New mama Lea shares the challenges, surprises and tender moments of motherhood.
Tell us about your family.
I met my husband many moons ago in Heroldsbay, I was 15 at the time and he was 18. We started dating thereafter and 13 years later we got married. (What a patient lady I am ?) Both of us studied at the University of Stellenbosch and we now live in Johannesburg with our two awesome daschund babies and our 3 month old baby boy, Lehan.
How did giving birth differ from what you expected?
There are many different opinions regarding childbirth and what to expect. I had an open mind about a birth plan and considered all the options, but in the end the choice was made for us. Lehan was a frank breach baby and a caesarean section is the safest route for mom and baby in cases like these . I believe that google can be your friend and your enemy, so I tried my hardest not to drive myself crazy with expectations. My birth experience was so relaxing, in the theatre they had a small radio with old tunes playing- everybody was making jokes and before I knew it Lehan was placed on my chest. What an amazing feeling. (I can strongly recommend a gentle or natural C-section, if you choose to go that route – google it). I was scared at first because I thought that I might have given birth to a Smurf (babies being blueish and all) but his first cry was a special one. He weighed 3.6kg at birth and was born very strong, handsome and intelligent!
What was the first thing you did when you got home from the hospital?
The first thing we did when we got home was to introduce Lehan to our two other kids… Luca and T- Bone. (My hubby gave him the name T-bone of course, a fitting name for the big scary dog that he is!) Apart from Lehan they are our two favourite creatures in the world. They are very protective of Lehan… No-one dare come near him before first getting their approval.
What excites you most about being a mother?
You come home with a bundle of joy that’s a “blank canvas”… everything he knows and will know is something that you will teach him. It’s the small things in life that start to matter- the first smile, the first finger grab, the first sounds he makes- that excited me as I know there are still many great things to come.
What has been the hardest thing about being a new mother?
You are not responsible for only yourself anymore… Things need planning and I am not much of a planner. We can’t just pack up and go to Mozambique for a week on the spur of the moment like we used to. This is something we can live with – that being said, the fact is that once you become a mother you will never ever have a single moment where you don’t worry about him. Not now and not 20 years from now. For the first time in my live I understand what my parents must have gone through when I was at University. I’m probably crazy for worrying about this already, but this, and a million other new worries, are probably the hardest thing that any new mom has to deal with.
What was the best mothering advice you received?
“Relaxed mother, relaxed baby”. I do believe Lehan is an “easy” baby because Francois and myself are not making a huge fuss about the big scary word (parents). We still try to live a “normal” life- going for dinner with friends, braais over weekends, weddings, weekend getaways etc.
What don’t people tell you before having a baby?
Nobody can fully prepare you for this. All the advice in the world can never prepare you for this.
People don’t tell you:
1. It will take you at least five hours to watch a movie at home.
2. You will rush through all of your meals as if you were in an eating contest.
3. Porridge brain lasts longer than just your pregnancy
What has changed most since Lehan was born?
No more random afternoon naps (especially the famous Sunday afternoon naps)! Those will be dearly missed.
What makes you most nervous about raising a boy?
The fact that you have to let them be boys… Climbing trees, being adventurous and curious, all the dangerous stuff boys love doing. A friend of mine once sent me this quote that said: “Mothers of boys work from ‘son’ up till ‘son’ down”- which I believe to be true!
Do you have any mother role models?
Not really. Every friend I know who’s a mother is trying to keep sane in their own way… I get my inspiration from my mother whom I think did a great job raising a difficult child like me. Ha! I think each mom has their own advice and some things work for one and don’t for others.
Favourite baby product: Bepanthan
What can you not leave the house without: a pacifier (and Lehan of course)
Favourite family outing: taking the dogs for their walk along the river.
Favourite website: I have so many, there are a million awesome baby websites these days!
Favourite pampering treat for yourself: a pillow ?and a glass of wine!