Monthly Archives: February 2012

Hibiscus memories . . .

My Ouma had the best garden in her street. People used to come ‘shop’in her garden for weddings, 21st’s and other functions where blums were needed.

My favourite spot in her garden was under the row of hibiscus trees. She had a red one, yellow one and two pink ones. I used to spend hours daydreaming under those trees. And when her beloved German Shepherd wanted time out from everyone else, he would join me.

I love hibiscus trees and flowers. Ouma used to pick a dropped flower and stick it in my hair or behind my ear depending on the length of the stem. She used to call me Ouma se blompot.

Whenever I see a hibiscus tree or flower all those lovely memories of my childhood come rushing back.

We’ve been househunting since November last year and I just couldn’t find anything that ‘spoke’ to me.

I’ve always liked Muizenberg. I went to school there, I rediscovered my childhood there and it was the first time after Mom and Ouma died that I was allowed to be a child again. Dad had remarried and we were finally settling down as a family. I could be a kid again and not be co-parent to my younger siblings. It was glorious! Some of my best memories were made there.

So I found myself drawn more to that side of the world as we were househunting. The second place we went to look at had two hibiscus trees in the back garden. A pink one and a red one. And the neighbours have a yellow one.

That was that for me. My sign that I should live there.

Oh and the house? It is beautiful. A duplex in a small security complex. High walls. Electric fencing and most importantly… 2,5 bathrooms! So no more wet toiletseats and floors for me! The boys can have their loo’s and I will have mine.

Yay us.

An ode to C-section mommies.

I know this is a recurring theme here on the blogs, mommies who feel cheated, worth less, like failures, etc because they HAD TO HAVE a C-section instead of the beautiful birth they planned. I’m one of them and this cured me a bit. I can’t promise that the C-section monster won’t pop up again but if she does, I will re-read this.

If I were a DJ, I would be shouting “This one is for the c-section mommies!” And then all the moms who have had cesareans would cheer “Wooooooo!” We need that. Women who have had c-sections for reasons beyond their control need to feel the love that moms who got to have the natural birth they wanted are allowed to feel. Moms who have had c-sections need and deserve respect and love for the way they birthed. We need to honor all ways of birth, even the ones that didn’t go as we planned. Because it is still the way some children are brought into our lives. Hear me out. This isn’t about being pro-cesarean. This is about being pro-mom.

You see, some people seem to think there are two kinds of moms — those who have c-sections and those who do not. This ‘battle’ divides us, and makes one side feel like a mother who didn’t do the right thing.

I had a c-section. I didn’t schedule it so I could preserve my vagina, nor did I pick the date because it was convenient. It was necessary and needed. And I really shouldn’t have to explain more than that because well, do we go into detail on how there was sexy lingerie, lots of foreplay, and a glass of wine involved in the conception of your baby? No. Birth is (to some) a private and deeply emotional event in a woman’s life. Being judged for having a c-section without knowing the details is … well … wrong. Many moms like me had to have a c-section in order to be a mother. It’s as simple as that. Life or death. A choice that has to be made quickly given the circumstance. Many times the moms who had an emergency c-section or are still having a difficult time processing their birth or were made to believe they needed one despite their parental instincts are the ones who are often silent, and who are silently hurt. This love letter, this awareness I hope to instill in people, this is for you.

We are still mothers. We just had our babies through what I like to call a little kangaroo kind of pouch.

There may always be questions. Should I have trusted the doctors? Did I do all I could have? And that’s okay. C-section moms bear the scar where our babies were born, and we shouldn’t continue to be hurt by the insensitive words that many say without realizing that not all c-sections are frivolous choices. We love our babies just as much. Some of us are just as “crunchy” as homebirthers, we are attachment parents, we love our children and have amazing bonds with them.

Our vulnerability comes from feeling unsupported, and words hurt. I fear that some of my own articles on the topic could have even hurt women just like me, but I have always tried to choose my words carefully. I am a natural birth advocate, but am a c-section mommy. I can be both. I am proudly both. It’s true that when you have pain or deep hurt because of something, sometimes anything on the topic is tough to read. You feel defensive; you feel the words are directed at you as if you did something wrong. Any woman (or man) who has been through something difficult can relate to that. And the subject of birth or how we birth is the same, perhaps even more challenging to process and work through. This is why we need even more compassion and understanding, These battles that are created — the c-section moms versus everyone else — should stop. Generalizing this isn’t helpful for women to process they way they birthed if it didn’t go according to plan.

Not everything in life goes according to plan.

One of my friends told me that her c-section was the best and worst experience of her life. And that’s exactly it for me. It was the best because it enabled me to have my twins healthy after being diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, and the worst because it was frightening and not the way I wanted to birth. It took a long time, but I have come to terms with the way I birthed.

Sometimes the opposite of what we think is best … is what is really best. Just like how this mom wanted to exclusively breastfeed but found that supplementing with formula helped save her from going into a depression and helped her baby thrive. We cannot judge unless we know the full and complete story, every angle, all the background, and I realize that’s not really something we could ever completely know. I don’t want the c-section rates to rise because I do want women to have the births they want to have. But I also don’t want the women whose births were difficult and resulted in surgery to be made to feel like they did something wrong.

Maybe we can all be a little more kind in the words we choose, remembering those who are challenged with the very topic being discussed. Remembering that many women have guilt or sadness because they absolutely had to have a c-section. I know how hard the recovery is even a year or two after. But we deserve to find peace in the way we had our children. Our path to motherhood may not be the same, but it’s our path, something we need to find the beauty in, because all moms deserve that. You deserve that.

This was written by Michele Zipp – http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby/131563/a_love_letter_to_csection

Why I’ll never be rich

I had a really hectic dream last night: Heard a noise in the house, realised an intruder was there, fought with intruder, got gun off him, choked him with all my might while DH tried to find rope to tie him up, then woke up an couldn’t sleep further.

While laying awake, my mind turned to money matters (as it is wont to do at that time of the morning!).

I tried to figure out why I still have to worry about money at my age. In my head, I should be very comfortable financially by now. I should be close to retirement, dammit. Not still working for a salary. Anyhoo, seeing as that pipedream is going to stay in my head, I have to devise plans to hold on to my money for longer and also spend less.

Besides the obvious spending too much and earning less than I spend… I realised I need to be more assertive when it comes to people who owe me money.

I tend to be the one in the group (read family and acquaintances – not close friends) who pays for someone who don’t have money right now, or forgot their wallet, or haven’t drawn cash yet.

Now most people will remember this and pay you back, right? Not in my life.

I also tend to be the one to get wood, charcoal, ice, snacks, blah for everyone because we’ve found a bargain, we’re early, we have less places to go to. And I usually call to say I’m here can we get you as well and the answer is always a resounding yes.

Most people will pay you back once you tell them you got ice/wood/wine/snacks or whatever for the group as it was reasonably priced or you knew they were going to be late if they also had to get it, right? Not in my life.

And because I don’t want to nag for what is owed to me, I let it go. Stoopid, right?

And my absolute fave is going to a party or hosting one where you bring your good wine and everyone drinks and parties and at the end of the night you are left with none of the good wine and someone else’s plonk. Now if you’re going to bring plonk, why don’t you drink it? For why you drink my good wine? Aaargh!

I have some friends who are trustfund babies or who are way more comfortable financially and they have no problem with letting you know that you owe them R1,50 or R150 whatever it may be.

Until I can be like those friends of mine… I will never be rich. Not even winning the Lotto would help me.

Am I the only poor sucker?

PS: I have decided to become as miserly as old scrooge himself. Reading this again has cured me from my stupidity.

Mama, you are a hard mama.

 

This is what I was told while I was bathing Thomas (4) last night. We were in that delicate stage where you’ve both had a long day, tired, hot and you’re just about able to do the friendly and civil “Please lift your arm/ lift your leg, open your legs, bend your neck forward/backward” that goes with bathing a toddler.

 

Big Tom: Mama, you are a hard mama.
Me: What do you mean? Why am I hard? Where am I hard?
Big Tom: You are hard like dots. (Here he was referring to the join the dots exercises he struggles with.)
Me: You mean difficult?
Big Tom: Yes. You’re difficult.
Me: Okay Thomas, I’m sorry you think so but I don’t think I am.
Big Tom: Yes you are.

 

Cue gasps of horror from me as I run to the lounge and try to tell DH what just happened in our bathroom.

 

Once bath time was over and bedtime stories had been read and peace once again reigned, I was able to reflect about this conversation.

 

Thomas is an only child. A well-behaved one at that (naturally). Well when he is alone and when he is with other well-behaved kids.

 

Enter the two boy cousins he has. They’re boys. They’re older and are always up to mischief. Thomas adores them because he longs for a sibling. When he is with them, he copies their every move. Much to my dismay.

 

I reprimand him. They don’t get reprimanded. They get away with being unruly and having no manners. Thomas doesn’t.

 

We spent this past weekend with one of them. Lots of reprimanding happened (only from me and mostly aimed at Thomas (because I have no right to reprimand someone else’s kid, right?). Not fair on us. Not fair on Thomas.

 

Short of never going to or with these cousins, there’s not much I can do. Limit contact with them? Adopt a big brother (with good manners) for Thomas?

 

PS: The rookie parent in me wanted to of course tackle the parents but even a rookie knows when she’s outnumbered.

 

PPS: If there are any veteran parents out there who knows the right way to tackle this, please to let me know.

 

Getaway weekends

Thomas has just turned four and until last year September, we were terrified of taking ‘the baby’ on weekends away. Because so much can go wrong and all his doctors and the hospitals are here in town.

What if ‘the baby’ needs urgent medical attention and we don’t get back to town in time? Also the baby had so much paraphernalia to drag along, we didn’t know what to take and what to leave.

A good friend of mine is always off on a weekend and has always tried to drag us along and we of course always used the ‘the baby’ excuse. And everytime she came back and showed us the pic, we were green with envy.

Last year in September she finally told us to get a grip because ‘the baby’ was 3,5 yrs old and no longer needed to be wrapped in cotton. We went and boy did we have fun, especially ‘the baby’.

We’ve been on a few other getaways and been loving it.

This weekend we went back to our first getaway place and took DH’s family along. It was great fun for us, not so sure if our guests liked it, but different strokes for different folks, eh?