Questions Time!!! I have been so excited about this blog post. I have not answered any questions on this blog yet, it just psyched me up. The questions border around pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and motherhood. Another fun thing about this post was involving my mum so she could highlight other answers better.
It is amazing that I close off the Stories of Awareness week in the #WinterABC2022 festival with this post. I love that I can be able to settle the curiosity on the topics to be discussed in this post.
A huge thank you to everyone that shared a question, I can only hope I will answer them perfectly.
Answering Your Questions on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood
Q: What “lies” have you discovered are commonly associated with motherhood?
There are so many things that are preached as the ultimate truth but are not. You are told so much during pregnancy, but witness the opposite once the baby arrives. Some of the misconceptions I discovered are:
- Sometimes, you do not just see the baby and fall hard in love with them. It requires time to get used to having another human around. You get attacked by baby blues and postpartum depression which make you not want to be around the baby at all.
- Your body takes time to snap back, or it never does at all. The biggest lie was being told my weight will naturally shed off because of breastfeeding. Almost seven months later and I am still 5kgs heavier.
- I was told that it gets easier, but it does not really. There are easier days, but other days will be hell too. You just have to enjoy them all and take them as they come
Q: What does self-love look like for you now with a baby in the picture?
I am not afraid to say that I am learning to love myself again. When I had just given birth, it was hard to look at myself in the mirror. I never liked my reflection. When I had to go back to work, I strategically placed my mirror behind my headboard. That way, I can only see myself chest-up.
My body insecurity also came from constantly comparing myself to other moms’ bodies. That has greatly diminished my confidence.
I am trying though, greatly am. One way to make sure I stayed sane was making sure I was writing. The minute Evan was born, I would take any free minute and just write. That is how this blog was birthed.
Recently, one of best friends has been getting me out of the house a lot. She does not know this, but this is helping me get my identity back.
To answer the question, one important aspect of self-love for me right now is having time to just chill. Even if it is just five minutes, that takes me a long way.
My current aim is to get myself financially stable, that would put my worries away.
Q: Knowing what you know now about pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. What conversations do you think more women (or adults in general) should have about these life-changing events?
One thing I learned last year was that no girl is young to have conversations about pregnancy. Sex education and pregnancy should be taught at the same time.
When I say taught, I do not just mean formal education, but with our parents too. Unfortunately, our culture does not permit that freedom for parents and children to be open with each other. They wait for girls to fall pregnant just to get taught.
Unfortunately, even during pregnancy, parents do not open up to their children. Instead, you are referred to aunties or church elders. What a lot of our parents do not understand is that kids will rather hear things from them than strangers.
Also, knowing these things beforehand gives you a handicap. You can decide if motherhood is truly the route you want to take rather than the wishy-washy things the internet feeds us.
I can only hope that I am able to start the necessary conversations using this blog.
Quick questions: what conversations would you like to have on the said topics? Comment below
Q: How has your body changed?
Not much actually. I gained 5.9kgs after giving birth. Before pregnancy, I used to weigh 54kgs, now I weigh 59.9kgs. Currently, I am trying to lose the pooch on my tummy, there is still a bit that is left. Luckily enough, a lot of the weight went to the butt and hips.
Other than the weight, another thing I am fighting is the stretch marks on my tummy. Plus, the scar from my c-section.
Q: In hindsight, what would you do differently with your pregnancy, childbirth, or motherhood journey?
Nothing really. Other than my need for information beforehand, there was nothing I could change. Somehow, I am glad to have experienced everything I have in all stages.
It’s shaped me to who I am today.
Q: Any regrets about motherhood?
None whatsoever. I don’t think I say enough about how blessed I am to have Evan in my life. In the few months he’s been here, I have experienced a different kind of love I never knew I’d have.
It is also weird how a small human can hold all of my heart. Honestly, I thank God everyday for this blessing.
Questions Time!!! I have been so excited about this blog post. I have not answered any questions on this blog yet, it just psyched me up. The questions border around pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and motherhood. Another fun thing about this post was involving my mum so she could highlight other answers better. It is amazing […]
It is the last day of the WInterABC2022 festival by the Afrobloggers. I tried my hardest to write everyday this month, apart from the weekends. Unfortunately, I was unable to write the recommended 22 posts, but I have done 20 and I am so proud of myself. To close down the festival, first participation on […]
Raising a baby on a budget is one of the toughest things. One thing you must know is that a baby will bring a financial strain in your life. That does not mean that it will always have to be like that. One must learn to save money and take care of a child on […]
cont’ Answering questions on pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood
Q: People say your priorities change when there’s a baby involved. What does that look like for you – priorities changing?
My baby comes first now. Period! With every walking moment, I am thinking of this child. How to make his life better, and provide for all his needs.
So, everything like money or time has to be first shared with him before I think of myself.
What I have also learned since I got pregnant was that things I thought were needs before I was pregnant, are now just mere wants. There are certain things I felt it was a must to have, now it looks like a luxury.
However, this also means that I’ve had to take myself away from family and friends. Some have made efforts to include Evan, while some I’ve had to stay away from.
Q: What’s your perception and experience of society and community after becoming a mom, especially without what is perceived as “the perfect setup”?
I do not have kind words due to my experience. To make it short, I am seen as a failure in our society. That is how a lot of single moms are seen.
Your community will have two thoughts:
- That you got pregnant to stick to a man. Their thinking is that you were so desperate for marriage, you decided to get pregnant so it happens.
- In the event that you prove thought 1 to be wrong. They’ll label you as a difficult woman.
I am labeled as a difficult woman till day. Being independent that you challenge to raise a child on oneself is seen as wrong. That’s how deep patriarchy runs in our societies.
I don’t have kind words for our society, because they made me go through hell.
Quick questions: as a single mom, how have you been treated by the community? Comment below
Q: What do you wish existed to help or support pregnant women and new moms, or even just moms in general? Are there any huge gaps you wish didn’t exist?
In the urban spaces, I would say community. We are really deprived of it compared to the rural areas.
When my in-law, who lives in the village, was pregnant, she would gush about communal meetings they’d have as pregnant women. These were facilitated by the health centre.
There, they talk about their experiences and share ideas on how to better look for themselves. They still meet now to share about motherhood.
That’s something I wish existed in urban areas. That support is important.
Even with new moms in the village, they get this enormous support after giving birth. They are offered time to properly heal before being thrown into the life of chores. The babies are often looked after by relatives too.
That’s often not the case with moms in urban areas.
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cont’: Answering your questions on pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood
Q: What do you think people should know about babies, or things you wish were more commonly known or discussed about the tiny little humans?
They don’t share enough about how babies have a huge personality. It’s lovely to see it.
To be very real, just as important as it is to know about pregnancy, knowing how to care for babies since the day they are born is important.
Q: How would you rate Malawi’s medical system? Do you think we have pregnancy friendly hospitals? Similarly, do you think we have baby friendly spaces that accommodate new moms or parents?
I would say that the public medical system is mmhm.
There’s a stupid discrimination that has been normalized in these public hospitals. Let me use this time to vent. PUBLIC HOSPITALS ARE HELL FOR SINGLE MOMS TO BE.
I was so livid the first time I went for a checkup. I was the fourth person on the line. However, all four of us had to wait until 6 other pregnant women who were behind us were checked just because they came with their husbands.
When I inquired why that was so, we were all lectured on the importance of getting married. One time, one of my friends was in so much pain and needed to be checked quickly. They still would not let her because she hadn’t brought her ‘husband’ with her.
That’s how cruel they are to single moms, or moms in general who decide to do hospital visits on their own. Funny enough, a wedding band will not get one in front of the line either. Bring your husband, get a check fast because “men are busy people and need to be attended to fast.”
THAT’S HOW DEEP PATRIARCHY RUNS IN THE SYSTEM!
But there are more concerns for women in Malawi. I would like to direct you to this article about how two women died in the hands of our healthcare.
And no, we don’t have baby friendly spaces. My bestfriend and I have been looking for places we can go and hangout with the baby, but cannot find anything.
Quick questions: how would you rate the maternal healthcare in your country? Comment below
Q: I hear in Malawi, we don’t have epidural. What do they give you to manage the pain for natural births? Or there’s nothing at all?
A lot of public hospitals don’t administer epidurals because we don’t have them. In that instance, it is you and God managing the pain.
Private hospitals such as Blantyre Adventist do have them, but they are expensive. Last I checked, epidurals costed K50,000.
Still have more questions to answer, there will be a Part 2. Hopefully, in the next part of questions and answers, I can find a midwife to help out. If you are one and do not mind answering some questions, please get in touch.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. Share your comments down below.