Mama’s I know how much you loved and missed the interview features on the blog, thank you for all the great feedback. Since I’m still in the spirit of celebrating my first Soweto Marathon, I thought it would be appropriate to do a running-mom feature and I just had to approach Sonia first. We’ve known each other for a few years and she just became a first time mom. What surprised me is that this SuperMom did a 21KM run in the Soweto Marathon this weekend, after having given birth to her son just 16 weeks or so ago. I’m beyond impressed!!
Please tell us about yourself and your family?
My name is Refiloe Sonia Loate (changing my surname very soon 😊 and I’m extremely excited about that). I’m 28 years old and I’m a mother to a beautiful baby Boy named Luyanda Sibeko and a wife and friend to Tebogo Sibeko. I’m currently on maternity leave, however, I’m a Private Banker by profession and I’m also currently doing my Master’s degree in Technology and Innovation at Da Vinci Institute. I’m a typical old school family-orientated woman – my family comes first. I will never leave the house without ensuring that my Husband and baby boy are sorted in every aspect. Even when it comes to returning calls, texting friends and family back, etc. one should never think I’m ignoring them because Luyanda keeps me occupied throughout the day.
How would you describe your pregnancy?
It may sound like I’m gloating but honestly speaking, I had the best pregnancy I could ever wish for. My Husband was flippen amazing. Thinking about it just makes me want to have more babies. *laughs* Where do I begin? …
When we found out that we were pregnant we were ecstatic and decided to only tell our close family, until I started showing at 5months, then we extended the good news to friends. He never missed a single gynae appointment, until the day of my delivery. I used to pray and thank God every day for bringing such an awesome man into my life. I really enjoyed being pregnant and getting all his attention lol before Luyanda took over.
Did you work out during your pregnancy? And when did you start working out after you gave birth to your son?
Yes I worked out during my pregnancy but only up until I was about 5 or 6 months pregnant. I wasn’t as active as I would have loved to be, there were times I’d wake up change into my gym gear and go back to bed because the struggle was real and I also became lazy as my tummy grew bigger. However when I had the energy I’d go for morning walks which also helped with my energy levels and mood.
After I gave birth I waited for my 6 week postpartum checkup because I had a c-section; I needed to make sure everything that was intact before I started working out again. On the 7th week I started doing short runs 7 and 8ks and started building up slowly by increasing the distance, so it’s been a good 2 months being back on the road.
When and how did you start running?
I started running in 2006 with my late sister, in preparation for my Matric dance, as I wanted to shred off the Weight. To be honest running wasn’t really my thing but I started loving it when I saw what it was doing to my body and soul. There were times when I slacked, especially after my sister passed away in 2007. In 2008 I went back to running full time because I and picked up so much weight after she passed away. I must have been a size 36. So it’s safe to say that I’ve been running for almost10 years now and every year I make sure I run a marathon because I’m also obsessed with collecting the medals *giggles*
What do you love most about running?
The one thing I love about running is that it tones my body, especially my thighs, better than going to the gym. I just love exercising outdoors it revives me and makes me feel sooo good and young at heart😀. So when it comes to working on my tummy I do home exercises which have helped to shred some of the fat around my waist. How do I know that what I’m doing works? My old jeans fit again.
How did you prepare for your first postpartum marathon?
To be completely honest with you, I wasn’t planning on running the Soweto marathon this year; especially the 21km geeez not just after I gave birth 3months ago. Running the marathon was the last thing on my mind until last week Wednesday when FOMO hit me hard and I ended up asking a friend to find out if she knew anyone that had registered but couldn’t make it anymore and luckily her husband had other commitments so I bought his gear from her lol. I know it sounds crazy, but for the first time I had serious FOMO in life lol.
Considering the fact that I’ve been back on the road for almost 2months now, I still felt i wasn’t 100% ready for the race. In preparation, I ran 2 ×13.4km and 1x 17km last week, just to feel ready for the race. What a tough race that was 😀, normally I run with a friend of mine, however, this year I ran alone to challenge myself. This was also another lesson learnt, in life at times you need to do some things alone and not depend on people to help you fulfill your desires.
How do you plan on balancing everything when you go back to work after your maternity leave?
Thando, I think that’s the one thing that scares me… being able to balance everything. I’m a first time mother and a wife so I learn a lot daily in this Motherhood journey, which is great and also challenging. I am going back to work in the second week of January. I do have a plan which I pray works, but I’ve also realised no matter how much I plan, one can never tell what the day will bring e.g. I used to wake up around 6am thinking I’d quickly go for a run while Luyanda was sleeping but guess what?! He would be up and that would only mean I go for a run only after he sleeps again, be it at 8, 9 or 10am. So I’ve told myself to take it one day at a time, embrace this journey learn and apply what I feel is best for my family.
School is also hectic but thank God I’m nearly there. I just need to submit my last assignment then focus on my dissertation which I’m submitting next year in July or August. I strongly believe that it won’t impossible to accomplish my dream, with the strong support system that I have. I just need to ask for help when I need it.
What is the biggest challenge you have experienced as a new mom?
I’ve had a few challenges as a new mom, thinking I had to be perfect. I felt so fat and having to adjust to losing 8 hours of sleep also didn’t make it any easier; it all happened so quickly. In the first 3 weeks after giving birth, I remember I’d pray and ask Luyanda to sleep at night when he wouldn’t sleep or stop crying, forgetting that he was a baby trying to adjust to the world and didn’t know what was happening around him because it was also a huge transition for him too. At some point, I thought I was going to go mad because I tried everything and nothing worked. He just wanted to stay up and be in my arms, but after a month it got better because I had even adjusted to his sleeping pattern.
I always questioned myself and wondered if I was doing the right thing, not to mention meeting everyone that wanted to give me advice on how I should raise him… what I need to do for him to sleep and stop crying… what I needed to feed him etc. geez that used to drive me crazy, because people forget that every child is different. Having a lot of people telling me what to do sometimes made me feel like I wasn’t doing the right thing but my Husband constantly used to remind me that they had their own experience and that I don’t need to listen to everyone. After digesting those words “don’t listen to everyone” life got better, time and days went by and I got used to trusting my own motherly instincts as well.
What do you love most about being a mommy?
What I love most about being a Mom is breasfeesing Luyanda, I can’t even explain how that makes me feel, especially when he looks into my eyes while eating caressing my boob 😀 ahhhh motherhood❤❤❤ I still look at him and wonder if he is really mine. It fulfills me knowing that I have a little person who doesn’t know anything about life or the world, a little person who is depending on me to feed him every 3 -4 hours and make decisions for him.
Every time he looks into my eyes I’m reminded of how great the Lord is, he just Melts my heart ❤, he is the sweetest baby boy.
Any tips for new runners like me?
No matter how strong you think you are, you always need to train and prepare yourself for every race. Often people take it for granted thinking it’s a walk in the park, it takes a lot of training, strength and courage to run a race. If you train, you are most likely to run a few more races in the year because you will also start loving and enjoying it. If you don’t enjoy running, don’t do it – find another hobby that will fulfill you. I only run because I love it. Running is something I don’t do once or twice a year I run 3-4 times every week.
What is the one thing you always want your son to know?
I always want my son to know is that I love him with all of me, he is the best thing that has ever happened to me/us, he taught me things I didn’t know about myself; things I also discovered in this beautiful journey of motherhood. He has given me every reason to want to better myself in every way and to be the best mother he can only imagine. I love him and I will always be there for him, Mommy’s Boy❤
Thank you for sharing your story with us Sonia. Wishing you, hubby and baby Luyanda all the very best in your future.
If you missed out, make sure you can catch up on the last mommy features I did. Lulwando is also a runner and master student, as well as a wife and mom of two. Ayanda is a first time mom and wife who had a brief encounter in NICU when her son was born. Karabo was the first mommy I ever featured, she is loving motherhood, after overcoming a miscarriage.
Modern Zulu Mom
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