This week, I caught up with Lulwando Tukwayo. I call her Lu or Superwoman; we connected on social media about a year ago and I’ve always admired her dedication to self-development and family. She’s a wife, mom of two (our daughters were born about 2 weeks apart), sister, runner and Masters student (this woman was on campus a week before giving birth people, I mean?!) I had to share her story with you!
Tell us about yourself and your family:
I am a cool nerd (I think lol) a marathon runner in my spare time and an aspiring academic. We are a family of 4, originally from Cape Town but have been in Johannesburg for the past 8years. My husband and I have been together for 10years and married for 5years. We are an outdoors family, we love adventure and love trying new things.
How would you describe your pregnancies:
My pregnancies were very different from each other. With my first, we had been married for 2years and because we both don’t have kids outside of marriage, we both felt like it was time to start a family. Within a month of trying we were pregnant and super excited. I had terrible morning sickness that went away eventually. I was very picky about what I ate, and being the health freak that I am, all I could eat for the first trimester was chips (crisps/potato chips) all types and it was tough not being able to eat healthy foods like I was used to. I exercised throughout my first pregnancy which was great for keeping me sane during the 9months.
And like they say, baby no2 will come when they want to come. In the middle of my Masters first year, walla I discovered that I was pregnant with my 2nd baby. I was so sick this time, the heat was unbearable and I was crying almost all the time (My Word!!!). I really had so much fun with my pregnancies regardless of the challenges, feeling my beloved kicking and moving inside my belly is a feeling I will cherish forever.
What do your children love doing?
My son loves being outside. We take him to the park every Sunday afternoon and can’t wait to start going hiking with him. We are fortunate that we stay in a child friendly complex so he also gets to play outside with other kids. We limit TV, in fact he hardly watches TV and this was a conscious decision to help him develop his speech when he started speaking IsiXhosa.
Did you have a birth plan for your children’s arrivals?
Yes I am a perfectionist so a birth plan was definitely the way to go for me. The first pregnancy I was with Genesis clinic which is all pro-natural. I had a midwife, a doula and my sister who was also my second doula lol. It was wonderful and the staff at the clinic really made my first time experience great. It ended up being an emergency c-section and being the perfectionist that I am, I was terribly disappointed. I cried buckets afterwards to a point that my midwife was worried that I could have post-natal depression. 2days after my son was born he was admitted into hospital and that made the situation worse. My milk was not coming as much as it was supposed to and my son was just not having it. I cried more and thankfully I had a strong support structure with my mom coming to stay with us for a month things got better after 3weeks.
For my second born, I was experienced so I knew exactly what to do. I went to my gynae who also delivered my son who is pro v-bac. I was excited to do vbac because it meant I could recover quickly and take care of my toddler without being in pain. I even packed the jungle juice in my hospital bag. My labor started at 6am and by 5pm I felt a gush and that was my water breaking. I was still at home and counting my contractions because I didn’t want to rush to the hospital. My daughter came at 8pm that evening. My milk came and my daughter latched perfectly, I couldn’t believe it.
What is the one thing you always want your children to know?
To my children, your happiness is my greatest wish for you. Live to your truest potential, on full blast and with no regret knowing that you always have a chance to start again, and again and again.
What is the biggest challenge you have experienced as a mom?
The biggest challenge would be chose between my career and being a hands-on mom that is present in all aspects of my children’s milestones.
How do you balance motherhood with a career/studies?
We have a routine that works for us. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t. My children are in bed by 7pm, which gives me plenty of time to study in the evenings and catch up with my husband. When I got accepted to study my Masters, I knew the challenges that came with being a working mom, a master’s candidate and being a wife, so I decided to take a one year break to focus on finishing my school and being a mom and a wife. When we found out that were expecting baby no2, my husband and I took a conscious decision that I would extend this to 2years. With my son, I only went back to work after 6months and I wanted to do the same with my daughter.
What childcare/ support structure do you have?
I have a full time helper that is amazing with my kids. I’m fortunate that I get to travel with her during my block weeks at school which are intense and require long hours spent at school. She works around my schedule and that makes things really easier. My son is not at crèche yet, and this is because we are homeschooling him until he is able to write IsiXhosa. My husband is also a hands-on dad, helps with waking up at night (PS: he wakes up more than me HAHAHA) and changing the diaper etc.
What surprised you the most about being a mother (the pretty and the ugly)? The pretty: Watching my kids grow and knowing that “I made that” is kinda cool. The ugly: I wish I knew how hard it is to get back to the flow of things. Your sex life changes and it takes a while before you’re completely yourself to get back to the groove. This is the only time that I felt like men have it easy lol
Are there any cultural traditions that you followed when your children were born? My family is very liberal so we didn’t follow any traditions. I practically wanted people to come see us the minute I was released from hospital. The only thing I took from my mother would be “iyeza lomoya” (medicine for the winds)
What one thing did you wish you had known before having a child? OR what has been the most difficult part of being a mother?
I wish I knew just how much they bring meaning to my life, I would have started earlier.
What has been the best part of being a mother?
The unconditional love I receive from my children, and their ability to brighten up my day.
Plans for more children in the future?
We were blessed with the perfect pigeon pair and our kids are 2years apart which means they will grow up together. 2 is perfect for us.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us Lulwando. I wish you and your hubby all the blessings with your gorgeous babies and all the best with your masters.
If you would like to be featured next, please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org – I would love to have you!