Asking for help does not make you a bad mother
All through my pregnancy with my third baby, I suffered from high blood pressure. With the demanding schedules at work, I was forced to work throughout the nine months and take leave just a few days prior to giving birth. This then meant that by the time I gave birth, my body was so battered but I did not have time to sit back and feel sorry for myself. I had a newborn to take care of plus two other boys that also needed their mummy. Then I made the mistake of taking all three for their circumcision; thinking that if I did it at once, I was saving myself the heartache of taking them one by one.
With this came the sleepless nights. Most time was spent taking care of the wounds, breastfeeding the newborn and taking care of the scar since I had given birth by C-section. Yes, I had some help but needed more. Asking for such help was not easy because at every turn, a mother is told they can handle. So, be strong, they would tell me.
Left alone with my children, I would start to wonder what would happen if they were not there. I would imagine the amount of sleep I would get, the alone time and just the peace of knowing that there was no one else to get into my space. I was scared and mortified that I was having such thoughts but every time someone would call to check on me, I would say I am okay.
In a culture that tells women that we should do it all and do it all well, admitting we have or often need assistance brings shame or guilt. We mumble that we have a house cleaner, we hurry through our child’s list of caretakers, we hide behind tinted windows in the grocery pick up. But why?
Asking for help does not make you a bad mother, a weak person, lazy, or incompetent. Long ago, the community was emphasized because this was the best way for a mother to get help. We would say that a child is raised by the whole community. Then, it was so easy for a neighbour to take care of a newborn just so their mother can have some much needed rest.
This is what mothers today, who also have to wear so many other hats should embrace. Reach out to not only your relatives but also your neighbours, even at the expense of you looking vulnerable.
The consequences of you bottling up everything might be dire.
VKN, proud mother of three boys