Tobi Oyedele's TTAM

THE TRUTH ABOUT MOTHERHOOD

I have always dreamt of being a Mum, I’m sure like most other females around the world. When I was younger, I used so many things and pretended they were babies; teddies, dolls, pillows, pretty much anything I could draw a face on! I enjoyed holding them, “feeding them” changing their invisible nappies and even went as far putting them on my back and using a wrapper cloth to secure them, as I’ve seen so many Nigerian Mums do. It was bliss! They were very obedient children lol.

Little did I know that my dreams of being a Mum were to become partially true a few years later in secondary school. Yes, that’s right, I became a Mum at the tender age of 15 to a beautiful, lovely female programmed doll! Go on, wipe those brows, what did you think I was gonna say? As part of my coursework in Childcare, I had to look after a baby that obviously wasn’t real but did what real babies do. I was so excited! I named the baby and everything (trust me you don’t wanna know the name). I actually enjoyed the fact that it cried, was certainly a step further from all my DIY babies, I had a whole two weeks with this baby and I really wished it was longer. It was going so well, until the thing just wouldn’t stop crying! I tried to be a good sport and soldier it, after all I was supposedly her Mum, right? I definitely did not make it past day 2…. I cradled and rocked and removed those batteries one time! I concluded that maybe when I was a full-blown adult, Motherhood would be for me. Fast-forward to 8 years later and it was really happening this time, a little earlier than planned, but it was definitely happening! When I had the programmed doll, I kinda missed the whole pregnancy stage, so I didn’t get the chance to panic or feel anything like I felt when I found out I was having a baby for real for real. After getting over the worry and drama (oh there was a lot of drama), I looked so forward to having my baby boy. I then started thinking about everything I wanted to be in a Mother, everything I ever dreamt of. I thought about all the challenges that would come with Motherhood but was convinced the love I had for the baby would make it easy. I was told repeatedly about sleepless nights but even at 23 years of age, I was naïve enough to believe that all those years of church night vigils and staying up late because I thought I was bad, had prepared me for these sleepless nights. The thing about Motherhood is this, nobody ever wants to say out loud the negative thoughts they think in their minds. You don’t think negative thoughts because you’re a bad person or mother, you think these thoughts because nothing and no one prepares you for what you face when you become a Mother. Labour was one thing but those sleepless nights, the breastfeeding, the lack of a social life, the insecurities, all to name a few, were a whole new hurdle to jump and I had a really hard time jumping them! Did the love I had for my boy help make things better? Most definitely, it had to! However, it didn’t stop that flipside of Motherhood from happening. The side nobody wants to talk about, the side nobody really warns you about. There were no batteries this time around, no coursework deadline, no hand over, no returning the teddy back to its corner when you get bored of the game. There is just this little life that is not going anywhere. No matter how you feel, that life comes first always. Motherhood is as amazing as I’ve always imagined it would be, but until I became one, I could never have anticipated just how tough it could get. The truth about Motherhood is this; we cry and wanna give up, we lose sleep, we lose friends, we lose parts of our social life, we lose hair, some lose their sanity and if you’re not careful, you lose yourself. The truth is; it’s not as easy as we think it’s gonna be, it’s not straight forward and it’s not always rosy. Your body changes and if you’re not blessed to have that snapback automatically body, this can lead to insecurities. I’ve even seen Mums who look fab but think otherwise, we begin to see our bodies as the way we feel after the trauma we went through. A lot of people tell me how great I look and though at times after two kids, I tell myself I don’t look too bad, but most of the time I really don’t feel that great! My breasts have sagged from breastfeeding and I’m finding it hard to get rid of this foupa. I have been through my fair share in feeling insecure, still do from time to time. It’s again one of those things I never knew came with the territory. The beauty though is this; you can be at your whits end, on the verge of a breakdown- probably even actually breakdown (I know I did like a billion times), you would have asked yourself “what have I gotten myself into?!”, you will reach a stage where you feel like you don’t have the strength to go on (and this is all before they become teenagers) but, you take one look into those beautiful eyes, your finger gets locked into those tiny precious fingers, your heart beats at the very thought of your little angel and you know. You know that no matter what you’re going through, that little life depends on you and the love that fills your heart, is your cape, your strength, your drive to keep going. Motherhood is a gift and your purpose and it takes you through so many rough moments but is the biggest blessing God can give you. There is beauty in the pain and stress and craziness that we go through, it’s part of the things that make Motherhood. With that said, look after yourself. Your children need you mentally as much as they do emotionally and physically. I can hold up my hands and say I lost myself, I went through phases of depression, anxiety, and just general sadness because although I love my children more than life itself, it takes a lot out of you. You are expected to do so much whilst running on very little sleep, you often don’t have the energy or strength but you have to get it done and somehow, we do. You tend to feel lonely and at times question yourself as a Mum. Believe in yourself always and in the effort, you put in into raising your child/ren. It’s okay to talk about what you’re going through, it’s okay to talk about how you feel. As a matter of fact, it’s important to talk about how you feel. It doesn’t make you a terrible Mum or person, that is the truth. It’s important to have Mummy friends because there are some things your other friends won’t understand. We don’t always get it right but we daily try our best and if we continue to do so, our children will be just fine.

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© 2020 The Motherhood Group, Coordinators of Black Maternal Mental Health Week UK