My daughter is turning 9 this year, it’s astonishing how time has flown by so fast. It feels like a few sleeps ago we were in a minibus on our way to the clinic for her immunisation shot while she danced on my lap and marveled at the outside world through the minibus window. She has always been such a happy child; so full of life and her sunny personality has blossomed throughout the years. With everything that has happened throughout the years, she’s the main reason I push myself to do and be better.
In our African culture, having a child out of wedlock is considered taboo no matter how old you are when this happens. You’d think people have moved with the times but when it comes to tradition some things still hold water. I’ve had friends and family share some of their lessons with me but it occurred to me that I never shared my lessons of having a child out of wedlock. There are plenty of them but because I like to keep things short and sweet I’ll only share three with you.
1. Protect Yourself
If you have no plans of going through an unplanned pregnancy then, by all means, get yourself on a contraceptive method! Unprotected sex comes with consequences. You can’t be having sex every other day with no protection in sight and assuming you won’t get pregnant. The emergency contraceptive can only do so much, ask me, I used to take it and still ended up pregnant. I’d encourage you to go to the clinic with your partner to both figure out which method you can try. Get to know the side effects as well. Most come with weight gain but I’d rather deal with finding ways to lose weight instead of trying to raise USD2000+/- for maternity fees. Be proactive ladies, at the end of the day, you’re the one who will have to carry a child for 9 whole months.
2. People Will Be Disappointed
They might not say it to you in black and white but you will feel it. Everyone wants the best for their child. In our culture, it seems the biggest achievement for a woman is to get married, have a grand white wedding, bear strong healthy babies preferably boys for your husband and live happily ever after. Now imagine not delivering any of the things I just mentioned… I had a time I felt lacking because I didn’t have a big wedding band to show the world. It took a long time for me to accept that not everyone is supposed to get married and that’s okay. We all have our different paths and all for a good reason.
3. Your Partner Will Move On
Just when you think you’re having your life back on track you’ll hear the news that your partner has moved on. You thought putting your life back together one piece at a time with a baby on board was easy? This news will devastate you whether you still feel something for your partner or not. I couldn’t eat or sleep for days after receiving this news. I felt that no one else could ever love me.
The stigma towards single mothers in Zimbabwe is real and after accepting that there was no hope for the father of my child and I; I couldn’t even imagine how anyone would want to pair themselves up with someone who had a child.
Fast forward to present day and I could write a book about how the universe granted my wishes. I have a partner who adores my daughter and I. He does everything in his power to make sure we’re happy and comfortable. I couldn’t ask for more.
In my 8 years of motherhood, I’ve come to accept that nothing stays the same. You might be going through a very tough time right now but a few years from now you’re going to look back and laugh at what you’re currently crying about.
If you’re not yet a mother take a chapter of this lesson from my life, at least you’ll be a step ahead and not have to repeat my mistakes.
Are you a mother? What are some of the lessons you have learnt so far?