I was 32 and my hormones were in overdrive!
Since I was a little girl I had wanted to be a mother. I would mother everyone in sight – my brothers, my dog, the child next door… I felt destined to be a mother, so “Lord! Where is this husband of mine? I need to have babies ASAP before my eggs reach their sell by date!” was a familiar cry of my heart.
Finally God heard and answered my prayers.
As they say: “God may be slow but He is never late!”
Just in time God sent me the most amazing husband, Kobus, and within 14 months we were married and pregnant with our first child.
I felt like Hannah from scripture. After years of pleading God finally blessed me with a son! Even more amazing that even before Kobus and I met, God had spoken to Kobus in a dream and told him that he would have 3 children, Samuel, Abigail and Sarah….
WOW! A Hannah experience and God blessing me with a Samuel….. Heehee!
I felt so privileged. I promised God that I would bring Samuel and my future children up in honour of Him. That I would make God proud.
I read every book by every expert. I went on antenatal classes, I quizzed all the moms that I knew, picked up a few labour tips from a nursing sister colleague. I had all the baby equipment and clothes.
I was ready to be Supermom!
The birth was an amazing (if not a frightening experience). Hospital stay was good – so reassuring to have all the nurses on standby.
And then we went home…
What had gone wrong?
In my sleep deprived, emotional state I concluded that I was the problem. I was fine with playing mom but I couldn’t cut it with a real baby.
I felt like I was letting God down. He had entrusted me with a human being, an eternal soul and I was ruining my child! I felt as if I was letting my husband down. This was his child too and he trusted me to nurture Samuel so that he would grow up to be healthy and happy.
I was embarrassed.
I was one of the first in my group of friends to have a baby and I felt that I had to be ‘ a good advertisement of a mom’. I was supposed to look like all the calm, confident and radiant mothers you see in the pregnancy magazines.
How could I admit that I wasn’t coping? That I was petrified every minute of every day? And that I was beginning to resent this little ball of fury?
So I put on a brave face.
Tried to smile when I went out in public. But behind closed doors I was a wreck. My poor husband looked so worried. He did his best to help out and to encourage me. But we both assumed that this was just a phase, that things would improve in the next two weeks? Or month? Or six weeks?
But they didn’t
One day I found myself so angry and frustrated that I wanted to throw Samuel on the bed and walk away. I suddenly realised that this was not normal’. It was not the baby blues’. I was filled with such horror and shame that I had wanted to hurt my child and knew that I had to go speak to someone.
So I made an appointment with my GP.
She had me fill out a questionnaire which confirmed that I was experiencing depression. I was put on a mild antidepressant which took the edge off but it still didn’t solve the issue..
Things went from bad to worse when Samuel was nine months old and we moved to Cape Town.
I had lost my small group of support and was in a foreign place where it poured with rain for the first three weeks. I couldn’t keep up with the mountains of baby clothes, I didn’t know where the closest grocery store was or even a good doctor should we need one.
I literally cocooned myself up inside the house and together Samuel and I cried the whole day away. By this stage Kobus was almost beside himself with worry. He was under huge pressure with his new job and then came home to a scene from his worst nightmare!
We went to see a GP who once again had me fill in a questionnaire and prescribed me some antidepressants.
They helped to a degree and as I began to meet some other moms through church and get my bearings, I saw the clouds begin to part. I could catch my breath. Samuel was growing up and was getting over all the colic etc. although he still didn’t sleep as well as he should! I began to enjoy motherhood and was in love with this cute little boy whose smile and dimples could melt the coldest of hearts.
When Samuel was a year old we decided it was time to start trying for number two. It was time for Abigail.
See part 2 next!