We received a set of beautiful written pieces from young mum, Sameera Bhayat, about her motherhood journey from coming to terms with her new role as a mum to her daughter’s first birthday. It’s a lovely, heartwarming read that resonates with any mother out there. This is the first part of her story.
This was the first piece I wrote following birth. It took me four months to be able to write or discuss anything about my journey to and after have a baby. Dealing with postpartum affects was something I did not expect, and my prior knowledge of it let me down. It also reflected how it felt to embrace the title of ‘mother’, as I couldn’t quite accept it for a long while.
Ten days after I gave birth to our first child, I returned home after staying with my mother. My husband described the moment I left her house as if ‘[my] own umbilical cord was cut’. Striking words with a true basis.
In the short span of two and a half years, I got married, purchased a home, and had a baby. Cradling my child I realise now more than ever, I am so far from who I used to be, but in some aspects I have silhouettes of my former self. What started to define me? I am now a mother.
Throughout my life – the childhood years, the troublesome teenage years and the early 20s ‘I think I’m Miss Independent’ years, I never really considered what the true meaning of parenthood was, or more importantly, motherhood. I believed I knew it all. I disregarded advice as I grew up. Argued until I had the last word. Walked with unnecessary overconfidence. Believed the world owed me. Held on to every little thing. Compensating externally for all my internal fears.
I never really considered what the true meaning of parenthood was, or more importantly, motherhood
As life pressed the fast forward button, years flew by. Past the adventure. Past the occasions. Right to one key moment. A baby being placed on my chest. I was handed purity in a world of turmoil. I was handed innocence in a world of corruption. I was handed life to nurture and raise.
A beautifully terrifying amanah.
Twenty-four hours later and the adrenaline wore off. The physical aches crept their way throughout my body. The mental exhaustion sent smoke through my head. The emotional knots unravelled themselves within me so fast, with an intensity that I have never experienced in my life. Suddenly I ‘felt’ everything. Tears rolled down my cheeks. Raindrops on the face of my new baby. A continuous flow representing what I could no longer keep within. Pure vulnerability.
Every regret I ever had ran to me. Every piece of guilt I ever had choked me.
With the birth of my baby, was I reborn too?
Nothing can prepare you for the hardships that come with becoming a mother. You take another glance of every woman who is a mother, whether it be by virtue of pregnancy, adoption, foster care – anything. Billions of strangers I have never and will never meet. The respect held and maintained for them is something I had never had before. My heart bled for anyone making the motherhood journey alone. For every baby that is not given love and care. I felt guilty for having all the facilities I could ever need to give birth to my baby when millions don’t.
And that’s when it struck me. My own mother.
Why did it take so long for me to see her in the purest of light? To recognise the tremendous status of a Mother that my faith tells me to respect? The role of a woman who continued her role as a Mother with pride, adopting the role of a Father despite navigating her grieving heart.
A mother’s love matches the purity of the newborn baby. It is untainted and shines light and warmth. To any woman who has never had the opportunity to give that love, I beg you share it with anyone you can and make them smile. To any child who never received such love, I pray from the bottom of my heart that one day you do in whichever form it is gifted in.
Nothing can prepare you for the hardships that come with becoming a mother.
When I returned home I had to recognise the reality: I am now the Mother. The beautiful marble eyes of my precious baby gazed at me whilst she fed. And when I looked down with my weary eyes I remembered that my child lived happily within me for nine precious months. Kept safe and warm. Every desire fulfilled. Coming from a world closest to God and all things perfect. My baby made the arduous journey of navigating into the world, to be then wrapped in a towel with nothing but a cry from her delicate lungs to speak to me.
My lifelong commitment was born three and a half months ago. How incredible to watch you grow so far. To watch you learn new things. I wish I could keep you tiny forever. Your innocence and helplessness is mysteriously endearing and connects with a part of me I never knew existed. No matter where life directs me, and no matter what I may encounter, being a Mother will be forever who I am.