This is a very special monthly feature. I want to share with you the wonderful women in my life. Ordinary heroes. It can get so lonely sometimes, when you don’t have all the answers as a mom, or when you see all the perfection around you. We all have questions and we all wonder what the other mommies are thinking and go through on a daily basis. That’s why I want this to be a space where we can share our hopes and dreams, our fears and fortunes.
Today I would like to introduce my youngest, beautiful and amazing sister – Inge!
Her story is inspiring, and as a mom of one, I salute her for being such a grounded parent of three while living her dreams!
My name is Inge, I am first and foremost a woman with dreams and aspirations, a Christian woman (in prayer most of the day for my husband and children), a wife to a loving husband, a full time mother to three children, a daughter, sister and friend to my besties, a qualified chef, a student of Caversham (studying to become a teacher), a creative being, a coffee addict, a kiss-my-eina away, a story teller, a wine connoisseur (although after 5pm it does not matter), a crochet lover, a cheerleader!
Our journey began 10 years ago when my husband and I got married! If life was a rugby match my husband would probably be my biggest supporter, cheering me on all the way. He is definitely the positive to my negative and he has shown me how to love and laugh, try again, that the problem can always be solved or at least we will try. He supports my every dream. He is my rock.
We did not wait to start a family, and I fell pregnant soon after we got married. We told everyone because it was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Around six weeks, I woke up one night of terrible cramps, it was not a false alarm, I had a miscarriage. The disappointment we felt! Nothing prepares you for this, especially if your biggest dream is to be a mom. There was never a question about the when and how I just always thought it would be as easy as pie. I also thought I would give normal birth, breastfeed and have absolute angels for babies. So this miscarriage was just the first of many reality checks.
But three months later, I was pregnant again, with terrible morning sickness. This was a good sign I discovered later on.
We were very young, inexperienced soon to be parents, and when our gynaecologist uttered umbilical cord around the baby’ss neck we rushed home to an already packed baby bag. To our families’ dismay we decided to have Izabella on the 29th of December 2008, a C-section, thank you very much. She was born 15:05, perfect little girl.
Breastfeeding was a struggle and we soon discovered it was not going to be a walk in the park, she cried most of the time, and I felt helpless. I had read all the books beforehand but nothing prepares you for how real and different it will be, life-changing does not come close to describing it. I called in the big guns, one of my sisters came to assist me (just running the household is already a huge help) and support me emotionally through this very unknown field. My mom came to my rescue and on the plane there, she read in a baby magazine that some newborns may need a Physiotherapist. The Physio discovered that Bels’ neck was a tad too rigid, she resisted everything and was not comfortable for her first few days, we fixed it and I could get some sleep for the first time. She never did take to breastfeeding but she held that bottle beautifully very quickly (I would like to think she was even a bit earlier than most babies ; ) )
Izabella went through all the milestones: first words, steps, terrible two’s, threes and because we were created so wonderfully with a short-term memory (or selective memory), no sooner I was pregnant again.
5 weeks later I suffered another miscarriage, this time we kept it quiet. Three months later, pregnant again, with another miscarriage. Panic set in for me. It had such an impact on our marriage.
I became so focused on falling pregnant, it definitely puts a strain on the marriage. It was my body and I was determined to fall pregnant again.
Our little girl Mikayla showed her wonderful and willful personality early on. She made her surprise appearance the day before my scheduled caesarian. My water broke while we were at the Lion park; our last outing before our family was to be extended. At 22:00 I had contractions, and at 12:01 Mikayla Sue was born. She was a tiny little chicken weighing 2.9 kg with beautiful big eyes – she stole our hearts!
I decided not to breastfeed from the beginning, I couldn’t stand the thought of another struggle. Like all mothers the self-doubt sets in: did I make the right decision, self-blame! Should haves and what nots, the story of a mother’s life, can we ever be perfect?
The truth is Mikayla and I had a wonderful bond, whether I made the correct decision to bottle feed, I will never know, do we have the same bond, absolutely!
We had our two girls. Happy with our family dynamics, daddy’s girls!
Financially it’s not always easy, but you still give your all. My husband and I have the same belief, we try as hard as we can, our children’s happiness is everything, but not at the cost of anything.
We also have the same sense of adventure, with a good pinch of impulsiveness, and over the years we have moved to several different provinces chasing our dreams. Boring is not our motto and we adjust very well to change and challenge (well so much more when we were in our 20’s).
Five years later my husband was offered a position in Cape Town, we grabbed it with both hands. It was winter and very, very rainy. We had just moved into our home (no TV yet) and one morning I woke up feeling extremely queasy. For the first few days I was in complete denial but went to get a pregnancy test anyway. There it was! Two lines! I was pregnant, again.
My husband and two girls were overjoyed while I struggled with terrible morning sickness. We did not care about the gender of the baby, but on our 16-week scan, our doctor confirmed, a BOY! The joy was overwhelming, my husband cried. The reality of living so far from our family and friends became real. We decided to move back to our roots, Natal.
Loudin Fourie Tella was born a perfect little boy 3.79 kg, a big boy, with a head full of dark hair. He was born with a calm, self-assured attitude. And as we did skin to skin, he made his way to my breast (boys will be boys). I breastfed him in hospital, but as soon as we got home to our very busy life of school, extramural activities, homework, lift clubs, cooking and life I decided it was time for bottle feeding.
The shock of a baby in the house was enormous, with two other children there is no quiet when baby is asleep, routine is what the day is made up off. Loudin had to fit into our lives, but he did so well, a happy baby boy.
As it stands now we have an interesting day to day life. One child in grade 3 busy with space projects, a grade 1 child learning basic phonics, needing constant help tying shoes and having to show a good pencil grip, while our toddler takes any chance to ruin homework, babble in baby talk and throw temper tantrums on the floor. Never a dull moment!
I always say every family has something that makes them tick. We have the kitchen, we love cooking, and our children grow up around food.
They see my husband and me behind the stove. They bake with me, and believe me it is messy, nothing like what you see on picture perfect Instagram snaps. And they lose interest once the prized item is in their possession. The bowl! Then it’s me and the mess.
We share our weekends on the beach, even if it is just a short walk to pick up shells. The small things in life make the best memories.
How does this all impact on me, the mother, and wife? It is true in every sense: you lose a little bit of yourself over the years. You change, you adjust, you become someone else. But what you get back in exchange is so worth it.
It is absolute unconditional love when you wake up with a staring child next to your bed, or a warm body climbing into bed with you after wetting her bed, a wet sticky kiss mixed with mud, a huge snotty sneeze on your just-dressed outfit, a yogurt spilled in your just-washed car, interrupted sentences and telephone calls, new lipstick smudged in your favourite handbag, going to the toilet with at least two of the three standing next to you, taking a bath with Barbie and friends while your toddler keeps putting more toys in your bath water, watching my Little pony at 5 in the morning an discussing the different colours of their hair, listening to them sing a Christmas song for the play 9 times a day and still going, WOW you are awesome!
You become very strong, as your heart breaks for your child when she says: “mom I don’t have friends”. You become a grown up, you have to be ready with advice, not any advice, the best advice.
You want to be the best parent; you want your children to be amazing. Who doesn’t? You question yourself every minute of the way. Some days are longer than others, but you get yourself a village. You get yourself some people to help you at any time of the day and night. You can’t do it alone.
How do you cope as a couple? Well, we still have many years ahead of us, but one thing we do try every day without fail is to take at least 15 min with a glass of wine or coffee, outside to just catch up and talk. I must admit it is a selfish moment for me, my adult moment! Uninterrupted conversation after a long day, starting at 5 am, consisting of laughter, shouting, singing Barney, Wielie-Walie, begging, and, listening to all their different stories of the day like they are the only people in the world
Amongst all the organised chaos of my life, I decided to follow a lifelong dream to become a teacher. And without my husband’s support, it would be impossible. I am currently and proudly a first-year student and will be a qualified teacher within two years. I want to share my creativity.
Find time for yourself, time to do what makes you happy. I love to create, cook, crochet, garden… anything that keeps my hands busy, because this keeps my mind busy and for me, it is a coping mechanism.
I also think it is important for my kids to see what I create, teach them these long lost skills. This is my job right now. And I put every drop of sweat and tears into it. One day I will have time to sit back and say I want some quiet, but right now I love the laughter of my children when they play together even if it is just the 5 minutes of bliss before they fight about a Barbie shoe or who wants the blue plate…
This is the story of our family, with many more blank pages to fill, more laughter, some tears, new adventures and plenty of memories to make…
Lots of love