In Motherhood


A photographer friend sent me some images she had taken of me five years ago, during my first pregnancy. I was hesitant about viewing those pics because I remembered that pregnancy very well, and it wasn’t all roses.  Most people are over the moon throughout the course of their first pregnancy, but I was not. The pregnancy was planned and we were excited when we finally got a positive test result but the excitement was very short-lived.  I slept my way through the first trimester, literally. I would wake up, go to work, get home at 6, cook, eat and I was out for the count by 7:30. I was constantly hungry and always so tired. In the second trimester, after my Cinderella spell had broken, I started feeling a slight wave of depression wash over me.

At about 16 weeks I was showing and I was fat (or so I felt) and I started hating my husband for what he’d done. Here I was; fat and watching myself become the girl I never wanted to be. I was now the girl who was going to have some guy’s kid and be stuck with him for the rest of her life because in a moment of passion, I had stupidly surrendered my bargaining power! I would never be ‘one up’ on any guy and especially not on my husband because he was the only man who was going to accept me – now that I was ‘damaged goods’. I remember telling him how upset I was at the fact that he gets to say ‘we’re having a baby’. How was he having a baby? Where? He seemed perfectly babyless to me!

I would tell him: “You can go anywhere in the world and no one would ever know; you’d have to volunteer that information! Not me though. One: my body! And even if I could get away with that – let’s say my body remained exactly the same – some doctor out there could cut me up and see that I’ve had a child. So I can’t ever lie about that!”

I felt so cheated, like I’d been duped into taking one for the team. It was a long time before I was able to adopt a healthy view of my pregnancy and my body in general. It took a lot of fights and a lot of questions. I questioned my view of women, our worth, etc. Did I really think a woman was of less value because she had decided to bear children, because she had stretch marks, or because she had become fat? I realised that I didn’t. However, I believed that society did and I realised that I had ascribed society’s warped values to my husband, which was so wrong and unfair. I could see his frustration and desire to carry (if he could) my ‘burden’. But all he could do was try and assure me of the fact that he had no intention of abandoning me. I was so scared of being abandoned. It was a fear that pregnancy had brought to light.

I have had two more pregnancies since then and I’m not afraid anymore. I know that in a lot of ways I have anchored my husband, even though I feared having a child would push him away. Our children are something to run to, not from, and stretch marks are just part of the ageing process. They’re not like a dent on a car; the result of an unfortunate accident. They are part of the story of our family – even if my 5 year old sometimes touches them and says: “Lines!”

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  1. Khanyisa Gura
    7 years ago

    Like dude!! You are such a hero. You the best. Because you shed light and your write the truth. I am sooooo proud of you!!

    1. Phumza Marumo
      7 years ago

      Hi Khanyisa! I try but it’s often so difficult to extract and put it in one post! Thanks for all the support and love :).


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