To Have Children or Not …

“Don’t have kids. Just. Don’t. Do. It.” That’s my standard line to my friends, they also know how serious I am when I say it. What very few mothers, actually parents, do not openly tell people is just how difficult it is to be a parent, especially a mother. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my children – I often worry that I maybe love them too much and I’m obsessed with being around them, but uwoah they are A LOT! Nobody must ever lie.

Raising children is not just money and Instagram posts whilst wearing matching outfits, it is much, much more than that. It is an all-encompassing, all giving, an often thankless role that we take on. It’s financial, it’s emotional, it’s physical, it’s mental – it is everything. A parent literally pours out every single ounce of themselves to raise a child, it’s a lifelong commitment – I see it with my grandmother who literally still worries about my mom and aunt who are well over 50!

I often encourage new moms, or moms to be that women are not born as mothers, it is not a default setting that is genetically built into women. Mothers are also born, on the very day their child is born, so are they – part of the journey is learning how to be a mother, in the same way, the child will learn to sit, and walk and eat, it is lifelong learning. Being a mother is an incredibly fulfilling thing, but in order to attain that fulfillment, you go through the ultimate, the literal very most. I find that socially, not many women share their challenges, especially about Post Natal Depression, we are not sharing openly enough about the days when the very things that you would give your last breath to genuinely annoy you and you just want to walk away and come back later – or in some instances never. There have been some instances where mothers have left their children and never gone back. These are the things that older women do not openly share, we see our mothers and grandmothers and think that they made it work, often seemingly effortlessly, therefore we can make it work too. It is only when you are older and a mother yourself that you realize what they went through, and maybe they had it tougher because of little to no knowledge and most of all, societal expectations to run a home and raise many children whilst the husband is away making the money to bring home the bacon.

Another thing I often tell women (and in recent times men as well) is that one of the most important decisions of your life is choosing the person you are going to make children with. This is the person who will be in your life forever, hey man you’ll be co-ancestors to your lineage together! Many have come back and said that the signs of dodgy, deadbeat guys are not there during the romantic times pre-kids. I sincerely beg to differ, but that’s another story for another day. The partner that you choose to procreate with is the person that has the ability to help you on the days when it becomes too much – be it taking the kids out the house just for a few hours, or taking care of the children’s financial needs to even being there to encourage and offer support when you feel like you’re not doing well.

Look, parenting is not for the faint-hearted and mothering requires you to literally have a heart of steel, but even through all the trying times that nobody tells you about, there is pure joy in raising children. There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing for sure that you are adored – children love every single part of you and in all honesty, they appreciate your efforts. That being said, when deciding to have children, be very very sure that it’s what both you and your partner want and are able to manage. I am in no way saying stay in an unhappy union, because of children, but be there for each other. Gents, the woman raising your children is an absolute queen and gents that are active, present fathers, continue to do that and encourage your brothers to do the same.

Writer: Palesa Motau

  • Palama
    17th Jan 2018

    LMAO @co-ancestors.

    Lou. You keep churning burning issues I tell you. There is a saying loosely translated ‘the child belongs to the mother’ and now I understand it very well as an adult based on my own experiences,through my friends and people I know.

    I totally agree,women are not born mothers and I know that I am not a nurturing mom and weird cos my mum is very nurturing. I used to take such offense when people around me would say this until I did those online tests and even pinned it to my zodiac sign. This explained what sort of mother I am,I am about independence,expression,solutions and engaging children as my equal.

    I love my champ with all my heart but I make a conscious effort to be more affectionate towards him and not treat him like an adult when he still just a toddler. I am that mum that chills a few seconds to see what the child does before rushing to their aid,I expect them to say exactly what’s wrong instead of crying ? so I have to ‘train’ myself to be softer.

    A thousand gold stars on the forehead to present,active,emotionally and financially available Dzaddies.

    • George Matsheke
      17th Jan 2018

      I really thought about it for a minute, another thing is that its also a stage one also wants to explore specially after your 30’s. Very insightful article …

    • Pasi
      18th Jan 2018

      “There is a saying loosely translated ‘the child belongs to the mother’ and now I understand it very well as an adult based on my own experiences,through my friends and people I know.”

      Do you think we’ll ever get to a point where man feel what women feel about parenthood? I feel like they have it easy.

  • Pasi
    18th Jan 2018

    Great post, reminds me of a tweet I read from Mel Bala..We never talk about the other side of motherhood, but this is just what we need to talk about.

    I always say I am not ready for kids because I can almost feel it that I am NOT READY at all, and I always have people telling me that you never ready you must just do it. But how do I bring kids into this world because I must just do it??? I have seen how my mother loves us and it is so scary how she always puts us first and worry even in our old age and I just cant picture myself being that woman.It sometimes scares me a bit that I dont feel like I want kids.

    I have pushed having kids into my 30’s, I just hope that by then I will be ready..

  • MindyLahiri
    18th Jan 2018

    Preach!!! After having my son i made it my own personal duty to give as much insight to my experience to my friends as i possible can. Motherhood is HARD WORK! There’s tired, and then there’s mommy tired….. NINGAMITHI!!

  • Dumazile GN Ngwenya
    18th Jan 2018

    This article is absolutely everything.
    The uncomfortable truths people hardly share.

    How insightful!

  • Sivu
    22nd Jan 2018

    This article reminds me of a line from the book (and movie) Eat, Pray, Love. Liz’ friend said to her, “Liz, having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You kinda wanna be fully committed!”

    There are so many things that women don’t talk about, post having babies. The transition. The physical, psychological and emotional changes. I’ve seen it with the women in my life and I’m positive I’m not ready. Also, I’m scared to become a mom like my mom. Don’t get me wrong, she loves us and has made sacrifices for us. But I know each sacrifice because she’d remind me. And also, I have noticed that in black households the boy child is worshiped. My late brother (may his soul rest in peace) was the apple of my parents’ eyes and the rest just feel like consolation prizes; I think it’s worse if he’s a first born AND only boy!

    Anyway, I’m sure we will do better than our parents or maybe we will parent better. But I’m just not ready. This article is the pots!! 🙂

  • Nkateko
    12th Mar 2019

    I always come back to this post whenever motherhood overwhelms me.
    It’s a remainder that I’m not alone.

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