Cheers to Motherhood!

Twenty one months ago, I became a mother for the very first time. For a quick preview of my story, in a previous post, I have shared my pregnancy journey and how things started to shift into a direction, I was not prepared for. Sadly, I entered the realm of motherhood with a flood of negative emotions and a lot of doubts.

We can all agree, it is overwhelming to welcome another human being into our lives. But even if raising a child is not an easy task, it should not be perceive as a punishment... Unfortunately in today's society where capitalism is the heart of the economy, not every family is given enough time to adjust. It then becomes difficult to find a stable pace after the arrival of a child, which leads to complications in the familial sphere.

As a ''brand new'' mother myself, I can see now how the Media is negatively shaping society's perception of motherhood. I have watched a number of TV commercials where mothers are left alone to raise their children or parents are terrified of their own kids and honestly, my experience as a mother started on the rough side! I was not prepared for what was to come as a "first generation middle-class" immigrant, now single mother.

Soon after I gave birth, I realized that I wouldn't qualify for any government programs in terms of financial support become of my income. I then knew, most of my revenues would be consumed by childcare fees which is terrifying but the cherry on top, was the end of seven years of marriage right in at the same time. My whole world started to scramble under my feet, the day my mother went back to Ivory Coast.

Truly, I was grateful she was able to come and help me out with my newborn for a few months. But as soon as she left, a great fear started to rise up in me as I felt hopeless. I could feel anxiety taking over me day after day.From finances to daycare issues, I have been struggling to keep my employer, myself and my son happy. For a minute, it felt like motherhood was a curse! I thought that I was ready, I had a partner, a secured job in my expertise, everything was figured out  bt in a glimpse of a second in all went away.

In the Ivorian culture, expectant women don't even question themselves about getting physical support once the child arrives. ''It takes a whole village to raise a child'' is not just an African proverb it became my reality or else I would not have made it this far.  In a matter of days soon after my mother left, my sisters and my closest friend stepped in. With their busy agendas, still they managed to come as often as they could and helped me with households tasks. They would watch my son so I could rest or just converse with me, make me laugh: I was no longer alone!

For me, the biggest questions about motherhood revolve around the support system in place; ''hands-on'' people who are committed to helping you raise your child. Based on my experience, before or during the pregnancy is a good time to prepare yourself and establish a strong support system around by: 

  1. Finding financial and social programs available and see if you would qualify for it. If you do not, still there are groups, family coalitions in your area, free resources available to prepare and help you navigate the seas of Motherhood.
  2. Talking to a social service counselor, your employer, friends & family members, childcare services advisors... to get as much information as possible and give yourself enough time to be fully prepared. It used to be a taboo to talk about the challenges that come with raising a child, not today!
  3. Educating yourself on parenthood : YouTube channels, social media pages, books... that are raising awareness on self-care, overcoming postpartum depression, positive parenting tips etc.

Every day my love for my son grows stronger and deeper. Taking care of myself brought out a positive energy, strengthening my relationship with my son, friends & family and my mental health. It wouldn't be the case if I didn't have someone I could count on. Whether you are a single mother, an immigrant mother or in a relationship where you feel as if you are the only one carrying the responsibility of raising the kids or just a mother, a support system is key to withstand the challenges of motherhood. Carrying a human being, giving birth, nursing, taking care of child... pull out of us a lot of energy if not all! Asking for help does not make us any less stronger but the contrary. It's about our family so doing whatever it takes to protect that family, is called courage!

My experience might be different than yours but we all need an extra pair of hands to help with cooking, cleaning or holding a glass of wine (LOL). At the end of the day, it is okay to have doubt about motherhood but  I have decided  to not let the negative influence or the statistics trouble your mind. Seeing a part of you grow into its own person brings out  a fulfillment and a joy that could never be described.

Even if I feel nostalgic from time to time ( we all do, it's called aging LOL), the freedom I have found within myself cannot measure up with my previous way of living. He has brought me out of my comfort zone and I wouldn't trade this bond for anything! Do not let fear make you miss out on the biggest adventure of your life. As for the rest of us mothers, cheers to us !

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