Cheers to Motherhood!
Updated: Nov 21, 2018
Twenty one months ago, I became a mother for the very first time. For a quick preview of my story, in a previous post, I have shared my pregnancy journey and how things started to shift into a direction I was not prepared for. Sadly, I entered the realm of motherhood with a flood of negative emotions and a lot of doubts.
We can all agree, it sure is overwhelming to welcome another human being into our lives. Although raising a child is not an easy task, it should not be perceive as a punishment neither. Unfortunately in today's society where capitalism is the heart of the economy, not every family is given enough time to adjust. It then becomes difficult to find a stable pace after the arrival of a child, which leads to complications in the familial sphere.
As a ''brand new'' mother myself, I can see now how the Media is negatively shaping society's perception of motherhood. I have watched a number of TV commercials where mothers are left alone to raise their children or parents are terrified of their own kids... There are feeding us a vision of chaos and unhappiness regarding raising a child, and it results to more people taking the decision to walk away from procreation.
Let's be clear, I have no issues with people not wanting to have kids. Rather, my issue is on the misleading information carried around us, promoting a negative image of motherhood, when the other side of the coin is kept in the dark. This "villainization" of parenthood is rising a serious concern in our generation and this needs to be addressed.
Honestly, my experience as a mother started on the rough side! I was not prepared for what was to come as a "first generation middle-class" immigrant. Soon after I gave birth, I realized that I wouldn't qualify for any government programs in terms of financial support. I then knew, most of my revenues would be consumed by childcare fees. Plus, not having my parents here and my younger sister being out of town for work while the oldest was travelling all over the world for her music meant that I wouldn't have enough time to care for myself. The cherry on top, was the end of seven years of marriage.
My whole world started to scramble under my feet, the day my mother went back to Ivory Coast.Truly, I was grateful she was able to come and help me out with my newborn. But as soon as she left, a great fear started to rise up in me as I felt hopeless. I could feel anxiety taking over me day after day.
From finances to daycare issues, I have been struggling to keep my employer and my son happy. For a minute, it felt like motherhood was a curse... I thought I was ready, I had a partner, a secured job in my expertise, everything was figured out except: a steady support system.
In the Ivorian culture, expectant women don't even question themselves about getting physical support once the child arrives. It is evident: they will have help! As an immigrant from a Third world country, we lack many things, but if there is one thing we will ride or die for: it is Family. ''It takes a whole village to raise a child'' is not just an African proverb.
It became my reality or I would not have made it. When everything started to slip out of my fingers, soon enough my sisters and my closest friend stepped in. With their busy agendas, still they managed to come as often as they could and helped me with households tasks. They would watch my son so I could rest or just converse with me, make me laugh: I was no longer alone!
For me, the biggest questions about motherhood revolve around the support system in place; ''hands-on'' people who are committed to helping you raise your child. You are not alone and this, the Media will never show!
Based on my experience, before or during the pregnancy is a good time to prepare yourself and establish a strong support system around you. There are financial and social programs available for those who qualify for it. If you do not, there are groups, family coalitions in your area, free resources available to prepare you and help you navigate the seas of Motherhood. Talk to a social service counselor, your employer, friends & family members, childcare services advisors; get as much information as possible and give yourself enough time to be fully prepared.
It used to be a taboo to talk about the challenges that come with raising a child, not today! There are plenty of resources, YouTube channels, social media pages that are raising awareness on self-care, overcoming postpartum depression, positive parenting tips etc.
Carrying a human being, giving birth, nursing, taking care of child... pull out of you a lot of energy if not all, asking for help does not make you any less stronger but the contrary. It's about your family so doing whatever it takes to protect that family, is called courage!
Every day my love for my son grows stronger and deeper. Taking care of myself brought out a positive energy, strengthening my relationship with my son, friends& family and my mental health. It wouldn't be the case if I didn't have someone I could count on.
Whether you are a single mother, an immigrant mother or in a relationship where you feel as if you are the only one carrying the responsibility of raising the kids or just a mother, a support system is key to withstand the challenges of motherhood. My experience might be different than yours but we all need an extra pair of hands to help with cooking, cleaning or holding a glass of wine (LOL).
At the end of the day, it is okay to have doubt about motherhood but do not let the negative influence of the medias or some other experiences around you, trouble your mind. Seeing a part of you grow into its own person will bring out such a fulfillment and a joy that could never be described.
Even if I feel nostalgic from time to time ( we all do, it's called aging LOL), the freedom I have found within myself cannot measure up with my previous way of living. He has brought me out of my comfort zone and I wouldn't trade this bond for anything! Do not let fear make you miss out on the biggest adventure of your life. As for the rest of us mothers, cheers to us !