Yes, I’m young and I’m a damn good Mom.

Simphiwe Motha- 23 year old with 2 year old Shamiso. 

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Oh, I remember this everyday! We were leaving for our trip to London that night, and I remember falling into a very deep sleep for 3 hours which felt like 3 minutes. This was very unusual for me! Whilst on holiday, I fell suspiciously ill one morning. I found a chemist at Self-ridges and bought a pregnancy test just to clear the air. Ha! 2-3 weeks pregnant, I screamed so loud and ran to James with pee probably still dripping on the stick.

When I got back home, I told my mom and sister. My mom was quite disappointed like any other mom would be, but it didn’t take her too long to fall in love with the idea that she was going to be a grandmother. My sister had no choice but to be understanding- and other family members were okay with it because they at least knew I was in a very stable relationship.

I was very anxious about the actual birth process. I’m very impatient and like my stuff in order; hence why I opted for a planned C-section. No labour pains. No stress.

How has being a young mother changed you? 

Firstly, its extremely hard having to juggle everything at once. I started working when my baby was 4 months old and started school full time when she was a year old. Now I do both full time. I’ve learnt to prioritize. And I had to learn that fast. I’m definitely more responsible, especially cause I have a daughter who copies EVERYTHING I do (lol). People need to respect young moms, in fact any moms! Its a lot of hard work every single day.

Any advice to a young mother expecting a child? 

Rule number 1: Always make your baby your 1st priority . Everything else will follow. Number 2: Make friends with other moms Number 3: Sleep when the baby sleeps

Kefilwe Dikamotse- 23 years old with 2 year old Kamoka.

kef1When I found out I was pregnant I was 21 years of age, turning 22. I was actually making a joke about being pregnant. I went to my sister’s house and my aunt’s place was just opposite and I would lie to my cousin saying I am pregnant and Kea being the person she is she got excited saying we will both be mothers but I was only playing, well at least I thought it was a joke, until I started finding it difficult to sleep on my stomach which is weird because at that time it was early stages. My stomach was painful and my behaviour changed, as well as my eating habits. I used to eat a whole lot of lemon, mind you I don’t like lemons. During a lunch date with my friend she told me to go buy pregnancy tests and without wasting time I went to test at my sister’s house (she wasn’t home) and as two lines appeared I screamed “No! No! No!” this can’t be right and I took another, same results.

My cousin was excited. I told her first. Then I told my baby daddy and he was in shock and told me not to tell people until I decide for myself what I want to do. Surprisingly my family wasn’t angry with me. My sister guessed it so she told my mom and my mom told my brother and my brother told my dad. Everyone was supportive. My older brothers took it the hardest. After all I’m their little sister, to them I’ll always seem 12. They were not happy with him, couldn’t be in the same room as my baby daddy. I was most anxious about school. I was constantly worried about how I’ll continue with my studies because I was right in the middle of it but you know what, things always work out just the way they are meant to even if we don’t like it that way. I knew my child will grow in a good loving Christian family so I wasn’t worried about how he will turn out.

How has being a young mother changed you? 

Being a mother has given me a second chance at life from a different perspective. I used to be a spoiled little girl, I didn’t know how to do anything for myself, I didn’t really think much about my future because in that moment I didn’t need to but being responsible for someone else’s life pushed me to be a better person for him. I want nothing more than to give my son the best life and that has totally changed my life. I’m very strong, independent, hard working and just all round confident in my efforts to doing great things. I’m a marketing specialist by profession, an entrepreneur by choice and a single parent by circumstances. That has been my biggest challenge, being a single parent. I’m not one to trash talk people so God bless his soul and I’ll continue Praying for him. kef.png

Being a single parent is hard, I’m blessed to have an amazing support system; my parents, my friends, my siblings, my colleagues and the list could go on. The hardest part of it is isn’t the fact that I have to financially take care of my son’s expenses by myself but having to watch how beautiful and smart he is and what a joy he is to not be given the time of the day by his other family. It is well. What people don’t know is how much pressure young mothers go through and how emotionally strained we are, nobody ever asks if we are holding up alright so we just carry on like we are. We deal with a lot. We have to balance work, school, paying bills, nursing your child and in most cases dealing with grown men that don’t want to take responsibility.

Any advice to a young mother expecting a child? 

My advice to young soon to be mothers who are expecting is that being a mother isn’t a restriction. It’s just a limitation. Too often people think because you have a child at a young age then you can’t do ABC. You can still study and graduate, you can still work, you can still get married. You can get everything you always wanted, that job, that house, that car if you put your mind to it. Only this time it won’t just be for you so you need to push a little harder than usual. Someone is depending on you mommy. You are doing great! 

Bongiwe Mkhwanazi -23 year with 10 month old Neema.

I found out I was pregnant well over a month or so before my 22nd birthday. I had decided to visit my doctor for my annual health checks. They then told me I was pregnant. I couldn’t believe it at first. I mean seriously couldn’t believe it although my partner had been dropping hints for me to go check.bongi

I didn’t tell too many people at first. I immediately texted a close friend and then my partner . I think they were at first not sure how to react , naturally. I mean, imagine I call you and I’m having a fit , nervous , excited and in disbelief all at once- you wouldn’t be sure how to react or respond. Other than that, the people around me turned out to be supportive and equally excited . Then I finally decided to tell my mom (months into pregnancy)  because we are quite close and I felt she needed to know despite my fear of how she would react. Remember we are taught that its wrong to have children before marriage, before you have completed your education, before you have your own home and a career. My mother and the idea of marriage are like the government and the idea of legalizing marijuana, that part was the least of my worries. However, she turned out to be the most supportive till today as she still plays such a big role, its amazing . Don’t get me wrong, she did have her moments of feeling like it perhaps wasn’t the nest time to have a baby.

 I think we tend to underestimate the love of our parents. In the sense that most young mothers like myself are most afraid of telling their parents. The society we live in creates this mind-set that having a baby out of specific situations is a death sentence or an embarrassment. They paint this picture of it being a disgrace , that life ends somehow after having a baby. I was most anxious about telling my mother. I guess I had that narrow mentally which I picked up from society that she would be disappointed or feel I had shamed her. I have always been ready for motherhood, people close to me know this so I had absolutely no other fears .

Id like to point out that motherhood wakes you up from fairy tales you lived in with your peers prior to it. I have become more responsible. Many of my decisions are very calculated now because I know I have to make things happen for my daughter and that’s the best feeling. I completed my undergraduate degree during pregnancy. In terms of my career , it has actually opened my eyes to believing in myself and going after endeavours  I’ve always wanted to pursue . I’m finally registering my company with my partner. I do however intend on studying further. Neema (my daughter) motivates me so much without even speaking. If a baby less than a year old can learn to say a few words, learn to move and generally have so many milestones purely from instinct , what then can possibly hinder me from success for her from doing what Í know and love?

 

How has being a young mother changed you? 

Like I said I have always been keen to be a mom ( I look forward to many more kids) so things others might cry about was expected on my side. So , for me the biggest challenge was when I had to decide whether or not to wait for labour and risk losing my daughter, or do as my gynaecologist said. Of course, I let them birth her because I was made aware of the situation and risks involved. Watching other moms have their kids brought to them after birth and during their stay in hospital while you is challenging. Accepting that your baby cannot leave hospital when you have to leave is challenging. Leaving your child to sleep at a hospital without you and being limited to time spent with them when all you have done for the previous months was dream of meeting them is extremely stressful and challenging. You literally blame yourself. Thankfully I had an amazing support system- my mother ,the hospital staff and of course my friends very few  from a distance.

Young mothers are inspiring. I’ve had friends that had babies before me and it was so beautiful to watch them do it so effortlessly and with pride. Being  a mother at a young age is not a life sentence, I’d say actually its a kick start to the real world, a wake up call of note. I mean, look at is jungle having to juggle a social life, our precious babies and work ( for some of us other ventures ) without breaking too much of a sweat. Well done to all the young mothers who held their heads up in this world where some shame us.

 

Any advice to a young mother expecting a child? 

My words to a expecting young mothers is to believe in the purpose you are carrying. I use the word purpose instead of life or baby intentionally, because that person growing inside of you is literally everything. You will learn so much from that child its unbelievable. Watch yourself actually learn how to love, start believing i. Your self as a woman. I want to stress that young woman take themselves seriously despite what society might say. Having a baby means you have more drive and purpose more than anything, means you can still do the same things your peers do , the same things your male counterparts with no children do . My advice is to take it all in day by day, enjoy pregnancy ( its amazing, id do it 10 more times) and never have any pre- expectations of your baby. All i can say is enjoy this transformation.

A huge thank you to all the mothers for sharing such personal stories. I know this is going to help at least one girl realise that this isn’t the end of the world but the beginning of a chapter.

-With love, Nollie.

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