I spent a good chunk of time at Thula Baby Clinic, in Mouille Point when I first became a Mom. I needed a lot of help trying to breastfeed and the support I received there was lovely. One time I went, I arrived sore, exhausted, in a dirty tracksuit with dirty hair to match and feeling very sorry for myself. It had been a rough night and when the women there saw me, they coddled around me and my tiny baby, like Mother Hens. One made me tea, the other gave me a hug, which induced more tears and instead of feeling embarrassed for being so vulnerably raw, it felt good to feel that I was in a space I was able to just be.
Last week I walked into Thula Baby Clinic to say hello and collect something. I had my 10 month old on my hip, who was being extra adorable that day. My hair was freshly washed and I was in clothes that had no food or baby drool on it. I appreciate these days.
Another woman walked in and I recognised her instantly… not in who she actually was, but I recognised me from a few months ago – coming in looking disheveled and exhausted. The first thing she said to me, was: “Oh, you look so well put together!”
I just smiled and asked her how old her baby was.
She tried to manage a smile and said: “5 weeks old.”
“Ah, you see, my baby is now 10 months old and it’s only now that I feel a little put together.”
She burst into tears and I instantly hugged this stranger. I wanted to cry with her because I have never empathised more with someone, than in that moment right there.
I get it.
I get how hard it is and how wonderful it is, and how scary it is and how magic it is, all the contrasting emotions in one.
It was that moment that reminded me of how Motherhood can feel so isolating and scary, even though you’re not alone. You don’t want to say it’s hard, because then you’re seen as complaining. You don’t want to be seen as incompetent and definitely not as ungrateful.
When I was approached by Embrace and they told me about the work they do, my heart jumped at this. This is what they had to say:
This is the 3rd year that the Mother’s Day Connect Campaign is running and it is an amazing initiative by a non-profit organisation called Embrace.
We want to encourage women to sign up and participate – to donate 1-hour of their day on 13 May and spend it with a new mom at their local government hospital’s maternity ward. To spend it with a mom that might feel scared, alone, isolated…. to just be there in unity and support. To celebrate a new mom and give her a little bit of your Mother’s Day.
Last year we visited 27 hospitals and midwife obstetric units in 6 cities around the country. We led teams of over 400 incredible women to celebrate 1530 mothers and their brand new babies.
Originally they asked if I could just spread the word about what they’re doing, but I have decided that I want to do more than just a social media drive. I’m signing up to dedicate an hour to one of the local hospitals and be there for these women who just need some kindness and support.
If this is something that speaks to you to, then why not rally your moms, sisters, friends and colleagues and sign up at http://www.embrace.org.za/campaigns/mothers-day-connect/ (you must sign up in order to participate as this is a safety requirement with the hospitals.) This is happening nationwide, so you’ll definitely be able to find a government hospital near you.