The one year mark

21 April 2017
Author   Kaula Nhongo

Last week, my baby turned one and in a way I feel I also turned one because everything that I have had to do this past year (in terms of parenting) I have had to learn. On top of the regular mew parent learning struggles, I had to do my first year as a single mother.

As I wish my baby a happy birthday, I also congratulate myself for getting past that one year mark with my mind still intact because there have been times when I have felt like I was really going to lose it.

The one incident that almost threw me over the edge was when my baby fell sick and she had a very high fever.

As a new mom, nothing could have prepared me for that and it was one of the most painful experiences that I have ever gone through in my life.

Just the thought of what she was going through and seeing how much pain she was in, broke my heart.

To make the situation worse, she stopped eating and she lost a lot of weight that we had to start giving her salt and sugar solution for energy.

I became so depressed that it also started affecting my health but I knew that no matter how hard it was, I had to be strong for her.

Thankfully, she slowly recovered and got back to her old self but up to this day, I am still a bit shaken by the whole situation and feel that I am still recovering from that.

Every day with my first baby has had its own ups and downs but overall, motherhood has brought so much joy into my life.

It has given me a sense of purpose, an understanding of unconditional love and an appreciation for life.

On a normal day now that she is walking and constantly mumbling, my hands are full.

She starts walking in the morning from the time she wakes up until the time she goes to sleep in the evening, meaning she is busy the whole day, taking stuff out of the cupboards, and even trying to put her fingers into electric sockets (that scares me to death)! Really, she is just being a child with an active mind and body.

She used to really love eating, but that has since changed. This means that now, feeding time is a wrestling match. I feel like I have to almost force feed her just to get something nutritious into her tummy.

If you by any chance stop paying attention to her while she is doing something she feels you should look at, then she will start fake crying just so you look at her and when you do she will crack up laughing.

I am not in any way complaining about the responsibility that I have or regretting being a mother, but I am admitting that parenting is a challenge. Nothing really prepares you for what the job entails because even with a schedule and planning, the responsibility is just not easy.

Just like any other job, it is physically, mentally and emotionally draining.

Before becoming a parent, I didn’t understand what it meant when people told me to make the best of my life and enjoy my free time because once you become a parent you stop living for yourself and you start living for your child.

Most of the time as parents we do not really want to admit that parenting is challenging because we are scared of being judged or we feel that by admitting that, we are in a way being disloyal to our children. In some cases, we would like to think that the blessing of a child outweighs the tough stuff, but I think it is okay to admit that it is not easy either as a single parent or with a regular partner on the scene.

The truth is that parenting is relentless work. It is like a grey day with intermittent bursts of sunshine, and these occasional breaks in the cloud are what we mothers try to focus on.

A mother does it all and there are no second shifts to come on duty and relieve us for a bit; no relief that comes in at the end of the day, however late parenting responsibilities go on. If the night is sleepless due to a child with a fever, teething or something unexplained, then the morning rolls on regardless and this can happen night after night; that’s just the way it is.

Invariably, as a mother you muster a smile and push on while hoping for better sleep the next night or a quick nap when things quiet down. Happy one year birthday to me.

WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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