This post is a special one. Today is Mother’s Day. A day we celebrate all of the beautiful Ma souls; our creators, the backbone of our existence. There is so much our Mother’s have done for us that go completely unnoticed. I only realized this after becoming a Ma. Our little ones will never know how us Ma’s survived the sleepless nights, the worries of feeding, or the way we watch them sleep. They’ll never get it. And that’s okay; I think it’s part of the role of Ma-hood. We do these things out of care and concern with no expectations; it’s how we’re naturally programmed. So as much as we should celebrate all the Ma’s today, they deserve to be honoured every single day for all that they do.
Like I said this post is a special one. I started this blog a few weeks after Amia was born. I felt empowered as a Ma to write and share not only the joys of Ma-hood, but the challenges we face but don’t talk about often. The writing has helped me mentally to let the thoughts out from my mind. I sent out a request on my personal Facebook page asking other Ma’s, Ma’s-to-be, and Pa’s too to share something about Ma-hood. And this is why this post is special. Today I’m sharing with all of you words from other brave Ma’s who are expressing their experiences/challenges/stories about Ma-hood. I’ll leave you here with their stories. Again, love your Ma’s today and always. No explanation needed. They need us as much as we need them.
January 03, 2016 was the day we found out we were expecting…. The day my maternal instinct kicked in, in full force.
Although it was a surprise to us, we were overcome with joy and lots of emotions. My husband, (boyfriend at the time) who had lost both parents a few years back, said to me “thank you for giving me a family”.
I’ll never forget that moment. I felt incredible, divine, powerful, fulfilled…
I also felt confused and tired. Very VERY tired. Despite knowing we were doing something great and out of pure love, I was confused. I have naturally always done things differently, against the “norms” of society and I am also never apologetic about it! This is who I am but suddenly I was thinking “people will be shocked” and “what will my family in Malaysia think?” and most importantly “my mom is going to be pissed!!” Regardless, it is news we had to share.
Growing up in a South Asian household predominantly influenced by a mix of Malaysian and Punjabi culture, we had always been outsiders in our own community. Simply because my parents were more liberal and understanding. Still, my mother WAS shocked…. AND pissed! When we told her, there was first a wave of calm and confusion. Then, a concerned/pissed mother with a million questions. Finally, an understanding and compassionate mother who held me and cried with me. She saw my confusion and offered her support. That is all I needed. All of this happened within 48hrs of us taking that pregnancy test. I had my true love and my mother and I felt incredibly loved and unstoppable.
This was the beginning of my journey into motherhood.
Although there were many ups and downs, I will focus on the high points.
My pregnancy was sensational. I’m not religious nor do I believe in a god but if there is such a thing, I found it in my partner. He is my king of strength. He is a hunter-gatherer protecting his women. He is a phenomenal man. From the physical comforting to my mental well being.. He tended to it all. When I met him, my life changed. I can see now that all of the bumps we faced in our lives (and there were a lot) were preparing us for each other. We survived distance, doubt, hate.. Our love created a life force. Proof that magic does exist.
I could not have had such a pleasant birth experience without him. From 3:30am when my water broke to pushing (REALLY hard) for 2.5 hrs. Together we experienced the most painful and challenging thing in our lives but it brought us even closer.
I’ll never forget the look in Nicho’s eyes when he saw Reina for the first time. He shed his previous sense of self and a father was born.
January 03, 2016 is the day I became a mother. 2 hearts became 3. The love I felt is indescribable. August 27, 2016.. the first time I felt Reina on my chest, I landed on another planet. Her cries turned into a calm sleep and unfathomable depths of love oceans flowed through us… I felt stronger, more intuitive and capable of being her mother. She is what I had been missing.
I had been waiting for her and I am so grateful she chose me.
I began writing my birth story with the intention of sharing my experience with both birth and subsequently, life with a newborn. I reached two full pages of writing without even breaking the surface…which is when I decided to re-evaluate exactly what message I wanted to share for both interest’s sake and what I feel is most important to know; exactly how can I benefit any potential readers after sharing my piece? Well I’m about to try my best with the hour I have before babe wakes for a feed again.
The fact that I’m being given an opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences through a fellow mom is bit of a testament in itself to a lot of the feelings I’ve had during my first six weeks as a new mother to our beautiful baby; as parents, we need each other more than I could’ve ever imagined. Before giving birth, I was always a very independent person – asking for help and support didn’t run thick through my veins. I can’t tell you how much I’ve changed in just six weeks. Realizing I was about to and actually giving birth at 35 weeks pregnant all within the span of four hours was just the beginning. Without any further ado, I want to share my experiences here in way of gratitude. I’d prefer this to be a bit more polished, but with a newborn on my baby monitor potentially waking at any time, I’m going to give you my raw thoughts…so here I go:
- To all my fellow moms and dads: thank you for welcoming us with open arms, encouraging and supporting us as we made the biggest transition of our lives. I used to think the whole “welcome to the parenthood club” was like okay yeah, cute, y’all are parents and a bunch of geeks now (hey, no hate…I voluntarily joined this club!) but I can’t explain what a club it truly is; it’s like receiving all this love and support from people you may have not even shared much of a connection with before, or people you hardly even know. They get it, you get it…and it’s a bond like I’ve never had with anyone before; not even the people I am closest to. So thank you for enabling me to have such wonderful outreach along my journey so far. My sanity would not exist without you.
- To my fellow mommas: you are freaking INCREDIBLE for everything you do, from birth to the moment your baby leaves for college. I now truly understand why moms are often likened to superheroes – this isn’t some cute suggestion, moms are the real-life definition. You deserve the world.
- To all you supportive dads: you are ROCKS and bring so much calm to the turmoil us new mothers are going through. Having a baby with a supportive dad has made me fall in love with him ten times over…I just can’t imagine doing it without him. For those of you that have done it without “him”, you are incredibly amazing for being so strong. I look up to you.
- To single moms, moms of multiples, and moms with more than one child: I don’t know how you do it. I truly don’t. You are amazing and deserve a national award. Sending you so much love and strength. You are ROCKSTARS.
- To my fellow moms of preemies – I know. I know the pain, the guilt, and the joy of seeing your whole heart go through things that even an adult would find scary; waiting to see if your baby would start reversing their above-threshold- weight loss and jaundice…and seeing that feeding tube go through their tiny noses into their bellies to nourish them. These are just some of the problems with premature babies, and after meeting several other sweet mothers who were doing the same song and dance as I was – breast pumping for 20 minutes (since you weren’t allowed to try breastfeeding because it would impact your baby’s delicate energy reserves), coming to feed your milk to your baby and rock them to sleep, then returning to your room to eat and do it all again an hour later for the entire duration of your baby’s stay in the NICU – I couldn’t fathom the bigger problems our baby’s NICU neighbours were facing. A few moms had babies in the NICU for months after delivering 2-pounders. My heart goes out to you all, moms of preemies and micro-preemies. I hope it gets better soon.
- To nurses of all wards: you are true angels on earth. It brings me to tears just thinking of how incredibly sweet, supportive, and caring you all are. What you do is SO important and you help to change lives for the better every single day. I’m bordering a career change here…;)
- To my fellow mom out walking her newborn, covering those teary, dark-circle- ridden eyes with giant sunglasses, sporting unwashed hair, and clothes stained with milk and all sorts of baby fluids: thank you for that knowing smile you flash me when we pass each other. There’s nothing like solidarity – stay strong, sister!
- To mothers experiencing post-partum depression (PPD): we must believe that life will go on and things will get better with time; as much as I am reminded of this, on my darkest days, there is no light at the end of the tunnel despite how anyone tries to paint the picture for you. I hope that anyone experiencing symptoms of PPD get them checked as soon as possible, and for those family members and friends of someone who might be at risk, please do not dismiss the signs as being normal emotions (although it is a roller coaster for the first couple of weeks) when they are experiencing them long after giving birth. Please encourage them to seek help. Mental health is more important than I ever knew before now, and there is absolutely no shame or guilt in speaking up about your true feelings.
- To friends and family of mine that have had a baby that I’ve visited in the past: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not offering more help and recognizing that the last thing you wanted to do was chit chat about baby and your birth story, about what’s going on with me, etc. for any time over 30 minutes. My vow to my friends and family with babes in the future is to come over (if you will accept), bring you meals, groceries, cook for you, take out your garbage’s, do you laundry if you are comfortable, watch babe while you shower, whatever you want. You got it.
- To friends and family of parents: your friend/sister/brother/daughter, etc. need you. They need you to offer and push your help on them. Thank you to all supportive friends and family out there. Without you, we wouldn’t be succeeding.
- To mommas-to- be: I need you to know that early parenthood is truly both the most wonderful, the most difficult, and one of the most trying times of your life so far. Nothing can prepare you for it. I encourage you to reach out for support of all kinds: accept ALL of the help you can get – cooked meals, groceries, cleaning, watching babe while you sleep (SLEEP WHILE THEY SLEEP!)…accept all the damn help you can get! Because, trust me love, you barely find time to even feed and hydrate yourself. Please also remember to never feel judged for any decision you make – there is no right way to do anything except love up on your babe. Especially for feeding – know that FED is BEST. No one cares if you feed by breast or formula –please make the decision that is best for your sanity. To take care of your baby, you need to take care of yourself. More important to keep in mind – enjoy your little human as much as possible. Every coo, every snuggle, every tiny smile (whether it’s gas or not, hah!)…and attempting to read I’ll love you forever while rocking your babe…good luck to you and your melting heart 😉 Parenthood is truly the hardest job in the entire world. Please go hug your mothers and fathers, and for those of you who are mothers, go and do something for yourself. This mothers day, I have been blessed with not only the title of mom, but an entirely new perspective on life. Parenthood is so much more than I could’ve ever anticipated; nothing can truly prepare you for the road ahead. I’ve never felt more vulnerable, naïve, in love, frustrated, scared, and sleep-deprived in my life. But what’s most important is that despite consistently cold coffee and being in pyjamas all day every day, my baby is happy and is thriving. I have so much love and respect for parents, I can’t even explain it…so I won’t begin to try. Sending so much love to all you amazing moms and dads forever and always. Infinite x’s and o’s.
Motherhood happened suddenly and apologetically. It didn’t care that I packed up all of my shit and left a man’s home, changed my number and vowed never to speak to him again. That I was in a different country, alone, left my job and my city. I did not feel bad that I was 36, divorced, not married to the father of the baby and broke with no plan. I didn’t feel sorry that I wasn’t prepared to hear I would be a mother and single mother, face my family, her father, the shame of an imperfect situation.
I thought I couldn’t do it. Despite her disappointment of the circumstances, it was my mother who told me as I paced the hallways of the hospital, that I could do it and that it would be fine. I let go of that shame and at that first ultrasound a day later..felt joy.
The rest of my pregnancy was magical. I soaked it all in and I accepted that although I didn’t have much, we would have everything we needed.
I was a total rockstar in the birth (I have to give myself props)! I had a home birth and never been so proud. Despite a complication that caused a lot of blood loss and could have been fatal, I still feel like a rockstar because I did it, I survived it and I would do it all again.
Motherhood has been beautiful and challenging but committing and trusting in something greater than myself to guide me and protect us both has been an absolute awakening. I have something I’ve always wanted and it took it to come in the most unapologetic and rude way possible but I am so grateful for the gift of my beautiful daughter, for being knocked on my ass and for giving me the opportunity to build it all back up one block at a time..with patience and authenticity.