Landisa: I'm the first female editor of a major SA motoring publication - and here's why I thought I'd be a horrible mother

2020-03-06 14:18
Janine Van der Post.

Janine Van der Post.

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Telling people you don't want any children is a lot easier than saying you can't have any.

So that was my story for most of my life, and I stuck with it.

People never even asked me "why"; they accepted it and moved on, and that ultimately worked for me.

So much, that I began to believe that story myself.

I didn't ever want to have any children; I never yearned to be anyone's Mommy.

Nor did I ever want to get married.

You see, I was insulin resistant.

Still am.

And when I was younger, doctors had said: "You won't be able to have any children."

No one explained that to my teenage self. No one said it could be corrected, and that's what I needed to hear.

So, I matured into an adult never having any desire to be a Mother.

In all honesty, it suited my "tomboy" lifestyle as a petrolhead woman.

Fast cars and my career were the order of the day, and nothing else mattered. 

Fast forward a few years, and I met my now-husband, two days after moving back from a significant five years in Johannesburg. A job which cemented my career in the local industry. A year later and we were engaged. And then precisely three months later, I found out I was pregnant.

It couldn't have been; it must have been some mistake. My cycle had been irregular over the years. And even though I believed I could never be with child, something made me go and buy a pregnancy test after a few months of having no sign of the crimson tide.   

To say that I was scared shit-less is an understatement.

I was so confused and terrified, and I was already almost 13 weeks pregnant.

How could I have not known? My very first thought was that I needed to get to a Marie Stopes clinic, I couldn't have this baby. I didn't know how to be a parent.  

My fears were short-lived because I decided to tell my fiancé immediately. He was over the moon, and that made everything all right. Or so I thought.

I can't recall a time in my life when I was ever broody. I could hold my younger cousins as babies, or the offspring of my friends, but never had I yearned to have a child of my own. I battled to come to terms that another little person was growing inside of me. 

My self-doubt consumed me as I fought to show that I was happy. I was, but I was a mess. 

We told our families, and our wedding date needed to be brought forward six months so that we could wed before I gave birth. I wanted it that way.

So, at almost seven months pregnant, we tied the knot.

Now that I think about it, my wedding dress was black.

Not because I was impure, but because it was my favourite colour and as someone who hardly ever wore a dress, the colour was non-negotiable.

My dressmaker Mr Smith said in all his years, he never made a dress for a bride in black. I was his first; he passed away a couple of years after my wedding.

May his soul rest in peace.. 

But the self-doubt, the fears, it still consumed me. I worried for my baby; I feared that whatever I was feeling, she would feel and that it would affect her.

I loved her, though, I loved her more and more every single day. I realised I needed her way more than she needed me. I just had to have some faith that I could be her Mother and believe that everything was as it needed to be.

And then she was born; a perfect little girl. We named her Sloane.  

She just turned five years old.

She's still absolutely perfect, stubborn as a mule, and as cheeky as an adolescent teen going into puberty.

She's damn smart, insists on being a real-life Princess every single day. She's changed our lives forever; she's the best thing that's ever happened to my husband and me.

But, I still think I'm the worst Mother in the world. I still think I fail her every day. I write this with tears rolling down my cheeks because I still feel I am not worthy of being her Mommy.

Yet, she's our air. She's our reason, our heartbeat and I wouldn't want things any other way. 

As women, we are so hard on ourselves. I have a dream job, a superstar husband who is an amazing father to our child, and I am doing my best even when I don't realise it.

I am the first female motoring editor of a mainstream publication, I am a mother, and a wife and God has given me the strength to juggle it all – even though it isn't always easy. Sometimes I forget about 'me', and to give myself a little pat on the back.   

Because in the end, I am doing pretty damn all right. 

* Janine is the editor of Wheels24, mother to Sloane, wife to a rugby-player and lives in Cape Town.  

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Read more on:    children  |  motherhood  |  mother  |  parenting

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