SOUTH AFRICA: Why is change inevitably painful?


Change is painful. The myriad of cliches, affirmations, memes and inspirational quotes on this subject are testament that this is a widespread problem. No one knows this better than us mothers. From the moment of conception, change happens at an incredibly fast pace. Our babies go from helpless newborns to defiant toddlers in the blink of an eye. Blink again and they’ve left home to start families of their own!

Not only do our offspring change, but we do as well. At every stage we must adapt to new demands. I’m not the only mom who actually wanted her child to grow, change and reach milestones as soon as possible. What I wasn’t prepared for was the sense of loss that accompanied each change. In a strange way, it was as if I was mourning the baby that had been replaced by the toddler, the toddler replaced by the child, and so on.

My son is now 23 years old. Two years ago he moved away from home to live abroad with his girlfriend (now wife!) and her family in Germany. Thanks to Skype, we still talk often, but this change has been the toughest one for me so far. As grateful as I am for my in-laws’ generosity in giving my son the opportunity to live and study in Germany, I can’t help feeling sad that my son is now more part of their family than ours. Also, I’ve had to come to terms with the idea of not living close to (eventual) grandchildren.

Don’t get me wrong, as a mother, all I truly care about is that my son is healthy and happy (which he is). This has been a very positive change for him, and I am incredibly proud of the awesome young man he has become. I’m the one who wasn’t quite ready for this change, even though, objectively, I know it’s the best thing for him.

This change from mother to mother-in-law really is my most challenging change so far. I have a new understanding for what my late mother-in-law must have felt when my husband told her he was going to stay in Cape Town with me, instead of moving to Durban with them. Whether in a different city or on a different continent, the result is the same – it’s simply impossible to be present in the lives of your child and possible grandchildren.

It took my mother-in-law over 20 years to accept me, and I suffered a lot in that time. I vowed to never put my daughter-in-law through what I went through. Yet, if I’m being scrupulously honest, there’s a little part of me that resents the fact that my son has moved to a different continent, and that he was willing to learn German, but I never managed to get him to learn Italian, my own mother tongue.

Change is as inevitable as death and taxes. It is counter-productive to strive to keep things the way they are. It is much better to embrace each change as a new adventure. The problem is that I’ve never been adventurous!

How do you deal with the stress caused by changes in your life? Do you have any advice for me, to help me overcome my resentment?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mama Simona from Cape Town, South Africa.

Photo credit: Conal Gallagher / Flickr.

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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Saturday Layover for July 23, 2011…

I dropped my baby.

There, I said it.  I feel awful about it.  I mean, sit on the floor, head in my hands, sobbing awful about it.  

I had her in my left arm with her head over my shoulder, and we were making our way to the kitchen.  While in my older daughter’s room, I reached up with my right hand to pull the cord to turn off the ceiling fan…and then…blast!…she took off like a runner from a runner’s post.

She kicked me away and then backdived to my left all in one swoop. The perfect escape.  The moment seemed to last an eternity.

I caught her with my left hand. Relief.  But no. All 4 and 1/2 months and 16 lbs of gravity dropped on my arm like a medicine ball onto a sheet of “the other leading brand” of plastic wrap, falling closer, closer to the carpeted ground. (more…)

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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ARIZONA, USA: When Our Babies Leave the Nest

How I’m handling my baby leaving the nest…

I have exactly a month from today before I take my oldest baby, ok my 18 year old *insert mommy face*, to New York for his first year of college. Yes, 3000 miles from home! He was accepted to the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts (NYCDA), a college known for its hard auditions.

Thousands audition from across the world, and only 180 are accepted per semester. It’s a huge deal, and I am so proud of him. He has wanted to sing and act since he was 4 years old and has wanted to attend NYCDA since his sophomore year in high school. He now gets to live out his dreams.

Needless to say, this will be a transition for the both of us, actually for the three of us; it has always been him, his brother and me. We have been the “three amigos” (as they’ve named us) for 13 years. (more…)

Dr. Jeanelle Marshawn Lanham (USA)

Dr. Jeanelle Marshawn Lanham is an Indiana native now living in Arizona, USA. She’s the Founder of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Teen Center – Hodge Podge the Teen Cafè™ (, CEO of Iron WoMan Inc™ (, a writer, is known to teens all over the world as the S.W.A.G Doc™ (, a wife and most importantly a mom to two awesome boys. She joined the Army when she was a senior in high school because she did exceptionally well on the testing and was involved in the Gulf War. She served 8 years and is now a disabled Vet but that doesn’t get her down, nor stop her. Dr. Jeanelle Marshawn Lanham loves to write and help teenagers feel better about themselves. She knows ASL and signs with her deaf friends when she can. She’s always busy writing and building her Brand and found it great when she was given the opportunity to write for World’s Mom Blog. She has many goals on her bucket list and once her business has grown to her satisfaction, her goal is to own her own bull(s) (yes, real bulls!) and have them participate in the PBR (Professional Bull Riding). Traveling is a love of hers and one day she will visit Italy! You can find Dr. Jeanelle Marshawn Lanham on FaceBook at or Twitter @JeanelleLanham – Her heart is true to Rehabilitating Teens, Coaching Moms & Encouraging others.

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