You are NOT alone…
Motherhood can be as natural as it can be, and overwhelmingly and daunting all at the same time. A swirl of emotions, from one day to the next.
We as “mother” – this is not a new fangled thing – its been happening for a millennium, yet the moment we hear our title will change, and a life will be bestowed upon us – an experience a rush of emotions or a total numbness of body. There is no ancient text-book that gives the exact instructions on how you will deal with the change and what to expect.
We are all different, from who we are as individuals, family life to experiences we have, yet what brings us together is the common bond of parenting.
This collaboration was done with some amazing KZN based companies, a mix of creatives. Hoping to bring across the message of this blog post – to visually represent the contrasts of motherhood, the dark and light times and the various emotions we encounter on this journey. Specail thanks to Glynnis and Louis of Talloula the venue for the day.
Teri – Choose a Row
Those who know my journey to motherhood and have read past posts will know and understand. I never had a vision of being a mother, until I was married and we wanted children, and then when we struggled to conceive – I wanted it even more. Knowing that I had a deep need to be a parent.
There were many dark points along our journey, moments of angry, frustration, and not understanding why we would be so “unlucky” to be the ones that would not be blessed with a child.
The amount of pregnancy tests, doctors visits, medication and hospital stays, amounted to a small little fortune in cost. We experienced two losses during our journey to become parents, and I know this has effected the way I perceive the world around me.
It took 6 years, to finally have our first-born little girl – and it was right at the moment I was admitting defeat, and saying to myself, it was meant to be. I will never know what it feels like to hold my baby or be called mom.
The elation of knowing I was pregnant, and the feeling of being totally happy, was met hand in hand, with finding out my mom, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My biggest champion and queen of nagging – when will we have kids. Was not going to be there for me, all the visions I had in my head of how life would be changed.
Saying goodbye to your mom, and welcoming a child into the world shortly after can take you down a serious rabbit hole of depression. But there is something truly magical about what a child can do for the healing of a family.
The joy a child brings into a home is such a blessing, regardless of how you became a mother. Don’t be harsh on yourself, you will NEVER be perfect, but you are perfect for them. Accept your failures and rejoice your achievements.
I asked each of the women involved in this collaboration to include their own story of becoming a mom, and the contrasts they faced.
Tammy – Totem Teepee
My journey to motherhood had so many highs and lows. There were dark days of deep grieving, and bright happy days of the promise of new beginnings.
I’m a mom by adoption. I’m a mom thanks to a precious mama who pushed my incredible boy out for me, while I stood by her side, anxiously watching the monitor as she silently endured every contraction. She kept very quiet, hardly spoke, and asked for nothing. This was after all her fifth birth, she knew what she was doing. It was January, and it was hot and humid in the labour ward. At 10.01 pm that night my son was born… and so was I.
Years of longing. Cycles of IVF. Rivers of tears. Weeks of waiting to do pregnancy tests. Hours sitting in doctors and specialist rooms. Mountains of paperwork. Months of therapy sessions with social workers and so many appointments with our birth mother at our gynae – all culminated in that moment 11 years ago.
And he was perfect! 2,8kg of sticky vernix covered puffy skin, matted hair and dark eyes. I was torn between my husband pacing the corridor, this woman who’d spent 6 hours labouring to give birth, and a brand new precious baby. MY baby! He laid on that scale staring back at me, wrapped up in a faded green cotton government hospital blanket, waiting for me to be his mom. I wasn’t allowed to touch him, and all I wanted to do was hold him tight. To feel his little frog body nestled into me. The exhilaration was profound.
There was no bed in the hospital for me that night, and I reluctantly went home. The plan was that I would stay, I’d prepared myself to breastfeed him – to give him my best impersonation of his tummy mommy, to try to experience as much of motherhood as I could! But I had to go home and leave my baby behind. There was no sleep for me that night.
He and I stayed in hospital 6 days. Roy was only allowed to visit during visiting hours. What was meant to be a big celebration was a tense time waiting for court dates and judges decisions. I was lonely. Very few visited after the first 2 days. There was no big fuss. No vases of flowers being delivered. No visits from a big bunch of friends all chattering excitedly, and then eagerly rushing off to see my baby in the prettily decorated hospital nursery. This was a government hospital, there was nothing special here. I wanted to share my news with everyone, but I had to stay there and wait, just us. Me and my precious baby boy. It’s a bittersweet memory for me. The end of a dark, broken season and the most beautiful and precious beginning of another.
Zandra – Conway Photography
I’m going to start with my lows because the highlights definitely out way but I became a mother at 23 years. I had already been married for 3 years to my amazing husband and as he was already 30 I knew that he was desperate to grow our family. The choice to have a baby was easy because although I was young I knew that Wade my husband would be an incredible father, which he is.
However we both really wanted a girl. We never imagined our lives filled with little busy boy feet roaring around our home. We imagined pinks and dresses and Barbies, and so when the Gynae told us we were 100% having a boy we were shocked. We didn’t know what to say to each other for a while. But somehow it didn’t take us long to fall in love with the idea and we knew that life was going to be very exciting. Wade and I had to grieve our preconceived ideas of how our lives would be (silly I know) but it was important so that we could love our little blessing with everything we had. I never ever wanted him to feel like we were disappointed in his birth, I wanted him and still do always want him to know how absolutely LOVED he is and how we prayed for him and how we WANTED him.
Secondly being a mom in itself was hard, never mind being a young mom. The whirlwind of emotions in those first few weeks were beyond intense. The overwhelming Love, the realisation that your life will never be your own again, the lack of sleep, and back to the emotions. I had never felt so many things at once. My entire life I had been turned upside down yet I had never been so happy.
Now almost 6 years later and with two little boys ruling my house I’ve realised that those crazy emotions never ever stop. Some days I can’t wait to put my kids to sleep and other days I cant wait for them to wake up. And the hardest part of it all, is the never-ending Mom guilt that we live with. Always worrying if we are doing right by them, are we good enough and are we doing our best to raise two Boys who will know who they are, and be good men who will bring good to this earth.
But in contrast to the guilt and the messy house and dirty feet and 4am roaring wake up calls, I often look at my two boys and think ‘ Wow, how blessed am I?” I sit and stare at their little noses and just think this life brings me so much joy! I think I love them so much it hurts, and to be able to experience love like that is the greatest gift. Everyday Noah and Ezra teach me about me, about life and how special it is that of all the mommy’s in this world God chose Wade and I to be the parents of Noah and Ezra because together we are what will be best for them and for their future! What an amazing thought don’t you think?
In conclusion my advice to moms is always – what someone once told me. “You don’t have to be a perfect mom, you just have to be a good one. Dont compare yourself to other moms but have lots of mommy friends, and lots of playdates!”
Contact – 072 178 8408 |Web: Www.conwayphotography.co (just Co) Email: Info@conwayphotography.co ( just Co)
Natalie – Love Bumps Maternity Dress Hire
I feel that life in general is a combination of light and dark days. What’s different during parenthood is the lack of control over how quickly a beautiful happy light moment can become a trying and agonizing dark moment.
I don’t like to sugar coat the dark moments. Instead I let myself identify every emotion and feeling. This in itself pushes me towards the light and appreciate the joy.
I’ve found the hard dark moments never go away, they are dependant on a situation and grow with you..
Like a baby (I have a 3 month old – Demi) who cannot verbally express what is wrong or what they need. They can cry though. And if you can’t figure out what it is first time that crying can be long and agonizing. Or a toddler on the other hand (I have a 2 year old – Taya) who is having a total meltdown in a car park cause I won’t let her drive the car “myself” (meaning “by herself!”).
When you chat (vent) to your “mom friends” about these dark moments you often find they nod in agreement and add in their own experience. Essentially you’re not alone. But in that moment of toddler meltdown, raised voice, bribes that aren’t working, mom guilt, tear wiping… You feel alone. The bystanders that pass by are giving you a wide berth and those without their own children are thinking… Yip you guessed it… “I’d never let my child do that!” oh how I thought that so many times. And I’ve let/watched Taya do every single one of them.
While sounding like I’m complaining about my children or begrudging my life as a mom (I show gratitude every single day for my blessings) I realize how lucky I am. I’m lucky that those dark moments are accompanied by blissfully light and incredibly gratifying moments where my heart feels like it could literally burst with love, pride and genuine obsession.
I’m besotted with watching Demi find her voice and squeal with delight (the newest milestone) and hearing Taya doing her best to describe every detail of her morning at play school. Looking into Demi’s eyes while feeding her to feeling Taya’s arms wrapped around my neck as she inhales her mommy’s smell and her whole body relaxes on mine. These priceless moments help me to accept the toys strewn across the floor, the split juice from her insisting to pour it, my damaged toast that I wasn’t allowed to butter and of course those delightful public meltdowns.
I quickly realize that I’m human… Full of emotions (and hormones).. And most importantly, so are they.
I will always remember to get back into the positive parenting, repetitive explanations and “understanding your toddler” train. But when that train falls off the rails for a bit I know in my heart that like anything in life, nothing that is worth it is always easy.
On a ‘Whatsapp’ group with a few of my “mom friends” (and it just occurred to me that we use this forum for exactly this.. Sharing the light and dark moments – and of course planning play dates and mom dates) – I received this quote.. (I hope you take it lightheartedly as intended)
“I would be much better at not swearing in front of my kids if they were much better at not making me constantly lose my shit!”
Taya and Demi, I love you fiercely and look forward to every day, every light and every dark moment, watching you grow.
Contact – Natalie – 072 583 7980 https://www.facebook.com/lovebumpsmaternityhire/ | Instagram.com/@lovebumps_maternityhire | #celebrateyourbump
Aileen – Pixels & Pouts, Photography & Make-Up
I’m a mother of three. 2 girls and 1 boy. Bella (11), Milla (9), and Matteo (8). I’ll be honest with you going from one to two was an easy transition. However, two to three, everything was turned upside down. I felt like I didn’t have it together. Financial pressure. Not enough support from your partner. The kids outnumbered the parents. The lack of time to do everything and then on top of it the stress of staying fit and healthy.
The first 5 years was tough. We had 3 kids under the age of 5. I remember Milla being 2 yrs old trying to feed her 8 month old brother! I looked at the situation and burst into laughter!! That’s when I realized I had to let go and not to take life too seriously. Also that it was okay to say no to my children, spouse and friends. My youngest learnt very quickly to fend for himself. The more children you have the more confident you become in your parenting skills.
I stopped trying to be the perfect mom and realized I just needed to be their mom. Instead of wasting time on making the perfect lunch or hosting the perfect birthday party. All they wanted was my time.
Having 3 so close together has its advantage. They entertain each other and I love how the girls assist me with their brother. You can actually enjoy each stage. You get the most out of your hand-me-downs. I became a master in efficiency. My children became more independent!
I keep my stress at bay by setting boundaries, staying organized, connecting with other moms, and relying on family & friends for support.
I’m truly blessed to have 3 kids.
Contact Pixels & Pouts Photography & Make-Up – Aileen 083 844 3123 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes your babies are furry… Cassandra is not a mom yet, but she was an important part of the creative team that put together the visuals for this shoot. Get to know her a bit better –
Cassandra – Elysain Creative
I’m Cassandra, a self-confessed romantic who married my high school sweetheart, travelled across South Africa with him and eventually landed in sunny Durban, where we now live with our fur babies, Travis Barker – laziest Jack Russell known to man – and Sooki – the sweetest, most gentle Border Collie ever.
I’m pretty dorky… I love to laugh. I love to sing. I love to cook. I love to create. I’m pretty crap at one of those four. Lucky for me it doesn’t influence my work.
Elysian Creative is the culmination of 5 years of self-discovery and I’m so excited to share my passion for design with a community of people who love photos and handcrafted, personalized products.
My favourite thing in the world is to treasure these keepsakes of your memories and nothing makes me happier than putting them together in a pretty package and knowing you’ll be displaying them in your home and the cherry on the cake is supporting fellow local creatives.
Elysian Creative is an album design and print service, as well as supplier of bespoke crafted and sourced products, to compliment your photography business, your home and recently launched, our wedding product range.
email@example.com |031 309 0142
As a team we wanted to represent the dark and light side of motherhood through the styling and photography, also showing how you as a mother can be both vulnerable and fierce. There are times we feel helpless and those where we find a strength we did not even know we had.