As many of you know, my journey into motherhood has been far from smooth...
When hubby and I went for our 21 week detailed ultrasound the Doctor discovered that I had rare cervix issues and we were told that I could go into labour at any given time.
This was a big shock.
I was given meds and put on strict bed rest. I was very disciplined about the bed rest, and by the end of my pregnancy I had been stuck under my duvet for a grand total of 113 days.
But now that they’ve arrived and I’m finally able to hold these two perfect little humans in my arms, I can’t help but pause and reflect on what this journey has taught me.
1. I’ve learnt that sacrifice is instinctive for moms (and moms-to-be)
I realised that moms instinctively, no questions asked, are willing to give up anything and do everything we possibly can to give our babies the best possible chance.
I was so determined to do everything I could to keep our little buns baking for as long as possible, so that when they arrived they would be strong and healthy and close to term.
Motivation wasn’t an issue for me. Feeling their little kicks and hiccups inside my tummy kept me going (4 legs and 4 arms - it got busy in there!) These were a constant reminder of how important it was for me to take it eeeasy to give them time to grow.
2. I’ve learnt to be patient
I’ve heard so many stories from moms who have moments of wanting to pull their hair out because their kid is soooo slow getting ready for the day; “Hurry up and get your shoes on! We’re going to be late!” or because they take FOREVER to eat one plate of fruit, or because they repeat “are we there yet??” 500 times on a 1 hour car trip. Let’s be real: patience is an essential skill in being a mom.
Lying in bed for days on end, waiting ever so patiently for my little ones to take the time they needed to develop, was challenging to say the least (especially for a go-getter like me who is always up and about).
Bed rest forced me to slow down. It felt like the longest 9 months of my life! But knowing that my babies needed every moment of those 9 months to grow taught me the biggest lesson of patience. And I hope to carry that skill into motherhood.
3. I’ve learnt to not sweat the small stuff
My pregnancy journey has, at times, been beyond terrifying. Anyone reading this who has had a complication somewhere in their pregnancy will understand the debilitating fear a mother experiences when they’re told their baby is likely not going to make it.
Multiple doctors told us harshly that they wouldn’t make it past 24-26 weeks. I spent 3 weeks in the hospital, I was pumped with loads of meds and steroids to help give them the best chance of development, but even so, every day that went by had a big question mark over it.
We embraced the power of positive thinking and celebrated each day that passed as a win.
It goes without saying that this experience put everything into context for us, and I learnt another valuable lesson: to not sweat the petty.
Being on bed rest meant I couldn’t tidy up before guests came over, I was only allowed to shower twice a week, I missed an entire summer (and summer is my favourite)... but none of this mattered. All that mattered was that our babies were OK.
So in a couple years when they’re smearing finger paint all over our expensive rug, or crushing biscuits between my car seat cushions, I’ll be ready to shrug it off and smile.
4. I’ve learnt to let go of control
The twins’ room (and my room too, for that matter) are upstairs in our home. When I was put on bed rest we converted our lounge into our bedroom, as I wasn’t allowed to climb stairs.
Not having access to the nursery meant that I wasn’t able to ‘nest’ and prepare the space for their arrival. Those classic movie scenes of expectant couples giggling and splatting paint over each other as they paint the baby’s room could not be farther from my reality. Luckily I had a team of helpers (led by my incredible sister Christelle) who put me on video call and did all the preparation for me.
It was hard to not fully take part in these mommy-to-be activities, but allowing my support system to take over and handle things for me showed me that I don’t always need to be in control.
I learnt that I don’t have to do everything myself. And that prepared me for these first few weeks of motherhood, when I am beyond exhausted. I’m accepting help and allowing family to step in. After all, “it takes a village to raise a child” and we have TWO!
5. I’ve learnt to love more than I ever thought I could
Choosing a life partner is undoubtedly the biggest decision a person will make in their lifetime. And, boy, did I pick a good one.
After falling for Meiring’s boyish charm and winning sense of humour back in University, I really thought I knew what love was. It’s that fuzzy feeling you get in your tummy when he kisses you, and getting weak at the knees when he tells you he loves you, right? Wrong! I only realised the true depth of love once our family (the twins) were in jeopardy, and Meiring swept in to do everything he could to get us through.
Meiring has always been an incredible cook and super caring, but he took his male nursing role so seriously, treating me like a queen day in and day out. He has kept me comfortable, happy and safe, squeezing my hand through all our doctors visits and holding me tight through my hormone-infused crying episodes.
He has been by my side through every up and every down, and has not complained once, even though he has been just as scared as I have.
This experience has set us up to handle anything. And knowing that he is tackling this adventure with me makes me feel so calm.
And now that the twinnies have arrived I find myself overwhelmed with the love I feel for them.
After all these months, I finally get to hold them, kiss their warm heads, and wrap their tiny fingers around mine. And I hope that all I’ve learnt in this journey will carry through into motherhood, so that I can be the best mom I can be for our two little bundles of joy.
To all the mothers out there, happy Mother’s Day!
Let me know in the comments whether my story resonated with you. I would love to hear from you.
P.S. Looking for a special Mother’s Day craft to do with your students or kids? Here are two of my faves that you can download for free: