough sleep is self care for me! So, rather than waking up to exercise, I may just choose to sleep in! Not everyday workout!

So, there you have it – how I balance home life and work life. Do you have any tips for balancing your home life and work life? Please share them with me in the comments below.

Till next time,

-A

Posted in Motherhood

Little tips, Big impact.

As a first time mum, there were a variety of practices and behaviours that were used on a trial and error basis for the upbringing of my first child. I have been able to reflect on decisions that were made and determine the things that I plan to do differently when I have another child and those that I intend to repeat. So, here are a few things that have had a positive impact on my daughter Hanaan which I will definitely be repeating with my future children:

  • Read, Read, Read – We all know the importance of reading to children; research has proved it time and time again. So, I won’t talk about that. Instead, I will talk about some of the impact reading has had on Hanaan. I started reading out loud to Hanaan during pregnancy and have continued ever since. We read during the day but it is also a part of our bedtime routine. Hanaan loves to read and now at almost 3 years old, she willingly picks up books to read (she can’t read yet but she knows the stories and uses the pictures to ascertain what is happening in the story). She uses words that she has picked up from books when speaking, words that I’d never use when speaking to her. Reading books has encouraged her sense of curiosity whilst also allowing me to develop her comprehension skills implicitly. Whilst we read, Hanaan asks different questions about the characters in the books. Sometimes, I answer the questions and sometimes I refer the questions back to her and allow her to answer them. Aswell as this, reading has expanded her understanding of the world beyond our little family. She is exposed to different context and themes such as friendship, culture, religion through the different texts that we read.
  • Speak in full sentences – If you want your children to talk in the best way possible, ditch baby talk from the beginning and speak to them in grammatically accurate sentences. Children are like sponges and will pick up on the things that you say. This will also make a massive difference when they start to write too! Children tend to write the way they speak and it can be difficult to reteach proper English when they are already accustomed to speaking in certain ways. Hanaan generally speaks in full sentences because I have always made a conscious effort to speak to her in full sentences. Recently, I noticed she has been saying things like ‘cos’ rather than ‘because’. Of course, this is because I began to say ‘cos’ so I am trying to reteach her to say ‘because’ by saying the full word every time I speak to her.
Hanaan casually reading in the bath!
  • Model the culture you want to create in your home – As I said earlier, children pick up everything around them. So, it is quite important that you model the behaviour that you want to see in them. Rather than telling them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ or ‘Bismillah’ before they eat, model saying these phrases in the right contexts from an early age. This not only teaches them to say the phrases but it also teaches them how to use them in the right context and it becomes a part of them. These are some of the phrases that Hanaan and I use regularly; Alhamdulillah when she sneezes, Bismillah before eating, Alhamdulillah after eating, Saying ‘sorry’ when we do something wrong or something that hurts another person, please and thank you e.t.c
  • Speak positively – It is so important to speak positively to your children. Your voice becomes their inner voice and they will begin to repeat the words that you say to them thus increasing their self worth and self confidence. It also teaches them how to speak to you and others in a way that is kind and respectful. Personally, I also found that Hanaan responds to positive language. She listens a lot more when I tell her how amazing she is rather than telling her about the negative behaviour she may be displaying in that moment.

P.S This post is quite different to my usual content. Would you like to see more of these posts? Let me know in the comment section.

Till next time,

-A

Posted in Motherhood, Religion

Worries

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands…” (Holy Qur’an 24:31)

Eight years ago when I made the decision to wear my hijab, there was a certain worry that came with the decision; I lived in a society where very few Muslims existed and out of those Muslims, none of them wore the hijab full time. I already stood out as a black girl in a predominantly white community. So, as you can imagine, wearing my hijab was not the easiest decision. As anyone would, I worried about how people would see me and relate with me. However, it was a decision and a way of life that I had thought long and hard about and I was ready to commit to, regardless of society’s views.

Fast forward to a couple of months after having my daughter… My mum returned from Nigeria with various gifts for us including the smallest hijabs for my daughter. I thought they were the cutest things, especially as they made her chubby baby face look even chubbier. I also saw it as an opportunity to introduce the hijab to her at an early age hoping that when she came to make the commitment at a later age, it would be much easier for her than it was for me. Just like every mother, I wanted to set her up to succeed in every aspect of life and it felt good to think this was another step towards achieving that. As far as I was concerned, it wasn’t any different from emphasising the use of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at a young age so that she hopefully grew up to be courteous.

Every time we went out, I’d dress my daughter up and made sure she had a matching hijab to her outfit. At the time, I didn’t really have a lot of places to go aside from the familiar places within the Nigerian Muslim community; mosque, visiting family and friends. These places were my safe haven; they were filled with people who knew the true meaning behind the hijab and understood my intentions for my daughter without me having to explain myself. And just like me, they all thought she looked cute in her hijab and liked the idea of getting her accustomed to it in the hopes that it’d make life easier for her.

Things changed when I ventured outside of my safe haven. That morning, we had a doctor’s appointment and as usual, I got my daughter ready making sure that her hijab matched her outfit. As I parked the car and struggled to get the car seat out of the car, I couldn’t help but feel like I did eight years ago when I first left my house wearing a hijab. I was worried. I worried about how my baby might suddenly be viewed because she was dressed differently. I almost wanted to take it off but this was an important step for me. This was a step I’d hope that my daughter would take one day. If I was too scared to take it myself, how could I expect her to do the same?

To my surprise, everyone that came in contact with her saw just how amazing she was (and still is). They saw what I saw; a beautiful and smiley baby girl. Those that commented on her hijab had nothing but positive things to say about it. Like me, they appreciated the fact that it matched her outfit and actually thought she looked ‘cute’ in it. They especially loved the little diamantes that were attached to it. I immediately felt at ease and all my worries were almost forgotten.

However, every so often, due to different reasons, these worries come crippling back and I cannot help but think about my daughter and her hijab. Now at almost 3 years old, the hijab has become a part of her. Although she doesn’t understand the meaning behind it, it is something she is comfortable wearing and chooses to wear most days. I hope that when she comes to the age of understanding that it is something that continues to be a part of her. But with that hope, comes the question; when does she stop being a baby, a person and instead, becomes a threat because of what she chooses to wear on her head?

Till next time

-A

Posted in 5 THINGS, Culture, Motherhood

5 things that grind my gears! Motherhood edition!

Sometimes, we say things to others without thinking about how they might feel about what we have said, the state they’re in, what they might be going through e.t.c. So, I decided to address some of those things in a new series I’m calling ‘5 things that grind my gears…..’

To start us off, here are 5 things that grind my gears…. Motherhood edition!

  1. Why is this child so skinny? Aren’t you feeding her? 

What I say : *Laugh* I’m feeding her ma

What I want to say: Excuse me ma, all babies don’t look the same! I feed her when she needs to be fed and I don’t need you questioning my abilities. Also, not that it is any of your business, but she doesn’t stop eating. She eats throughout the day and on some nights gets up for her nightly fix of Weetabix/Bananas. Please mind your business.

  1. Your daughter is how old? What are you waiting for? You should be pregnant already!

What I say: *LAUGH* soon ma, soon!

What I want to say: I love my child and I recognise that she is a blessing. However, I am still trying to get through the fatigue that comes with carrying a baby for 9 months, the pain of contracting for over 36 hours, pushing her out and now trying to take care of her whilst also keeping my mental health in check. So, I’m sorry that I’m not inviting you to a naming ceremony yet, but I’ll have another baby when I am ready. Until then, please leave me alone. 

  1. The stress of Motherhood has really made you lose weight oo  

What I say: *Laugh* No oo, I’ve been exercising ni.

What I want to say: I have been working really hard to be a “yummy mummy”. It’s very difficult to find time to workout whilst trying to balance everything that comes with motherhood. I’ve been sacrificing much-needed sleep and pounded yam to try to keep my body in the best shape possible. I understand that I may not look like your idea of what a mum should look like and I appreciate the fact that you recognise that I have lost weight, however, I do not appreciate you discarding my hard work and making assumptions. So, unless you have something positive to say, please mind your business. 

  1. She’s _______ old, she should be ______

What I say: *LAUGH* 

What I want to say: SHE WILL DO IT WHEN SHE’S READY! 

  1. Why is she shouting? She must be very naughty!

What I say: She’s not naughty

What I want to say: I find it quite annoying that after spending 5 minutes with my daughter, you feel fit to tell me, her mother, that my daughter is naughty. She’s a toddler and I don’t appreciate you labelling her negatively based on the 5 minutes of toddler-isms that you have seen. You don’t see her sweetness in the morning when she asks me how I slept (even though she kept me up all night). You don’t see her independence when she insists on helping me cook or when she says ‘I want to do it myself…’. You don’t see how caring she can be when she sees me upset and asks ‘what’s wrong mummy?’ You don’t notice how observant she is when she role-plays. You see a child that is ‘naughty’, but there are so many reasons why she may have been displaying ‘naughty’ behaviour at that time. So, if you do not have something positive to say about my daughter, please mind your business!

Moral of the post: If you don’t have anything positive to say, then say nothing. If you’re truly worried, find a way to pass the message on without making us feel inadequate.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Culture, Motherhood, Relationships

GUILT!!!

I have come to believe caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”

– Audre Lorde

There is a certain guilt I feel when I force myself to take a break or rest up a little. As I lay down to relax, I can’t help but feel less of a woman/wife/mother because I chose to take care of myself rather than clean the house or spread the clothes. Often, I get so overwhelmed with that guilt that I end up putting a stop to my relaxation and getting up to do whatever needs to be done. Whilst trying to figure out where this guilt was coming from, I realised this is something that is embedded in our society and culture in different ways. 

Growing up, I watched my mother and the women around me do EVERYTHING in the household. Our mothers took care of everyone but themselves. Although my mother never specifically advised me to do the same in my marital home, the expectation was set. I followed in her footsteps and tried as much as I could to be a good daughter and help out in any way possible around the house. Whenever I showed any intentions to relax or have fun, a series of questions such as “have you tidied up the house?” or “have you cooked the stew?” followed. Only if I answered ‘Yes’ to these questions, was it then acceptable for me to ‘relax’. There was a constant feeling of ‘the home needs to be in perfect order before I can relax’. 

Going into my marital home, I subconsciously carried the same pressure with me. I wanted to be a superwoman – the perfect wife and mother. I wanted to do everything like the great women that came before me. So I did. I cooked. I cleaned. I took care of the baby and everything else in between. There was a sense of fulfilment and empowerment that came from looking at the spotless house, coupled with the smell of food from the kitchen that made me feel like a good wife. I had done everything on my own. My worth as a wife was very much linked to the chores I did around the house. So much so, when I couldn’t do ALL of those things, I felt I was failing in my role as a wife. I was not enough. As you can imagine, this mindset coupled with a full time job and a baby left me feeling drained with no time to myself. I was constantly tired and cranky.

…I recognise it, I am working on it, because self care isn’t selfish…”

As a human being, I painfully recognised that I needed a break to recharge; I tried to take the time out. This meant allowing my spouse to carry some of the household responsibilities. I struggled. Watching him do more around the home went against everything that I had observed or had been taught by women in the society. I questioned my ability as a wife and a mother and instead of feeling relaxed, I felt selfish and incapable. I felt guilty for taking a break. I felt guilty for not meeting the expectations that I had set for myself. 

Having acknowledged that I was trying to live up to the expectations that I had set for myself in my own marital home, I am now personally trying to unlearn this ‘superwoman’ behaviour and allow myself space and time to take care of myself without feeling guilty about it. In doing this, I have also realised that it is okay to let someone else take the reins. I am slowly learning to take a step back and not feel the need to do everything. I’m not there yet, but I recognise it, I am working on it, because self care isn’t selfish. You cannot pour from an empty cup. 

Do you feel guilt when you make time for yourself? If so, know that you’re not on your own. Do you feel the need to overcome this feeling and how do you do so?

Till next time

-A

Posted in Motherhood

Labour

“of course it’s hard, why do you think it’s called labour?”- these were the words that my midwife said to me while I was screaming in pain.

My water broke around 6 a.m on a Wednesday morning. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what had happened because it felt more like a really light trickle. I actually thought it was the beginning of a period (pregnancy brain), as it was a little less dramatic than I was expecting. It took me a few minutes to realise that it couldn’t have been my period.  However, I still wasn’t sure what was happening.

I spoke to my husband about it and we laughed at the idea of me being in labour. I soon started to contract. At first, the contractions were very similar to a period cramp. I went back to bed ignoring the pain assuming it was nothing.  However, the pain soon started to intensify. I spoke to my mother-in-law and she insisted we go to the hospital. I was hesitant to go to the hospital at this stage as I didn’t want to go in too early and be told to go back home.

I had my shower and got ready for the hospital. At this stage, I was sure I was contracting. No one had to tell me. The pain was baaaad but it wasn’t consistent. It wasn’t happening often enough to warrant me going to the hospital, I felt. Anyway, I went in and it was confirmed that my waters had broken and I was 1cm dilated. But, just like I thought, I wasn’t just ready to be admitted to the hospital. I had to get to at least 6 cm. I was advised to go home and stay active in order to get my labour going. Regardless of the situation, I was told to come back to the hospital at 11pm that night in order to be induced, as it wasn’t safe for my baby to be out of the waters for over 24 hours. I went back home, my contractions were getting more and more intense but I still wasn’t getting the expected 3 contractions in 10 mins. I felt slightly bipolar, one minute I was grunting in pain, the next minute I was eating fried chicken. I was walking up and down the stairs, trying to stay active. My contractions still weren’t consistent but the pain was starting to become intolerable. I was sure I was getting closer to pushing the baby out.

hand picture

I was admitted to the hospital at 11 o’ clock that night. Going in, I naively thought I’d be in and out by midnight. But that was not the case. My midwife checked me and to my dismay, I was still just 1cm dilated. How was that even possible with the intense pain that I was in? I was put on antibiotics for the night and was going to be induced the next morning. I couldn’t sleep due to my contractions. The next morning, I was taking into my labour room. At this stage, I was starting to feel quite anxious; labour was going to be sore. I was checked again and I was now at 2cm. The frustration. Over 24 hours later!!!  I was put on oxytocin to speed up labour. This was when it all went downhill.

Oxytocin sped things up. My contractions became more frequent leaving me with no breathing space between each contraction. The pain had been unbearable for a good while at this stage, but the lack of space between each contraction meant no time for recovery between contractions.  I was doing rollovers on the bed, I wasn’t coping. I was offered gas and air to help with the pain but it only made me feel drunk and silly. I kept trying to tell myself to ‘behave’ but I just couldn’t. My breathing techniques went out the window. I was a mess… and I still hadn’t dilated any further. Things were starting to look bleak. I was in a lot of pain and I still had a long way to go. I didn’t think I could deal with the pain for much longer. I asked my midwife if things had moved any further; it hadn’t. I was tired. I turned to my husband with tears in my eyes and said: “I cannot do this”. He reassured me that I could but I ignored him, faced my midwife and repeated those exact same words “I cannot do this”. I just couldn’t see the other side.

My midwife suggested taking an epidural. I was at 2cm and I still needed to get to 10cm. I insisted that I didn’t want to take it. I had read about several side effects and wasn’t willing to risk it. Moreover, this person and that person managed without it. I should be able to manage without it. I’m strong too. Well, this wasn’t the case and I’m so glad my midwife talked some sense into me. She basically reminded me that there was life after labour and that I needed to be able to take care of my baby. As well as that, if I was in distress, there was a huge chance that I was putting my baby in distress. And I had been contracting for over 30 hours, I was wrecked. Every situation differs.

I accepted the epidural and life was a breeze. Contractions were a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, I was still getting them but I couldn’t feel them. But, I felt guilty. I felt weak. I felt like I wasn’t working for it. I let myself down and my baby down. I shouldn’t have taken the epidural. With all these thoughts going through my head, I chilled and waited until my little girl was ready to make an entrance. She took her time. When she was finally ready, I pushed for 20 minutes and at 21:21 on Thursday night, my baby girl arrived.  It was only after her arrival that I realised what I had just done; I birthed a baby, there was absolutely nothing weak about that.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Empowerment, Motherhood

Who am I?

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel” – Eleanor Brownn. 

I am a mother and likewise a wife. But that’s definitely not all I am.

Recently, I found that I had to remind myself who I was as a person before I became a wife and a mother. Motherhood and ‘wife duties’ started to define the person that I was. Since becoming a mother, I spend my days taking care of my daughter and husband. My husband leaves for work in the morning and would get back in the evening. Of course, as his partner, it meant that I had to do everything that he couldn’t do while he was at work e.g cleaning, cooking e.t.c Aswell as this, I was trying to get a grasp on my new role as a mother.

For the first couple of weeks after my baby was born, as you’d expect, life was busy and it still is. I was trying to figure out this thing called ‘motherhood’. I was constantly tired due to sleepless nights and loooong days. My baby kept me busy 24/7. Regular ‘simple’ tasks took much longer due to baby interruptions. I looked forward to her daytime naps so I could get a little snooze myself or get another house chore ticked off my list. She was the most important thing in my life. My days revolved around her.

These two new major roles kept me busy. I was waking up tired and going to bed wrecked. I was putting everything into taking care of my home and my baby. I even started to challenge myself. For example, yesterday I had my baby showered, dressed and fed by 11 a.m, today I am going to try to get her ready by 10 a.m. I was starting to feel proud of my little achievements. Things were going great, I was starting to get a hang of things. But, it all came at a cost, at least that’s what it seemed like.

self-care-squad-2

My health was deteriorating. I still hadn’t healed properly from labour. I was barely eating because I just didn’t have the time. But yet I was breastfeeding exclusively. I was dehydrated and constipated, I didn’t seem to have time to drink water either (my lips had never been so dry). Each day was the same; take care of the home and look forward to my husband’s arrival from work. My goals were limited, my conversations were limited; I was a wife, I was a mother… That was it. I was taking care of everybody else but myself. And so I had to think “WHO AM I?” “WHAT EXCITES ME?”, “WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY?”, “WHAT DO I WANT FOR MYSELF?”

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being a wife to my husband and a mother to my daughter. It is a major part of the person that I am but it is not all that I am and it is not all that I have to be. I love taking care of my family, it brings me great joy and a sense of fulfilment… but I also love to write, exercising, helping out in the community, teaching. All these things make me who I am, all these things take care of me.

So, if you’re like me and you find yourself losing focus on the person that you are or the person that you want to be, then try these 3 tips. They worked great for me.

  • Prioritise – I used time as an excuse, “I can’t take care of myself because I don’t have time to”. Make time! There is never enough time but you have to prioritise; your baby won’t remember that you gave her a late shower because you needed to eat.
  • Talk to your partner or loved ones (someone who was always aware of your goals) – My husband was always aware of my goals. So, when he noticed my lack of self-focus, he called me up on it.
  • Pick one thing- No matter how busy you get, try to do one thing for yourself each day that brings you closer to your goal. For me, it can be as little as a 30min workout (gotta get my body back). Remember, you should never be too tired to work on yourself. You’ll thank yourself for it.
  • Ask for help- I am still working on this one myself. If you’re anything like me, you might find this difficult. I have this mentality of “she’s my responsibility and I want to be the perfect parent”. You don’t have to be superwoman, don’t try to do it all by yourself especially if you don’t have to.  Let grandma help. Let her spend time with daddy while you take care of yourself. Your health will thank you for it and so will your baby.

You can’t pour from an empty jug. Take care of yourself. It takes a little more work, but you’ll thank yourself for it. I’m still tired most days, but I am happy.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Motherhood

My journey…

The journey ended over three months ago, THANK GOD!!! Just in case you’re wondering, I do NOT miss being pregnant.

I was one of those people who planned on being very active while pregnant. I had always been into fitness and planned to continue while pregnant.  My mum had told me plenty of stories about all of her four pregnancies (she had very difficult pregnancies), so I felt very well prepared for the worst. But, nothing could have prepared me for this emotional journey into motherhood. Just like childbirth, it is one of those things you have to go through in order to completely understand. However, I will try my very best to explain as honestly as I can. In order to make things easier, I will break the journey down into trimesters.

My first trimester was awwwwwwful! I had every symptom possible. As I said in my previous post, I decided to take a pregnancy test because I was feeling quite ill. I wasn’t really expecting a positive result (call it naivety) but I wanted to rule it out. However, as you all know, it was very much positive. My first trimester brought serious morning sickness. To be clear, morning sickness is NOT the same as vomiting. For me, It was vomiting with heartburn/throat burn while trying to keep my intestines where they should be as well as keeping my body from releasing fluids in other areas. It can happen anywhere at anytime. Then, came extreme weakness. Regular tasks such as walking and standing became extremely difficult. I had to teach while seated. My postgrad needed me to be as active and as enthusiastic as possible (primary teachers spend most of the day on their feet). Unfortunately for me, I lacked both of these while pregnant – imagine trying to teach P.E  while seated. The inability to be physically active impacted me emotionally. I just couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I felt betrayed by my own body. I wasn’t heavy, I wasn’t even showing (no bump) physically. My inability to do regular day to day things just did not make sense. There was no logical reason for the way my body was acting. Whatever was inside of my stomach was ruining my plans, I felt. My weakness was affecting my work. My mentors didn’t think I’d make it through the course. Most importantly, I couldn’t see myself finishing the course successfully. I couldn’t connect the dots and consequently couldn’t connect with the child inside of me. This lack of connection worsened things for me. I had always looked forward to having children, I didn’t expect to feel the way I felt. My attitude towards my unborn child worried me. I was a mess…. No one could have prepared me for this.

 

IMG_5470
Eight months pregnant 🙂

 

Fortunately, my first scan changed a lot for me emotionally. Although, still pretty upset about the way things were going with my course, seeing the picture of my little human made it a lot easier to understand my situation. I was so overwhelmed, I cried. During that brief moment, things started to make sense. In that moment, there was a change of perspective. I was carrying a human being. A human being that already knew how to wave.

My second trimester came with a huge appetite. I was always hungry. I ate almost every hour or two and If I didn’t eat on time, my body would literally collapse. The hunger was real! My morning sickness reduced and I started to slightly regain my energy. Things with my course still weren’t as I’d have liked due to my lack of energy. My daily routine went as thus; wake up, go to work- try to get through the day by eating snacks every chance I got, worked through lunch so I didn’t have to stay too long after school just so I could run home to eat, sleep, wake up to do more work and then sleep again.

Things settled down during my third trimester. Although my morning sickness returned, it was not as aggressive as my first trimester. According to the doctor, my food was coming back up because there was no room in my stomach. I managed to finish the practical part of my course during this trimester. I had good days and bad days. I had a deferred assignment which I managed to write during this trimester.  Funnily enough, I received the result of the assignment on the day I had my baby- I had failed. As you can imagine, I was heartbroken. I felt like my whole year had gone to waste and I had nothing to show for it. I cried. It took me a good couple of minutes, but I realised with the help of my mother that I had a little girl in my arms- my little girl. I was healthy and so was my baby. That was more important than anything else. I had plenty to show for the year. It was a matter of importance; my baby or my postgrad.

I have heard of people that have had “easy” pregnancies. Mine just wasn’t one of those. It was emotionally draining for me. Although it was a difficult journey, I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to carry a child into this world. Nothing can compare to it. My baby brings nothing but joy and happiness to my life. And sleep deprivation.

Major shout out to my husband for being so understanding. I do not know how he kept his cool through my mood swings.

P.S I repeated the assignment and I am awaiting results- pray for me 🙂

Till next time

-A