Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Oh baby; Contemplating a family

Mr H and I have been married for 3 years. *insert wild cheering*

With each year comes the niggling question of 'babies?".
In our first and second year of marriage, my mum didn't mention the topic.
In our third year, my mum bought me a baby grow and gave me folic acid tablets. I think she is hinting.

Mr H has been hinting too and so has the ol' biological tick - which is more like a warm, fuzzy tingle that makes your eyes water ever so slightly when you see a cute baby.

We don't want to rush into the process though. It's a monumental, life-changing/consuming decision that deserves to be thought through and prayed about.
The more thinking I do, the more my fears spill out - and some of them are highly irrational.

For your entertainment/upliftment (some of you may be feeling the same), these are my worries.
Don't be too judgy, I'm being brutally honest...as usual.

I fear... 

1) I won't be sexy anymore. *gasp* all the mothers in the world start throwing me shade but remember, these are my fears.
I think a pregnant woman can be beautiful, stunning, ethereal but, to anyone that isn't her husband, is she sexy?
I think this says more about my insecurities as a woman, than as a potential mother, but it's something I have considered.

2) What if I have a baby with a disability? Again, I can almost feel the outrage but bear with me.
My sister has severe learning disabilities but she is glorious. Her difficulties stem from dyspraxia, dyslexia and very slow, educational learning - it's not a physical defect and her nature is such that you find her to be almost magical.
My fear is, what if the difficulty is bigger than that; what if it's physical; what if my child can never leave home; what will the strain me like on my marriage???
Yes, I know I sound like a selfish monster and a hypocrite because I would never EVER want my sister any other way.

3) What if he/she becomes a delinquent? I've always been a firm believer that it's the parents who mess up their child...that was until I looked at myself.
Circumstances (death, abuse, etc) shaped a lot of my unfortunate escapades, and it was nothing to do with the way my parents parented. So what if I do everything right, but they become drug addicts/murderers even? I suppose this is something that I just, in faith, hand to God on a daily basis.

4) What if I just become a big saggy mess after pushing out a baby? I'm very insecure as it is about my body, now I might have stretchmarks to contend with and other such horrors.
Again, I'm not saying all mothers are horror shows, I'm just saying that I don't have the genetic makeup of the athletic, skinny type.

5) Will I enjoy sharing my husband with another person? Our entire lives will change, what we do for fun on the weekends now, will be severely altered. What will happen to our lazy mornings watching movies and slurping hot tea?

6) Will we still have the same friends? We were one of the first couples in our friendship group to get married and so it stands to reason that we would be the first to have a baby but will that make our friendship dynamic harder? Will I still have time for them? Will I now have to go on the prowl for other new mums to hang with and then all we will ever talk about is the colour of our child's poop that morning?

7) 9 months without wine!

8) The cost(s)!! Nappies. Clothes. Prams. Cots. Toys. Etc....maybe I should just move back to the U.K and cash in on freebies from the government.

9) The actual labour part. No C-section...but I don't want a crater for a vagina.
No drugs...but I'm not that good with pain.
Constant trips to the gyny which cost more than a plane ticket to the U.K? Awesome.

11) What if I can't have kids? I've always wanted to adopt but I've always wanted a biological baby first....but what if adoption is the only way? What if my body fails me, what if I'm not perfect?

12) What if I lose a child? As a sibling, death is hard. As a mother, the death of your baby is the loss of a piece of you.
I was very selfish in my grieving for my brother, not seeing that his loss was far greater for my parents than it could ever be for me.
For 9 months, they had envisioned meeting this miracle of their creation and then 7 years later, after countless dreams, memories and future plans, he ceases to exist and the golden thread of his life is severed.
As a mother, do you still feel that ache years later; does your body still feel a connection to the child you will never see again until Heaven?

13) And, after all the above, if I have that tiny, precious gift in my arms, who's to say that I will be the best mother? What if I fail at the basics. What if I'm too over-protective, too strict, too lax, too anything?

There you have it, my honest and rather depressing concerns....is there hope?


  1. 1) I won't be sexy anymore.
    Not gonna lie, during your pregnancy, your sexuality peaks and troughs, with some hilarious absurdities in between. However, it's a short time and, if you exercise throughout, you get your body back in about four months – during which time sex is the LAST thing on your mind!! However, as your body changes and you see what it can do to keep a baby alive and nurtured, you gain an incredible self-respect and awe for your body, which is actually great for the self-confidence.

    2) What if I have a baby with a disability?
    You only ever know your baby – I don't have a clue about babies, but I know mine. You help grow and teach your baby the way he/she needs, so you won't be frustrated as you'll only ever know how it is with that baby – you'll give him or her everything they need because you won't know how to do anything else! You will instinctively know what your baby needs to develop.

    3) What if he/she becomes a delinquent?
    You got married knowing there was a risk your husband could become a delinquent, but you work at ensuring he's loved and nurtured within the marriage so that he won't ever be tempted to stray, same with children, plus, they're incredibly transparent, with any iota of EQ you'd notice odd behaviours or a change in manner.

    4) What if I just become a big saggy mess after pushing out a baby?
    Over 80% of births in South Africa are cesarian. However, you can buy this ball thing that you put inside and grip on to it (I know!!) which gives you a fanny you can crack nuts with.

    5) Will I enjoy sharing my husband with another person?
    YES. That other person is an extension of the pair of you! You won't resent that time AT ALL, in fact you get to spend so much more time as a unit because no one's allowed to do anything on their own anymore ;-)

    6) Will we still have the same friends?
    That's a funny one. I have lost contact with a few friends, but have become considerably closer to others (bizarrely, the majority of which don't have children). You barely notice. Your priorities really change, you become extremely insular and don't really see what else is going on – you could do if you looked up, but you just don't want to!

    7) 9 months without wine!
    Aren't you planning on breastfeeding?! Kidding. My friends had a small glass 2-3 times a week. I didn't, but that was my choice. Trust me, you barely notice, you're so focussed on the health of your growing baby, you will do anything it takes.

    8) The cost(s)!!
    We spend about R200 a month on nappies and have barely bought a single piece of clothing, don't under estimate the generosity of friends and families! Make sure your medical aid is up to date and you have gap cover, other than that, they're not that expensive until school.

    9) The actual labour part.
    Worry about that later. The no drugs thing might pass :-)

    11) What if I can't have kids?
    You're perfectly placed to be a Mum, whether adoptive or by birth, you're perfect, trust me.

    12) What if I lose a child?
    This is something to pray about, the overwhelming fear of losing something you love is a biggie, but it comes through love – and without that child, you'll never experience that love which allows you to fear so much.

    13) And, after all the above, if I have that tiny, precious gift in my arms, who's to say that I will be the best mother?
    You'll be the best mother for YOUR child, because even the fact you're worrying about it now, means you'll care enough to do everything it takes to be the best mother that little bundle could ever want.

  2. Bianca Moeketsi27 May 2014 at 12:01

    Oh Shanté, my friend, your fears/worries/general thoughts sound exactly like mine. We were married for about 18 months when we "stopped thinking about it" and decided NOT to have a baby for another four years. I think God just sat back, threw some popcorn in his mouth and laughed out loud - like, really loud - pointing a finger at us and everything.

    Now that I have a [gorgeous but crazy, monkey of a] child, I think I still have many of those fears, even if they don't really seem applicable.

    Rachel has argued your points very well. I would add this:

    1) Urgh. I was so upset when I fell pregnant (seriously, i cried for two weeks because this "wasn't according to plan"). I was already 6 or 7 kilos overweight and a big part of "the plan", after reading a million and one articles about babies and natural birth and breastfeeding and general child and parent psychology, was to lose this weight, develop an awesome[ly unrealistic] tight stomach and THEN get pregnant and make sure I applied cocoa butter, olive oil and bio oil three times a day at the very least so that I don't get the horrible stretch marks. (you can totally do the God-watching-this-lame-movie-laugh right now). Ja ne! I only developed stretch marks on my tummy in my last two months. They made up for every week that went by that I was gloating about my basketball belly that "wouldn't need photoshopping". Girl, I got stretchmarks in places I didn't know could stretch! Now, every time I get out of the shower I check out this tummy of mine (which is surprisingly flatter than my pre-pregnancy tummy - gotta love breastfeeding), I think about how it looks like I was attacked my some kind of large feline, how (with the help of Palmer's Tummy Butter) the marks are slowly fading, and how many of the marks will probably stay there forever as a reminder of that weird, awkward time when everyone thought I was radiant and I thought I was ugly and there was this [monkey-]child growing inside of me. I convince myself that if I had to be scarred so that monkey-child could grow his whole body, it's ok. And husband dearest saw the whole transformation and is so in love with his little boy that he finds me sexy for reasons I never thought anyone could and now believe that everyone should (applied to their own spouses of course). Woolies granny panties, 100% cotton with the tighter flattening bit over the belly are also wonderful by the way. Cringe all you want, they saved my sanity!

    2) What Rachel said and: Oh my word, I had this same fear and I still freak out and "over-pray" when I consider certain vaccinations and the possibility of vaccine injury etc. Before baby I had to think about the fact that a person can also be disabled LONG AFTER birth and these are very normal fears (Santam makes lots of money over that fear if you haven't noticed) and we can only pray about that.

    3) What Rachel said. And Proverbs 22:6. From personal experience (ie. being the teenager from hell), I know I know I know that verse holds true.

    4) Hehehehe. I could ask myself the same thing every time I eat...well, almost anything.

    5) Oh yes! It's a beautiful thing. Yes, sometimes I'm a selfish brat and I hate that I can't have him all to myself again but usually thats because I've fallen in love with him again after seeing what a great father he is.

    6) What. Rachel. Said.

    7) I cried about that too. That and blue cheese and carpaccio. I still had coffee and coke though. I had limited wine after he was born and I'll admit I got picky about the process and organic stuff etc but, as Rachel said, that's up to you...

  3. Bianca Moeketsi27 May 2014 at 12:02

    ...8) Oh. My. Word. YES! I'm still freaking out. Just start looking at schools. High school, not even primary.I will say, I saved a CRAP load on these three things: cloth nappies (not the old style grossness please - I use ones that function almost exactly like disposables and the yuckness goes into the toilet and the whole thing is washed in the washing machine, no smell, no fuss, no yuck). we use eco-friendly disposables for travel or extra long days out and just the cost those make me cry. Then there's breastfeeding. I look at a tiny can of formula and thank God everyday for my ability to breastfeed (though i've hated almost every minute of it - another story for another day) and the people i've met who have educated me around the struggles of breastfeeding. And lastly, home made, full of only good stuff, devoid of additional crap, baby food. Vegetables and fruit are cheap. Why pay more for chemicals?

    9) Haha! I think I even worried about labour IN labour. Actually, not the labour part, the pushing part. Also didn't want cesarian. Also didn't want drugs. To add to that, monkey child was in the "wrong" position and wouldn't turn around and then he got nicely stuck. It was story for sure! Anyway, if you ever want to see a miracle for sure for sure, have a natural birth. My doula told me giving birth honestly feels like you're going to die (i thought she was exaggerating - she wasn't) and then juuuuuust before you die (and give in to this thought and give yourself over to die), the baby comes out. Hehehehe! I think you do die though. A part of you. Don't worry, it's a crap part of you and it gets replaced with good parts of your mother (the parts you hated growing up). On that. Get yourself a doula. Seriously.

    11) That's the fear that made me want to slap myself when I cried about being pregnant. All the people I knew that couldn't have kids or struggled to have kids and here I sat in a selfish sulk because I actually could. Sis. But Rachel's right on point. If you can't have biological children adopting children is not a "second-best". Your motherhood and role as a mother is perfectly planned in a way that only He knows and we will only truly understand after the fact. How you have children won't be a first-prize/second-prize debate in the big picture.

    12) Eish. I spoke to my mom about this too. It's every mother's fear and a matter we can only face with prayer.

    13) I just want to ttell you that I was thinking about you just a few days ago. I don't know why. It was totally random. But I wanted to message you (without trying to seem like I was prying into your family planning decisions) to say "You know, Shanté, I was just thinking, I think when you have kids, you'll be such an awesome mom." I think of the "mistakes" you'll make (cos yes, I see you making plenty - probably not as many as me though), and just think, "yoh! she'd just rock in that role" (and I literally cannot wait to see it happen).

    Now that you know that you're perfectly normal (ok, i just did the God-watching-a-movie-laugh), I hope these responses have not diminished the importance of your feelings but have simply allowed you to know that they're very real and very ok.

  4. Bianca Moeketsi27 May 2014 at 12:04

    FYI - I'd just like to say that my response took about two hours to reply - thanks to mentioned blessing/monkey-child. Time. That is now my number one fear.

  5. Hahaha what a brilliant article.

    Solution for 3: Never, ever allow your kid to see what you, me and Mr H get up to when I cook for you guys and we are in the close proximity of a wine rack.

    Solution for 5: You're already sharing him with me, and I'm like your child, so nothing new here. Move along.

    Solution for 7: you can never have kids.

  6. PS I vote you invite all your Mum friends round for a glass of wine and we can *really* share some funny stories. Might not sway you either way on this quandary, but they'll certainly make you see the lighter side of it all!

  7. Hi darling,if I'd stopped to think about all those things,your mum wouldn't be here and we wouldn't have an amazing grand-daughter!! Loads of love from your ever loving granny.XXX