Boitumelo Dibakoane is a certified doula and postpartum depression and anxiety advocate based in Gqeberha, Port Elizabeth. Here she gets candid about her journey to motherhood, a mixed bag of disappointment, joy, and, ultimately, growth.
On 28 June 2019, my world went black and blank. I remember a newborn baby lying next to me, a wet oversized t-shirt, a half-lit room, closed curtains, and going on a tea diet because I had no food.
The story could have gone a little different if I stayed in school and focused on why I was at school, to get a degree; however, I didn’t.
It ended with a baby and a completely derailed life plan.
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‘Searching past different paths’
Friends lost, a degree half-finished, receiving the family black sheep title, a rape victim, two suicide attempts, a revolutionary midlife crises bald haircut; I have been searching past different paths to accepting that I’ve had a child at 21 and floundered at becoming a lawyer.
There was no place, no key to fit the lock to me being happy with what had happened or a way to fall asleep in the bed I had made myself.
It’s difficult to see past the mistakes we make when we have to face them each day, and in this case, I had to keep my mistake alive, fed and healthy.
949 days of motherhood
Five thousand nappies, 196 packs of wipes, 500 millilitres of blood lost, deflated breasts, repeat doses of antidepressants and 949 days of motherhood, I could go on and on for days. In the same way, I went on for the 949 of motherhood.
But here I am.
I’m a young mom to a bright 2-year-old boy whom I took two weeks to name, a couple of weeks to fall in love with, two years to accept and a day to keep a promise.
On the day he was born, I promised the infant lying next to me never to leave his side, and well, I’ve kept the promise till today and many other promises, like how I’m going to buy him Spider-Man PJs.
Formerly known as Boitumelo, now known as ‘Mama’.