What does parenthood mean to you?
To me, parenthood means having the responsibility to take care of a child/children in all aspects. Be it emotionally, physically, financially and everything in between.
What went through your mind the very first time you confirmed you were going to be a parent?
I had prayed about it for like 2 years, so it was literally an answered prayer. The day I found out I was pregnant, we drove around Ntinda area looking for the digital pregnancy tests. Prior to this, my period was late, but I don’t have a regular period pattern so I was honestly waiting in the hopes that they would eventually start.
We looked for the digital tests because the cheap ones which work like litmus paper were either showing a very blurred second line or just one line. We wanted to confirm before rushing for the blood test. We finally bought one from a pharmacy in Bukoto. I took the test the following day around 5am. I failed to sleep so I went to the bathroom and lo and behold, it was positive. I was so happy. I had that feeling you get when you see your results slip in University and you not only passed all papers but you passed highly. I woke my then boyfriend up and told him the news. I remember us sitting and agreeing that we wanted this and were going to keep it.
How did you prepare for this journey physically, mentally, and emotionally?
I was not prepared. I knew I wanted to start a family and that’s all I was praying for. After we did the blood test, we agreed to tell our siblings first. He called his sisters first and they were so happy for us. They congratulated us and were happy that we decided to keep the baby.
I sent my sister and best friend WhatsApp messages because I didn’t even know how to start the phone conversation. My best friend was already a mom so she knew I was expecting. She kept commenting on the size of my boobs. They were both excited for me, and promised to be there for me through it all.
I was scared honestly, all the things I had not thought about like having to get a house help, school fees and all that started going through my mind. The thought of gaining weight and the body changes too. It was scary.
What is the one moment that stands out for you from before or after having your child?
Before having my child, I remember having this elaborate plan to vlog my pregnancy journey. I wanted to vlog the start to the finish of my pregnancy, up until I had my baby. I had even recorded one video, written a sketch of what exactly I would share. The one video I recorded is currently somewhere in my Google photos - I have never uploaded it.
Unfortunately, I fell sick for about a month or so and I never got to vlogging till I was about 8 months pregnant. I was diagnosed with gall stones and they were as a result of the pregnancy. I was so sad when I got sick, and blamed it on my unborn baby. I remember the doctor saying I needed surgery but I couldn’t have it because the baby would be at risk. I had to endure excruciating pain in my tummy for over 3 weeks, rushing in and out of hospitals after curfew time. I went to over 4 different hospitals before we eventually found a doctor who diagnosed me.
I was surrounded by so much love in this period. It was such a terrible time but thankfully husband and sister were there for me through the tears and the doctors’ visits. My husband’s family was there for me, plus my parents, and my friends.
After having my child, he was a very calm baby, had a very big appetite, loved people and barely gave me any trouble. I told myself it was my reward from God for enduring my hectic pregnancy.
How has it changed the way you view mothers or motherhood?
I now know that motherhood is something that is learnt on the job. No matter how many books you read, websites you Google or moms you talk to, nothing prepares you for the rollercoaster.
Motherhood for every mom is unique & there isn’t one source of information which will answer all your questions. It is a never-ending process of learning. Every human being goes through different stages of growth and during that growth, your mom is right there to guide you and try her best to teach you to be the best person possible.
I have learnt that motherhood means you will have more cases of feeling guilty - guilty that you haven’t spent enough time with your child, guilty that you aren’t doing the best, guilty for literally everything! But it is normal, the guilt stems from a mother wanting the best for her child even when she is not perfect.
Who is part of your support system?
My husband is my most immediate support, he is my partner in this parenting journey. What I can do, he can do. From the night feeds, to playing with the baby, to changing diapers, and all the responsibilities that come with childcare.
What are you learning about being a parent that you did not fully realize before?
I have learnt that parenting is a very expensive and lifelong job. I have learnt that when my parents used to say that they did not have money, but still bought home necessities and not toys and sweets, it was the truth. Presence of money does not mean that it is available to be spent anyhow.
How has parenthood changed your relationships between you and your loved ones?
I think my relationships have changed in both a good and bad way. I am no longer as close with some friends, and I am learning to accept that it is ok. Some friendships just fizzled out - no “beef”, no big argument, nothing - the friendship run its course and eventually ended.
I am also now closer to some friends, and I have made new friends along the way - these are fellow moms and wives. I guess it’s obviously because we have more than a lot in common so they’re much easier to cultivate. Have you ever met someone you had so much in common with it felt like you have known each other for years? Yup! That’s how it is.
In regards to family, the baby has brought us all much closer. Someone I wouldn’t speak to as often now will call or text just to ask how the baby is or ask for pictures to see how much he has grown.
What is your one go-to when things are not going as planed? How does it help you?
I just remind myself that life is not perfect and that’s okay.
What is the one thing that you think other parents should know?
The Perfect Parent does not exist but the right parent does. Parent each of your children the best way you know how to, while being their friends.
About the author
Claire is a 30-year-old mother, wife, sister, friend, aunty, content creator and business owner. She is currently formally employed as an accountant and a co-owner of the formula store which deals in all baby formula brands, and Strictly African which deals in brass jewelry, these are online stores on Instagram. Claire is an extrovert most of the time but an introvert around new people. She loves her food, and she loves making YouTube videos on her channel in her free time.