Why I Really Wanted A Boy

Lifestyle, motherhood, Relationships

I’m the oldest of a combined eleven children (yes, you read that right!) from both parents and if God asked for my choice, I’d choose to have an older brother. Why, well I know I could not have an older sister because I doubt we’d get on much but an older brother always seemed like a good idea. He’s be my protector, he’d fight for me and he’d hurt any boy who dared break my heart, hahah (no, but seriously)! 

Anyways, my wish to have an older brother was pretty impossible because let’s be honest, had my parents had me when they were teenagers so having older siblings could not happen because I was it! So why did I do? I wished for the next best thing and that was to have a son first. If God was listening, I figured I might as well ask Him although I was sure I’d be happy either way! 

This was true until a month before I found out I was pregnant, I buried my 18 year old brother who was murdered in a knife crime. He had just turned 18 so evidently his death sent me in a dark place. Not just because of its untimeliness but also because he was 10 years younger than me. I couldn’t and still cannot fathom the idea of such a young life being lost. I sometimes feel guilty that I get to live and he will never get to be my age or older. 

So when I found out a month after his death that I was pregnant, I saw it as a sign that this was God’s doing and that I would be having a boy…to compensate for my brother’s death somehow. Now that I think about it I understand how crazy it sounds but grieving does crazy things to a person and although I didn’t know it then, that was my way of trying to come to terms or make sense of his death. 

I was so sure that I was having a boy that I completely disregarded the 50% possibility that it might actually be a girl. I started referring to my bump as he/him and if anyone asked if I knew what I was having, I’d pretty much say I think it’s a boy! 

To further cement my belief, I would only search for boy baby names and eventually settled on the name that I knew for a fact I’d name my son when he was born. From then on, I started referring to the bump by its boy name!

Being as it was my first child and seeing as I ‘knew’ its gender, I wasn’t particularly bothered with finding out the baby’s gender but the hubby wanted to know so he could start buying clothes and stuff ( there was very little unisex colours for some reasons) and so I thought hey, for confirmation sake…why not! 

My anomaly (and opportunity for a gender reveal) scan was at 21 weeks and unfortunately the baby didn’t want to open its legs so we were rebooked for another scan at 23 weeks because the sonologist ( I think that’s what they’re called) wasn’t able to check for everything at the time anyway. 

We were back again two weeks later and for some reason I started feeling a bit nervous. I mean yes I believed I was having a boy but what if I wasn’t? Lo and below I was informed with a 90% certainty that I was having a GIRL! It hurts me to say this now but my heart completely sank. It wasn’t the news I was expected. Damn it, it wasn’t the news I wanted. I had just lost my brother and found out I was pregnant a month later so it could only be a boy because it was God giving me back what He had taken from me…..surely!

I hardly spoke again that day and later that evening, I cried like I’ve never ever cried before in my whole entire life. I cried because I finally realised I had to accept that my brother was gone and that he wasn’t coming back. Yes, he had only just turned 18 years and yes it was so unfair that he wasn’t given an opportunity to live a full life but he was gone and the baby boy that I was holding on to….in memory of him wasn’t actually a boy. How could God do this to me!!

I then cried some more because I felt guilty. Guilty because my now daughter might think that I wasn’t happy to be having her when God knows I was. I’d always known I’d be a mum and to have that come true was the biggest blessing of my life. I cried because I was acting entitled and ungrateful. Maybe I blamed God for not protecting my brother enough and therefore it was only right that He redeem Himself! I have spoken to the Man upstairs about this and asked for forgiveness since then, but at the time this was my thinking.

I remember telling my dad the news and he said he had a feeling all along I didn’t understand why he want just as upset but what he said to me changed my perspective completely. My dad told me that we are but souls and souls do not have a sexy/gender. God did just what I asked Him. He gave me a soul for the one that was lost and the truth is that He wasn’t obligated to do it. He didn’t have to bless me with such an enormous blessing but He did. From then on, I was just happy that I was having a healthy and happy baby. 

I was also able to finally grieve my brother properly and accept what had happened. He wasn’t coming back but he’s a soul and souls never die and so he’s within and amongst us always. 

More than anything now, I’m grateful that I get to raise a woman. A future wife and mother. I’m so fortunate to be entrusted with such a responsibility and yes I now want twin boys next ( I already put in my request with God) but it has nothing to do with my brother anymore and if God had other plans, I’d be just as happy as I am now. I love my daughter so much and I couldn’t imagine having any other way. 

Love,

Lilia 

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5 Ways Having A Baby Tests Your Relationship 

motherhood, Relationships

I’m sure a lot of parents, especially new and first time parents would agree with the sad truth that having a baby can have an adverse effect on your relationship. 
Just before giving birth, a mummy friend of mine told me to expect arguments when the baby was here and I couldn’t understand for the life of me what she meant. Worry not, because I found out quickly enough just how right she was. 

If I’m honest, having our daughter actually caused us to have some of our worst arguments ever….to a point where it’s fair to say both of us questioned whether or not our relationship would actually survive. Hell, sometimes I didn’t know whether or not I WANTED it to survive. Four months down and we’re getting the hang of parenthood and a bit more sleep never hurt anyone but to be honest, it’s still a work in progress as far as getting back to a decent place in our relationship. 

There are obviously a million and one factors contributing to tension and issues having a newborn can bring to a relationship but here are my top five:

1. Tiredness – people told me to sleep as much as possible because I wouldn’t be sleeping much for a few years and though I knew there was some truth in it, I also thought they were exaggerating. Wrong!! My daughter would sleep ALL day and be up from about 10pm until 6 or 7am the next day. Yes, I tried sleeping when she did but things have to be done around the house too. Anyways with my lack of sleep and pure exhaustion, I became snappy and easily annoyed which created unnecessary arguments. Happy to announce she’s much better now.

2. Post Natal Depression – I wrote a piece on this a few weeks back and I still feel so self-conscious when this subject comes up because of all the taboo around it in African communities but although I didn’t know it then, I was affected with PND which also meant I was always crying and down right moody. Hubby didn’t understand what was happening and we’d argue because I didn’t know why I felt the way I felt so relaying any information to him was near enough impossible and we were both left frustrated and distant. 

3. Extended Family – now, we all know almost everyone becomes an expert in babies when there is a newborn but couple this with two different African cultures and you’ve got unsolicited, unwanted and damn weight crazy advice and opinions. The other half was being told one thing from his family but when he’d run it to me , I’d shut him down because that wasn’t a practice in my culture or whatever and he’d end up feeling like his contributions didn’t matter and become resentful, etc etc. Naming the baby was also another uncomfortable situation which I wrote about in one of my posts. 

4. Night Duties – now this is a funny one because the Mr would say I never let him help much but I remember getting so angry at the fact that I was up at night with the baby while he was sleeping. Poor guy would offer to take the baby sometimes and I’d say no because I wanted to be the one person who could soothe and comfort her and so I self-righteously thought he didn’t know what he was doing. Then I’d be angry with him if he didn’t offer to help (even though we both knew the answer would 90% always be no). I was just a right mess to be frank so don’t ask me questions because I know it doesn’t make sense.  

5. Communication – or the lack thereof as was our case. One thing which we would both agree on is that my other half is not the greatest communicator that ever existed. In fact, he wouldn’t even make the cut if there was such a process. His heart is always in the right place but he internalises things and is practically allergic to confrontation. This means if he’s upset about something I’ve said or done (which happens daily), he won’t tell me and if it’s something he considers to be major then his mood will change so I’ll be left wondering what’s wrong. One thing I’ve also found is I’m what I’d like to call an ’emergency communicator’, i.e. I only really want to sit down and talk when something has already happened. Throughout this process I’m learning the importance of every day communication and we’re slowly getting there. 

So there you have it. As a whole, having a child has been a blessing so I don’t want anyone thinking it just messes up your relationship but at the same time it’s foolish to be ignorant of the fact that adding a small human into the mix of things can definitely have its down points…..at least at first! I also understand that this is not necessarily the case for everyone all the time, but for me it sure has been a rollercoaster which is slowly but sure coming back down. 

You know what, I’m grateful nonetheless. For every bit of it (well…most bits). I’ve learned so much about myself, the hubby and our relationship in the last four months than the years prior to having our daughter and it’s all good! 

Love,

Lilia

There Is Beauty In Self-Love

Lifestyle, Relationships

I know it always sounds like I’ve had this great epiphany since becoming a mother but I kinda have….in so many areas. I have become more confident in myself as a woman and as a person in general. I have more awareness of Self. I am more in tune with my feelings….happy and sad. My hopes, my aspirations, my fears….

I’ve also noticed that I love myself a little more everyday. I’m learning my real worth, my values, my importance. As a result , I have become less tolerant of the people and things that do not align with the woman and person that I’m becoming. I find that when we think low of ourselves, people tend to do the same. When we don’t value ourselves, people tend to mirror that and not value us either and we’re often blind to it because we haven’t yet discovered how to love ourselves and set standards and boundaries. 

As much as it is a clichée, people will really and truly only treat you the way that they see and feel you treat yourself. Looking back in past relationships, I actually cringe now because I can see that I was insecure, clingy and didn’t have much self worth.  I didn’t love or even like myself enough to put myself first and ensure my happiness was a priority. Can you imagine that I’d be surprised and confused when they didn’t love me or treat me as I needed to be? I’d wonder why they couldn’t see me and who I was and te love I had for them, etc. Little did I know their vision was crystal clear. They say me alright!!

I’ve had friendships where I have been there for the person, I have given my all to them in terms of being the best friend that I could be and only to be disappointed time and time again. Why, you ask? Because I didn’t have respect for myself enough to know that I deserved better out of a friendship. I didn’t set strict boundaries in our friendships and I didn’t hold them accountable for their actions or lack of. I let people waste my time, energy and sometimes money. I used to get so resentful and hurt for the lack of respect and consideration but I now realise I didn’t respect or consider myself, so why would they?

I’m now at a place of self – self healing, self growth , self discovery, self love. A place where I guard my heart from things and people who temper with my peace, my joy, my trust, my patience and my bloody sanity. This has meant loving some people – family and friends, from afar and that’s ok. I feel so liberated in knowing that I don’t even owe anyone an explanation either. I’m doing what I need to do for me and it feels great. 

I think I used to focus so much on changing people, changing the way they saw me, the way they treated me…downright trying to change who they are as people but I have now realised that there’s only person I can change and in all these scenarios, there was only ever  one person that needed changing and that was me. Hindsight is truly 20/20 but we thank Godfor growth!

My advise to anyone out there reading this – don’t ever, and I mean Never Ever dim your light for anyone. Never ever compromise your beliefs, values, worth, love or anything for anyone. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to say goodbye to anyone who doesn’t reflect who you are, where you are in life and where you want to go. Yes, sometimes it includes our nearest and dearest and when I say cutting off I don’t necessarily mean not ever talking or hanging out. I mean being so self-aware that when you so much as sniff danger (couldn’t think of a better work), you will have the courage to nip it in the bud. Having self-peace is more important and should be pursued daily!  

Love,

Lilia

What A Great Time To Be A Woman

Lifestyle, motherhood, Relationships

Happy International Women’s Day to all the women of the world. 
Our strength, courage, resilience, persistence is second to none.

Our love, patience, compassion, understanding is matched by none.

We are mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties, friends, wives…and sometimes fathers too.

We are God’s gift to humanity, life bearers, hope givers, faith havers and so much more.

Oh, what a great time it is to be a woman….
I never grasped my power, my strength, my importance as a woman until I carried life, protected it, nurtured it and then brought it forth 9 months later.

I am a QUEEN, 

I am a godess

I am virtuous

I am Mother Nurture

I love unconditionally, I give unexpectedly 
I’m a Teacher, a Counsellor, a Doctor 

I’m an Advisor, a Secret Keeper, a Confidant

I’m an alarm clock, a reminder, a personal planner

I’m a cook, a cleaner, an organiser

I am ALL that is good in this world.
I am a Woman and all good things begin with me!

Reflecting on 2016

Lifestyle, motherhood, Relationships

          As we reach the last day of 2016, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what a year it has been and also my goals for the coming year. 

          To say 2016 has been a year of change is an understatement. This has been both for the good and bad. For me this year started as a nightmare as I lost my younger brother in January – two weeks after his 18th birthday and on the day of my partner’s birthday. The thing that hurts the most about his death is that he wasn’t sick but died from a stab wound to the neck.

          I still play back in my mind the moment my father broke the news to me. Part of me also died when my brother died and I honestly didnt believe there was anything that could take place in 2016 that would make me feel better about this year but God had other plans. About a month or so after my brother’s death, I fond out I was pregnant. 

          I had not been trying and it wasn’t something I thought would happen so soon but I took it as a sign from God that although he has taken away something so valuable to me, he’s also given me something just as valuable and taken me to the next stage of my life. My brother is irreplaceable but my daughter’s birth has helped me find joy again.

          To me 2016 feels like the shortest year of my life. It doesn’t feel like I’ve gone through the full 12 months at all. My only memories of 2016 has been of a death and birth and I’m so grateful to God for both. 

          I’m grateful that I was blessed enough to have had my brother for 18 years, although I still feel that it wasn’t near to enough time here with him. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for the time we spent together and the memories I have of him which I will treasure in my heart until we meet again. I’m also grateful and thankful to God for choosing me, as unworthy as I am, and entrusting to me such a responsibility as to be someone’s mother. To experience the miracle of childbirth and the joys of motherhood. 

          I’m also grateful for life in general. Life isprecious  and so so short. We often think we have time – time to follow that dream, time to travel, time to do that course at university, time to say I love you to loved ones. The actual truth is that our time here on earth is limited so there’s no point in putting off things that we want to do or achieve or putting off our time with family and friends, thinking there will be a next time. 

          I don’t want to set resolutions for the new year. Instead I want to live each moment of the rest of my life as deliberately as I can. I want to deievrately love, laugh, enjoy my family and all the blessings that God has bestowed upon me and those which are awaiting me in the future. I want to stop and smell the roses more often. I want to take more pictures and make more memories. I want to travel with my daughter and teach her what I know. I want to be the best partner to my other half and the best friend to my friends. I want to strive to be the best version of me everyday and to praise God more, in any and every circumstances.

          To everyone out there I wish a prosperous, healthy and happy new year, filled with Love, joy, patience, compassion, success and good healthy because we are all here but only for a limited time so as cliche as it may sound, we need to grab it by the horns and live it to the fullest!

          Happy New Year 2017!!

          Love, 
          Lilia

          What’s in a name

          Lifestyle, motherhood, Relationships

          Baby girl is finally registered!!

          I was excited to finally get her birth certificate so we can apply for her passport because mummy and daddy love to travel. At the same time I was kinda dreading having to go to the registry office because we still hadn’t decided on a middle name for her. In fact this has been the elephant in our room which we happily ignored for the last six weeks.

          Although we’re both of African origins, my partner and I are from different countries in Africa. This in itself has never been an issue in our relationship because, well why would it be? We’re two human beings who are in love and respect our cultural differences and that to us has always been what mattered.

          Funny enough a year before I even found out I pregnant, we had already picked a name for my daughter. No, we weren’t planning to start a family just yet but we thought it would be fun and/or funny to see what names we liked and innocently googled potential names when we came across a name we both loved. So when I found out I was having a girl, we pretty much called her by her name. 

          Although we’re not married yet, we agreed that she’d have his surname as I plan on changing mine to his when we do get married,so that wasn’t a problem. However, when baby girl was born, I suppose for the first time I was greeted with our cultural differences- and not necessarily in the way I had liked. His family wanted to be involved in the name picking as per their tradition. This didn’t sit vey  well with me  just because I didn’t want anyone else to name my kid. I also didn’t want to name her after a relative or anything traditional like that. I wanted her to have her own name so she could have a fresh start.  This of course caused a arguments with my partner and pretty much tested our relationship in a different way than we were used to before. Because culture and traditions can be a sensitive subject and out of respect for each other, we pretty much avoided the conversation when it came to middle names for the six weeks until our appointment today. 

          As the date got closer, I know that we both were thinking about what was to come but neither had the courage to say anything in fear of further arguments on the subject. What a pair of cowards, right!

          The inevitable happened of course and we were asked if baby girl had any middle name(s). I don’t know what it was but at that moment I realised that it was unfair to deny my daughter of half of who she is and although I don’t necessarily see the point in naming your child after a day of the week (partner’s originally from Ghana), I knew that it meant a lot To my partner that she had a name which followed his tradition. I realised that my daughter was a mixture of two beautiful African cultures and I wanted that to be represented in her names. So in that moment, I proudly told the registrar that she was going to have two middle names. One to represent each parent’s origins.

          One thing being a mother does, is make you selfless. You want to do what’s best for your kid and sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do because you may not necessarily agree.I am proud of myself for not letting my pride come in the way of the blessing that is our daughter. I want her to be proud of who she is and where she comes from. I will teach her to embrace both cultures and to carry both traditional names with pride and respect because whether we name our kids after loved ones,  or we just name them after a name we really like….it will be how they and the world identifies them so why not give them a name with a significant meaning, a name that has a story. At least that’s the case for us.

          Now off to get her passport made. Wish me luck in getting her to photos taken!

          Love,
          Lilia