This week on Meet The Mama, I caught up with Ayanda, a first time mom to Baby Nkosana who had a scary yet joyous pregnancy. After a brief encouter in Neonatal ICU, her and hubby are enjoying their Prince. I met Ayanda through a mutual friend two years ago and we’ve kept in touch on social media since then.
Tell us about yourself and your family:
I’m a “cool chick” (haha) that loves her food, friends and good music. I also work a lot and love my job. I’m in marketing so I get to have fun while working so it will be interesting to see how I find the balance between being a super mom and passionate employee.
My nuclear family is me, Linda (my husband) and now Nkosana who has brought so much happiness in our home.
How would you describe your pregnancy?
Tough in the beginning, I had 2 miscarriage scares but there is nothing God, a good doctor and solid support cant fix. Thereafter it was smooth sailing. I loved being pregnant, I think I miss it, I miss the photo sessions Linda and I had, documenting this beauty that was growing inside of me.
What challenges did you encounter during your pregnancy or motherhood journey?
We decided to keep the pregnancy off social media and that helped alleviate the pressure of responding to the “what are you having” ” when are you due” ” were you guys trying” and the “it’s long overdue you’ve been married for 5 years” questions. I also figured if you’re my friend, then you should know that I’m pregnant so no need to put it out there. This was a shock to some because I do come across as very active on these platforms but I also keep personal experiences, personal.
Have you had any pain or loss, how did you deal with it?
Shoo this is a hard one. Nkosana was born a healthy child except he had a condition called Gastroschisis and that meant he was in ICU for 2 weeks and in a general paediatric ward for another week. He had to be rushed to surgery as soon as he was born. Not being able to hold my child in the delivery room was painful, but what was even more painful was leaving him there every day. Closing the curtains in his nursery each night was hard; I mean who plans to come back home with no baby in hand? Going to the hospital daily was emotionally and physically draining for us. I was pumping milk every day for him- to make him stronger so we can go home and be the family I always dreamt of. It was surprising to see just how many other moms left their kids in hospital due to some condition; we made some good friends and planned some serious playdates for when our kids were discharged. I still chat to some of the moms, it’s amazing how you find comfort in the weirdest places, it felt like we all understood each other’s struggles. Some children are older than 10 months and have been hospitalized since birth and that is just heartbreaking for any parent.
Did you have a birth plan for your baby’s arrival?
I didn’t have a birth plan per se. I wanted natural birth, with epidural of course 🙂 but Nkosana was taking his sweet time dropping and I figured at 41 weeks we should opt for c-section. Rather spend the maternity leave with the #freshprince than on the couch watching the Kardashians.
How did you feel when you first met your baby?
It’s indescribable. My life changed, I had a baby – everything I’ve ever wanted.
What is the one thing you always want your child/children to know?
That I love him and everything I do is for him, for the family.
What is the biggest challenge you have experienced as a mom?
Not being able to breastfeed. Because of his hospitalization, Nkosana was tube and bottle fed, so when it was time to go home we tried to get him accustomed to the boob and he just said “uhm no, why should I work for the food when a dummy is so much easier” I was SO ready to breastfeed, I did however pump milk for him for 2.5 months. The other was getting a nanny that we trust and are comfortable with. Sacrifices had to be made to make it work for all four of us, nanny included.
How long was your maternity leave and how are you/ did you feel about returning to work and balancing motherhood with a career?
I’ve been back at work for a week now – It’s heartbreaking to leave him for 9 hours of the day. I will need to look at my travelling schedule, that’s for sure. I took 4.5 months but it feels like 4.5 weeks
What childcare/ support structure do you have?
We have a whole village ready to assist us with him so we have a pretty solid structure- friends, grannies, aunts you name it.
What surprised you the most about being a mother (the pretty and the ugly)?
That the maternal instincts just kick in and you know what to do and how to do it. I was at my gran’s house for a couple of days so I had to wing it a few times and it just worked.
Are there any cultural traditions that you followed when your child was born?
Our parents are not traditional but it just made sense to have as minimal exposure to germs as possible, so we had only family and close friends visit. Nkosana is very popular so we are spending most of weekends visiting friends now that he is 4 months
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?
That you will suffer from serious sleep deprivation and learn to run on 5 hour sleep a day.
Lack of breast milk due to lack of sleep and a proper diet.
Leaving him to go back to work, I really wish I could spend a year at home looking after him but like my gran says “uzokhula noma ungekho”
What has been the best part of being a mother?
Giving life to this handsome boy and seeing him grow every day. Making someone else other than my husband laugh as much as Nkosana does.
Plans for more children in the future?
Definitely, hopefully a girl
Thank you for sharing your journey with us Ayanda. I wish you and your hubby all the blessings with Nkosana, what a blessing!
If you would like to be featured next, please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org – I would love to have you