One of the best resources we have as mothers, is the knowledge-base that exists within other moms. Although our children, values and experiences may differ, we have a lot more in common than we think. Today I would like to introduce you to a childhood friend of mine, Shoki, who has beautiful 3 year old twin boys. Here is her motherhood journey – from pregnancy to balancing her career:
- Briefly tell me about your twin boys Tawanda and Lwandile?
My twin boys, Lwandile and Tawanda or Tawa and Lwandi as we affectionately call them, are the cutest little boys in my eyes. With them being twins, I always thought they were be so alike including their personalities but they are actually very different. Tawanda is was born first and he is the more outgoing of the two. He is such a confident and daring little boy! With all that, he is however, the “baby” – loves affection and knows how to play on my emotions. Lwandi is more reserved and very much of a thinker. You can literally see him observing and thinking about taking something on – be it a new toy, game, etc. Lwandi just recently started being affectionate towards me and his brother. It always warms my heart when I see how close they are. They want to nap together or lie next to each other or how the one will look around the house for his brother if he goes for a few minutes without seeing him around. Twins are just the cutest!
- How would you describe your pregnancy and birth experience?
My pregnancy was not pleasant at all! I loved seeing my body change and feeling the babies move in my tummy but boy was I sick on a daily basis! I literally got morning sickness from day one until the very end. My first trimester was tough, as it is for most women, second trimester things got a lot better, even with the daily morning sickness but the third trimester was the toughest! I didn’t really pick up a lot of weight, but the heaviness of the babies really took a toll on my back. With the backaches came weak bones, found myself not being able to move on some mornings because of this. Eventually my doctor put me on bed rest at 28 weeks. I then went in for my C-section at 34 weeks.
On the day of the birth of my boys I was super excited and couldn’t wait to meet them! I also couldn’t wait to get them out!!! My back couldn’t take it anymore and my tummy had stretched so much it was sore. I remember how nervous I got about an hour before going in for my C section. I didn’t know what to expect and I wondered about the pain, the so-called magic of giving birth, etc. My husband went into theatre with me and held my hand through it all. I remember hearing the first cry from my Tawanda and I just bursting into tears, I could see my husband’s joy and nervousness – he actually almost dropped the camera – LOL. A few minutes later, baby number two, as the doctors called them, my Lwandi was born and his cry was louder.
I remember watching the doctors handle the babies and thinking, they are hurting them! Literally a few minutes later I started feeling so overwhelmed and exhausted. I remember seeing the babies on my chest and wanting them off because I didn’t have the strength to keep them on my body for too long – I then went to my room and slept with all those family members surrounding me in my room. That night, I actually got up and went to go get them from the nursery because I wanted them close to me. I couldn’t believe these little miracles were mine. I was in awe!
- What support did you need with twins and how did you attain it?
I needed extra hands to help me handle them. Having a baby is overwhelming for any mother but having two was a handful. I needed a lot of emotional and physical support. My husband was home with me for the first 2 weeks but he then had to go back to work. When he went back I was so emotional and overwhelmed to be dealing with the babies by myself at night. My mother then spoke to my gran who then came to stay with us for two months to help me with the kids.
I learnt to let go and accept help which wasn’t easy to do – not sure if it’s a “new mom” thing but you just want to handle your baby or babies all by yourself and if people try to help, you feel like they are implying that you don’t know what you’re doing. I learnt to snap out of it very quickly. My mother left her job to stay home with me and the twins so my gran and I would do the night shift and my mom would do the morning shift so I could sleep. They were very supportive!
- What are some of the things no one tells you about having and raising twins?
Nobody tells you that it is even more important to get twins into a routine than one baby because they sleep at different times in the beginning, wake each other up which means that you are constantly awake! When the one gets sick, the other one follows, no matter how much I’ll try to prevent it.
You really do need to raise them as individuals because they really are two different people. They like different things, they develop differently and they have different interests as much as they would like the same stuff too.
- What is your best memory with your boys?
One of the best memories I have of the boys was when we got them dedicated to God, that moment was so special to their dad and I because we felt like we were making a decision for them that would ensure their protection and a base for their relationship with God. A decision to raise them as Christians as we were also brought up. That moment made me realise how big of a job being a parent is, the decisions you have to make for your kids, the values you choose to teach them.
- Are African languages and culture important to you; if so, how have they influenced your parenting style?
African languages and culture are most definitely important to me. I want my boys to be proud Zulu men and we always make sure they know both sides of their family’s culture and languages. As confusing as it may be for them, I speak to them in my language (pedi/sotho) and their dad in his (zulu). I plan to always make sure they know their culture and I plan to take advise from their dad’s family or make sure that they are close to them so they can teach them all about their culture.
- What beliefs do you want your boys to grow up with?
I want them to fear God first and foremost, to know the importance of family and to be respectful to all people. I want my kids to know the value of being educated – an educated black man and the power that comes with it.
- How have you maintained a balance between your family and career?
I am still juggling it all but I think I have managed to keep the balance so far by allowing both my family and my husband’s family to help us. I have told myself that even though I want to be the best mom, it takes a village to raise a child as the saying goes and that being a mom doesn’t mean you stop living. My dreams before I became a mom are still my dreams and my goals are still my goals. They are even more important now because I want to build a legacy for my kids. I want them to look at me and be super proud of their mom and her achievements. Most importantly, I want to make myself proud.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us Shoki.
Modern Zulu Mom