Now and Then

Candice Nolan / Jan 2, 2018

Now and Then


When the clock struck midnight on 1 January 2017, I must have been standing on my left foot. The year didn’t start off well for this first time mommy.

We took baby along to a funeral on New Years Eve. My grandmother’s best friend had passed away that Christmas day. I had to pay my last respects. During the service, baby needed a nappy change and there was a little girl with the sniffles in the change room.

On the second of January, we went to the mall. She was fine that morning. And then, just like that, she got ill. Her loose stool messed her pretty little outfit. And then she wouldn’t (couldn’t) breastfeed.

We thought perhaps her nose was blocked. We tried clearing her airways but to no avail. She was hungry but she just wouldn’t suckle. We decided to take her to hospital, in the hopes that they could quickly clear her airways.

It was just supposed to be a detour, but I let my sister-in-law know that we might not make the baby shower. The ER doctor took one look at her and said, and I will never forget this, “We will have to admit her”

A ringing in my ears. I felt winded. My two month old was being admitted to hospital. This was way more serious than I had thought. We were at a complete loss.

My parents were holidaying overseas. But Nana was there in a flash, with my amazing sister. They were a great source of strength during that time. And my parents and elder sister provided reassurance and advice via skype.

Doctors suspected that she may have picked up a simple cold virus, but because she was so little they needed to monitor her closely. The staff were most helpful and kind. Although I blamed myself (little girl with the sniffles…newborn at a funeral), I was never sanctioned by the medical staff. “These things happen” “You guys did the right thing by bringing her in when you did” etc.

But then word of baby’s hospitalisation reached my monster-in-law in Zimbabwe. 😐 She went on a category four tirade; peppered with I-told-you-so’s with a dollop of “What a bad mother!” and a gulp of “I’m calling child services. You two have no business being parents!”.

Let that sink in.

At our lowest point, when we were both feeling helpless – expecting the worst – and my monster-in-law confirms all my most feared suspicions. I knew there was something wrong with me. I was frightened of my own baby. I didn’t feel maternal at all. I was just going through the motions. I felt inadequate.

The newly birthed mother rejects her MIL venomous barbs with the contempt they deserve. Fortunately, I never responded to her messages. It has taken a full year for me to process it.

I do not have a relationship with my MIL. But she is my daughter’s grandmother and my husband’s mother. For my part, I will not bad mouth her and will go out of my way to encourage dad to take baby and visit his mom whenever she is in town.

But this post is not about my MIL. It’s a celebration of how far we have come – as a family. I am not the same timid new mom of a year ago. The maternal instinct has long since set in.

New challenges lie ahead. Discipline is a priority as our little one year old starts asserting herself. We have each grown individually and also as a family. The newly born mother has also started finding her feet. Life is good. A blessed 2018, one and all.

Cheers.

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