Being a real mom

Written in collaboration with Baby Dove

It’s after 11 at night, Mark is sleeping and Matthew is a few weeks old. He’s woken up with a poonami and it’s taking all my creative manoeuvres to get it cleaned up. Once cleaned, I put him on the boob to get him to go back to sleep. Next to me, Mark is snoring and I am contemplating how I can get away with smothering him in his sleep. I look down at this marvelous creation in my arms, suckling softly and grasping my finger tightly. I can see he’s not going to sleep soon, he is wide awake. I heave a sigh of frustration because I’m tired, my c-section cut is throbbing and I’m wondering where my pregnancy glow went. All the baby books I’ve read say that I should swaddle him, ensure that he’s warm enough, that he only gets breastmilk and that I shouldn’t offer the bottle too soon or he’ll get nipple confusion. Those same books say that I should let him cry it out if I want him to sleep through the night, no wait, we should co-sleep. No, never do that, you can kill your baby in your sleep, rather keep him in his cot in his own room. But then I’ll never hear him. So that means I must buy all the expensive paraphernalia just so that I can hear if he suddenly stops breathing or pulls the blanket over his head.

This was 7 years ago, when I was a new mom with no idea what I was doing or how I was going to keep my newborn alive. I was scared, in pain and utterly in love with this amazing creature that God entrusted to me. While I was pregnant, I was given so much conflicting advice from well-meaning aunts, friends, colleagues and the random grandma at the store, that I didn’t know what was what. Then all those books I read made me even more confused and I was clueless. One day, I received the only advice I needed to hear, to trust my instincts because only I knew my baby. I can listen to the advice of all those well-meaning people around me and just use what I need.

Us moms are bombarded with information and advice daily. If it isn’t an aunt, or some stranger in the shopping centre, then it’s Google and all those online articles that we somehow subscribed to. After 3 pregnancies and 3 children, I’ve learnt that the only thing I need is to listen to my baby and trust my gut. I’m the only one who knows what that cry means. I’m the only one that knows when my son falls, all he needs is a little hug and the permission to try it again. I’m the only one that knows exactly when my baby is sick, before the thermometer even confirms it. This is why I love the Baby Dove concept of being a Real Mom. Of trusting your own way of being a mom. That there is no such thing as a perfect mom, only a real one.

This campaign has made me reflect on my 7 years of being a mom. How overwhelmed I was in the beginning. How I wouldn’t trust myself to know what’s right for me or my baby. All those baby books and advice would never make me a perfect mom, I just needed to be a real mom. Remember, when it comes to your child, you know best, so #TrustYourWay.

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