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.

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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.

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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 Relationships

Hitting reply.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter – Martin Luther King Jr. 

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Domestic violence is such a sensitive topic. It isn’t one that I feel capable of talking about. However, I had to respond to this post. So, I’m hitting reply.

‘And of his signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them..’ – Qur’an 30 V21

Violence is NOT a part of marriage. Love, trust, honesty, compromise, challenges e.t.c is a part of marriage. Violence is NOT. At least, it shouldn’t be.

Marriage is a sign of maturation.  When a man refers to his wife as his ‘baby’, it is generally as a term of endearment. He wants to care for her and protect her, as he should. That’s generally what people do when they care about someone. They don’t treat them like children that need to be corrected. If you feel like you’ve married a child, maybe you should have waited a few years before marrying her. Or you shouldn’t have married her at all.

I know of marriages that have managed perfectly without domestic violence. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have troubles. It just means that the couple chose to treat each with respect rather than like punching bags.

I also know of marriages that have managed with domestic violence. I have seen the impact on the women involved. I have seen broken women. I have seen sad women. Yes, your marriage may have lasted for over 9 years, but it doesn’t make it a successful marriage. Quantity is not quality.

You say domestic violence is overrated. I say that it is underrated.  What you don’t realise is that domestic violence is more than the physical harm that is inflicted. Various researches have said that psychological wounds of domestic violence linger after the bruises heal. You beat her up and you apologise. She accepts your apology and you move on. The physical harm heals and it is like nothing happened. But something happened. You disrespected her. You humiliated her. You degraded her. She might not have the physical scar to show for it, but the emotional scar is there.

Take a look at your wife. The woman you married. The mother of your children. You are not her daddy. You are her husband. Look at her. Tell me, she is the same person you married. Tell me, that her self-esteem is just as it was when you first married her. Tell me, that your consistent beatings have not had any negative impact on her. Tell me, that your 9 years of marriage has had a positive impact on her emotional well-being. Tell me that if you had never hit her, she would be the exact same person she is now.

Then, if you have any, take a look at your children. Tell me, that the constant disrespect that you show your wife has had no impact on them. Tell me, it doesn’t upset them to see their mother bruised. Tell me, they enjoy seeing their mum cry from your beatings. Tell me, that it has not affected your relationship with them. Tell me, that your sons aspire to be just like their father. Tell me that your daughter wants to marry a man just like you.

‘Children living with domestic violence suffer emotional and psychological trauma from the impact of living in a household that is dominated by tension and fear’  – Domestic Violence Prevention Centre. 

If you’re able to tell me all these, then I might say that the past 9 years of your marriage is something to celebrate.

You say domestic deaths are accidents. There is no such thing as a domestic death. Death is Death. Falling down the stairs is an accident. Falling down the stairs because my husband pushed me down the stairs is NOT an accident. What’s the excuse? ‘I meant to push her, but I didn’t mean for her to die’.

I cannot tell you how to run your marriage and I will not tell you how to run your marriage. However, I ask that you take a good long look at your wife.

Domestic violence might be a part of YOUR marriage. But it doesn’t have to be a part of everyone else’s.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Empowerment

But nobody is going to see it..

“Happiness comes from within. It is not dependent on external things or on other people. You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend on the behavior and actions of other people. Never give your power to anyone else.”

 Brian L. Weiss

I am a girl, who likes to take care of herself. I like to feel pretty. I like to wear clothes that emphasises my figure. I like to get my nails done. I love to wear jewellery. In fact, I would cover myself in jewellery if I could. I actually go to bed with my jewellery on. I exercise frequently to keep my body in shape, in order to look good naked. I take care of my hair, most of the time (It’s a struggle). I cut my hair, because I feel it suits me short and I also plan to dye it.

I am also a hijabi, which means I cover my body as much as I possibly can in public. Thus, no one gets to see my washboard abs (I wish!). I try not to wear figure hugging outfits in public. So, no one notices that my squats are really starting to pay off. When I cover, most of my jewellery is hidden away behind my hijab, so nobody sees them. Therefore, I don’t get comments about how gorgeous my necklace or earrings are. The same thing goes for my anklet. My ankles are safely tucked away under my pants or skirt, so I do not get complimented on the beauty that is my anklet. My hair, although fabulous, cannot be viewed by the public. But yet I do it all anyway.

This begs the question “Why do you bother, nobody is going to see it?”. This is a question that I get asked a lot and every time someone asks me, I still feel a little surprised. However, my reply generally goes like this; I bother because it makes me happy. I do these things for myself. I was tired of my hair, so I got a fabulous haircut that suited me better and made me happy. I wear jewellery in places that people can see and people cannot see, because I love jewellery. It makes me feel pretty. I exercise because I want to be healthy and fit. I want to keep my body in good shape and I use exercise to achieve the look that I want. To those of you that might be thinking it, I am not married. I am not doing this for my husband. I am doing it for me. When I do get married, I hope that my husband will appreciate the trouble that I go to, to stay in shape. But that is only the icing on the cake, it is only a plus. I do what I do, because it pleases me. The fact that the public does not see the effect of any of these things does not decrease the satisfaction I get from doing them or the results I get from doing them.

I have always believed in the idea that, you should do things because you want to do them, and not for the satisfaction of others. So, I can’t help but think it absurd when people insinuate that there is no need to engage in some things because no one is going to see it. Don’t get it twisted, I appreciate positive comments just like everyone else. Positive comments can be very encouraging, but doing things merely for the sake of others can be self defeating. It is your life, and the only opinion that should matters is yours. Doing things merely for the sake of the comments you might receive from other people, is giving people the right to dictate your life. A right, which they should not have. It is your life, not theirs. Many of us look outside ourselves for happiness, and by doing this we basically give away the power to create our own happiness. We fail to realise that happiness comes from within.

Till next time

-A