We are told that as women, bonding with a child we carried and birthed should come naturally. But as Thina, a local mom, discovered, it's not always the case. Below, she reflects on how becoming a mother has challenged her in unexpected ways and changed her for the better.
Being a parent has always been a very strange thing to me; it's not something that I fully understand. I think the fact that I had raised my nieces and nephews made me think about it not as something that I am but something that I do.
However, it has been a very uncomfortable growth and a very scary realization that I am responsible for someone.
I look at how horrible the world is, and I die of fear.
'I was so overwhelmed with responsibility'
Mind you, I had the worst pregnancy, and I mean the worst. On top of that, I had lost my first pregnancy, so when I was pregnant the second time, it really was scary cause I was not sure if I would carry full term.
That is probably why I really could not connect with my child during the first, second or even third year. She would cry all the time, and I was so overwhelmed with responsibility.
I knew deep down she felt that I was detached, so she was also detached. On the second day of her being in this world, she started thumb sucking and would not suck anything else.
She would do this thing where she pulled me close to her when she sucked her thumb; somehow, that would make her calm down.
'Other parents seem to adapt easily'
The fact that I struggled to connect with her made my relationship with my daughter take a slow growth, and it does not help other parents seem to adapt easily.
I knew it was taking a while, so I decided to make sure that I did everything right and be more kind so that when I eventually get it right, I do not create a monster of a child.
Despite my efforts, my daughter is still struggling to access me, and I see that all the time. I see that in everything that she does, people are always asking me not to be hard on the child.
Still, this child teaches me so much about how to be a better mother. She'll ask me straight why I am ignoring her or why I am always tired at home, or why I am always working or on my phone.
I hate that I love that about her.
She teaches me how to love and connect with her.
'We all want to do right'
I find that sometimes there is just unnecessary pressure to be the parent that you are not; everyone is always chipping in something.
Most of the time, it is a shot at how you did not do this or that well enough. And you look at it and think it's just socks that aren't matching - is that so bad?. But we all want to do right, so we will spend a lot of time looking for the right pair.
But not all is lost because I listen more to her and me now.
I just trust the journey and process, and yes, I trust myself too.
I must add how grateful I am for being a mother in this day and age; having access to the internet makes everything so much better because it teaches us a lot and takes away some (but definitely not all) of the anxiety.
Access to information helps in raising my child. I no longer need to look for an old mother out there to give me advice.
I am also very grateful for my daughter because she teaches me how to love her, and most of all, she teaches me about myself.
What's your journey to parenthood been like?
Share your stories and questions with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous contributions are welcome.
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