I see you.
On the surface, you look like everyone else. You blend in. Your appearance and persona is nothing unusual. Not for you. No one would ever know your story because you keep it to yourself. It is none of their business, after all, and they wouldn’t understand anyway.
But there is pain underneath that appearance. Discomfort. Uncertainty. Just enough of the emotion seeps through that I can see it. I see it in your eyes. I see it in the way you hold your body. Something is not right.
I’ve been there.
I hear you.
You reach out privately because you know there will be an ear. You hope there will be understanding. A light in the sea of darkness. A glimmer of clarity where there seems to be a never-ending swirl of confusion.
Though it is hard, I listen. I listen because others did when I needed an ear. I recognize the pain, the denial, the uncertainty and fear.
I’ve been there.
I feel you.
Your words penetrate me. I feel them in every bone of my body. My chest hurts, and my eyes burn. I re-live my own past experiences. I feel angry and sad. I know. And I can’t do a thing about it but listen and absorb.
I share my experience and though our stories are different, we are the same at that very moment. We are one. I may be farther along, but don’t let that fool you. It is easy to fall back into that hole.
I’ve been there.
We’ve all been there. As mothers, as daughters, as wives, as women. The drive to make good and keep peace can be our downfall.
But keeping the peace isn’t always the answer. It can numb us when we really need to feel. If we wait too long our hurt hits us like a ton of bricks. We become angry. And that is when change needs to occur.
The problem is that change is hard and scary and there is no guarantee what the future will hold. So you must let go and trust that you are strong enough to make the change and heal the pain.
It’s a process. One that is unique to everyone who is brave enough to go through it. Like a roller coaster ride, it is fraught with emotion. There are dips and turns and periods of anxiety and fear of what is coming next. The exhilaration and satisfaction at the end, however, is worth the ride.
We owe it to ourselves, to our children, to make that change. Whatever it is.
I see you.
You are not alone.
Does this post resonate with you?
This is an original post written by Jennifer Iacovelli for World Moms Blog.
World Mom, Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, and her son.
I began blogging when I was eight months pregnant with my first son, in March 2011. As a 32 year-old who had worked in both, the media and the development fields, for a decade, I considered myself ‘very well-knowledgeable about stuff’ and thought I knew all there was to know about pregnancy and motherhood.
But in those eight months, I had soon discovered that I really didn’t know much. This is because I would always have so many questions about the pregnancy – very simple, but yet, difficult questions that not even the internet could answer. At each gynecologist’s appointment, I would always have tens of questions for my doctor who thankfully was patient enough to answer them all.
But even then, there are questions that the doctor could not answer satisfactorily. I needed to hear from someone who’d gone through what I was going through, and hence, I would find myself asking many mums about their experiences and if what I was going through was normal – you know – the weird cravings, the forgetfulness, the clumsiness, the sleepiness and extreme laziness that I felt. Had they also gone through the same, or was there something wrong with me?
As the pregnancy neared the end, I asked them about their birth experiences, and if they, too, had felt anxious about labor, and how they had dealt with this fear. It always felt better having their support in my journey to motherhood.
Then my son came in April 2011. That was when it really dawned on me that it does indeed take a village to raise a child. Motherhood comes with no manual, and new motherhood can be completely confusing and overwhelming –especially if you don’t have a good support network.
My mum, mother-in-law, sisters, aunts, cousins and friends were on my speed dial as I asked them hundreds of questions a day. Then there was also my paediatrician, too, who thankfully, would also always offer the expert bit.
When I started my blog, Mummy Tales, at home in Kenya, it was about my own motherhood chronicles, but as my readership grew, my inbox would be filled with pregnant women and new mums asking me the same questions that I, myself, had asked when I was in their situation.
And the more my blog grew, the more women wrote in about their experiences with fertility struggles, miscarriages, still births, neonatal sepsis and more. Some I would answer, while others I would get the answers from doctors then share the responses with my readers.
With time, readers began sending me their experiences, asking me to post on my blog for the benefit of fellow women and mums.
This exchange of information enriched me too, and I realized that many women had undergone unfortunate pregnancy and childbirth experiences because they lacked adequate information. I remember one woman who had lost her pregnancy at 25 weeks due to high-blood pressure issues.
“It was only after I saw a story on your blog about a young woman who had died from eclampsia that I came to understand that I had actually been lucky to survive. In my next pregnancy, I paid more attention to everything I was going through, religiously attended all my antenatal clinics and paid attention to my pressure and urine levels during each visit, unlike before. I also became very keen on unusual swelling on my face, hands and feet. This time round, I asked the nurses many questions unlike in my first pregnancy. Even though I still developed pre-eclampsia again, I knew both my baby and I would survive because I was more informed. I was put on medication until the end of my pregnancy, and delivered a healthy baby. Thank God I had become more knowledgeable because of the article I read on your blog,” she told me.
Some of the most common questions I receive on my blog are about the warning signs in pregnancy, foods to eat and avoid during pregnancy, how to prepare for the birth experience and how to generally maintain a healthy pregnancy. I also get lots of questions about breastfeeding, weaning and baby’s nutrition. The answers I give come from my own personal experiences, the experiences of fellow readers, as well as the input of experts.
My blog today is an information hub with real-life practical experiences of motherhood. The ‘tales’ are relatable and as an online community, we are raising our children together, learning together, saving lives of both, mothers and children, and raising healthy babies together. My goal is to ensure that women and babies survive pregnancy and childbirth, and that mothers go on to enjoy the blessing of motherhood, by putting authentic information in their hands.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama of Kenya of Mummy Tales.
Photo credit to the author and World Moms Blog.
With no definitive family religion, it’s been one of my conscious parenting decisions to create and maintain family rituals on which my kids can hang their memories.
One that began five years ago, when my youngest was just over a year old, was sleeping in the lounge (family room) for a night. It’s one of those times the kids love, and I enjoy because they get so much pleasure from it. It’s a little event, in the picture of raising them, but it’s become really important for our sense of togetherness.
Last night, we had our first sleep in the lounge in our new home. To tell the truth, I’d been avoiding it. I’ve been working three part-time jobs for the past few months and our clocks have just changed to Daylight Savings Time, here, in New Zealand. Being a solo parent has been fine, but it requires a lot of concentration, no zoning-out hoping that someone else will share the load: there is no-one else around.
I was exhausted and in need of the best night’s sleep I could get. But it’s also school holidays and if it hadn’t happened now, it was unlikely we’d have it before Christmas.
The boys were great, they organised a queen sized mattress for the youngest and I, and pulled out piles of duvets and pillows. The excitement level was high, and there were no complaints about wifi turning off and devices going away. The fun began with pillow fights and giggles, wrestling, cold feet being placed on the warm backs and stomachs of others and, eventually, somehow, naked boys and intense belly-laughs.
It was fun. Great fun. And I could feel the sense of comradeship increase over that half hour or so. Then I turned out the lights and called a halt to the shenanigans.
We began to chat in the dark. I told them anything said would be held in confidence and was not to leave the room. I asked the first question: “What scares you and what excites you?” My eldest followed up with, “What’s a thorn from this week and a rose from this week?” These were great starters, all three responded openly and age-appropriately. As did I. Then the magic happened.
I asked my boys if there was anything I needed to know.
Their responses to that were phenomenal: open, vulnerable, honest and real. Their authenticity blew me away and long after they were all sleeping, I lay awake considering what they had shared. It truly was one of those big moments in life.
And when three alarms went off at 6.30am I found I had slept the best I had all week. Go figure.
Do you have family rituals? Have you had small events that have turned out to be big moments in your parenting?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Karyn Wills of Napier, New Zealand.
Image credit to World Moms Blog.