Warriors of Motherhood, Written by Caitlin Koch (warriorsofmotherhood.co.za)
I have been thinking about this one for a while and I am going to be brave about writing it. I’m going to put some sensitive things up today. So grab your warrior shield, sharpen that spear and maybe have a box of tissues close because I know I’m going to cry writing this.
First off, falling pregnant, pregnancy, birth and recovery from birth were all very easy for me. I was very blessed that I didn’t suffer from any issues. Very blessed. That possibly doesn’t even cover it because there are so many issues for some many couples around these topics. And I say couples. Yes, a lot of it (not always though) is to do with the female body but your men suffer just as much beside you. They might not understand this need you have to be a mother and bear children, but looking at you in pain and suffering is hard on them too.
Andrew and I went on this amazing Eurotrip in Dec 2013 and we decided on that trip, the next year would be the year to fall pregnant. I went off the pill in beg of March and by April, we were telling our family Christmas might be hectic because David was due on the 24th December (Christmas turned out to be an anti-climax because my son and niece decided they weren’t ready yet!). Before I went off the pill, I went to see our family GP and said right, I want to have a baby. Blood tests, weight checks, full body check out was in order. And we found out I have an underactive thyroid. Now the thyroid is super important in pregnancy because what happens is in the first 12 weeks, your thyroid is producing all the hormones you need to sustain the baby. And then at 12 weeks, your baby’s thyroid has grown big enough that it takes over this job. This is why miscarriage at 12 weeks is common because your thyroid has been providing the hormones and then the baby’s thyroid is not ready to take over so the hormone level drops. I had to be medicated my whole pregnancy and now for the rest of my life too. I had a lot of blood tests during my first and second pregnancy to monitor my thyroid and adjusted medication as needed.
I loved being pregnant. I wasn’t sick. I felt energised and it just worked with me. In terms of having a baby, in our group of friends, Andrew and I were up there with the first pioneers going forth into the unknown so I wasn’t really aware of how often miscarriages and the loss people were experiencing happened. As time carried on, it became more and more apparent to me what a rare case I was. And I started to feel bad. And it’s not saying that I don’t want people to talk about it. I really do. The more we share with each other, the more we understand, the more help, support and love we can offer each other. But I felt bad because I felt like I hadn’t truly realised the situation I was in and was I nurturing my little soul in my belly enough? And then I stopped myself. Just because I didn’t suffer does not mean that my baby isn’t a miracle. Of course it’s a miracle. Every single child on this planet is a miracle. Every person is a miracle. Whether they were conceived naturally, under the full moon, whether they were created in a sterile clinic environment, or whether a mom just needed an extra boost of meds to help her get her body as ready as it could possibly be to carry this miracle for 9 months. Every single being is a miracle and we need to cherish that.
Once I had gotten over this feeling, I started going for reflexology. Do not do this in your first 3 months of pregnancy. It is not advised. I loved going, it was my one afternoon a month where I could just kick back, get my feet rubbed and I felt like I was really gelling with David. I felt like we were in sync and all was going to be ok as long as we had each other.
Robert on the other hand is another story. David was about a year and a half and my hubby and I decided that it was maybe time to start trying again. And you hear of people battling with their second child sometimes. Not here. Andrew and I basically looked at each other with mating eyes and I was pregnant. I was pregnant again. I had just got my body back from being pregnant, breastfeeding for 8 months, and now I was doing it again. I went to the doctor again earlier in that year to discuss the second pregnancy and to do my blood checks. I needed to lose more weight before I fell pregnant with my second. I hadn’t lost the weight I wanted to and I was pregnant. I felt like it had happened too soon. I wasn’t going to have enough time with David. What was going to happen with work? And I have never told anyone how I was really feeling because I know what a miracle children are. I know countless women who have suffered miscarriages. I know women who have had to be medicated to ovulate. I know women who have had to go IVF and down that path. I know women who are trying to fall pregnant and it’s still not happened. And know that I think you women are so brave. Being a mother is hard but I can’t even imagine the pain and loss that one would feel losing that. My boys are my life. Or not being able to experience becoming a mother and this was your ultimate dream. YOU WOMEN ARE WARRIORS. You go out and are happy at every birth announcement that isn’t your own. You go to every baby shower with a gift in hand and smile on your face. And that must be outrageously hard. You are walking your own path but please, look left, look right, we are all beside one another in this sisterhood. We need to be there to support each other. Motherhood or not. Being a mother doesn’t make you better than anyone else. It might make you more tired but it does not give us a podium to stand on and receive accolades or complain that your life is hard because your child won’t sleep in their own bed. Everyone’s life is hard. Those who choose to have children. Those who try and can’t have children and those who choose not to have children. How you deal with hardship in your life and the attitude you face it with is what guides your path to happiness or sorrow. It is all within your control.
And here I was, upset because it had happened too soon in my head – here I chose to walk a path of sadness alone and it was lonely. I called up my reflexology lady and she had retired so I asked my sister if she knew anyone. She had spoken about Colleen a bit before and said I should maybe try her as she knows that Colleen has treated pregnant women before.
I arrived at Colleen’s (late – it’s a Koch thing) and rushed in there. I thought I had a smile on my face but Colleen got me to lie down on the bed and promptly said ‘You pissed off about being pregnant’. I looked at her in shock and said Um no I’m not, I’m very happy about it. She laughed and told me my body is saying something else. And so it unravelled. And as Colleen massage my body and listened, I let go of my fears, my worries, my anger. I said the things I hadn’t said to anyone because how can I be thinking these things when the world is such an unfair place and children are miracles. Afterwards, she told me its ok that I’m pissed off but we going to change that now and you are going to get in sync with that little soul inside of you. I walked away feeling lighter and brighter than I had in a long time. And for the first time, I felt happy about being pregnant. I started to imagine my little family of 4. I went to Colleen for the rest of my pregnancy once a month. And I still go. She resets me. Aligns my spirit with my true self and picks me up. Colleen used to run an office for Tracker in Cape Town and she turned her whole life around to find a place where she was happy. She’s lived in India(ask her about her time there, amazing stories), she does reiki, sports massage, repair massage – I like to call this soul repair and she lives in this gorgeous little cottage with husband in the Karkloof. She beats her own Warrior drum and marches to her own beat. She is a Warrior of Healing. She writes wonderfully and you can find her blog here
I had Robert on the 3rd March this year and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My life is not perfect but I feel like its damn near close to my perception of perfection. My miracles are both perfect to me. I sometimes look back and wonder what if I didn’t go to Colleen? Would Robert have turned out like he did? How would I have been as a mother to two children? I don’t know. There are a lot of sceptics in this world and you must believe in your own truth because it is you who lives in that world. My own husband is a sceptic. But I still go to Colleen. At the end of the day, I leave there feeling better and no one can take that away from me.
In support of my blog, Colleen has very kindly offered the following:
Lucky Draw for Articles submitted to The Warriors of Motherhood blog
Free Reiki and Counselling session valued at R600
I’ll give you 2 weeks to submit your articles to me and do a draw at the end of the month
Email your articles to email@example.com