The Strength of a Mother by Anisha Patel
I knew motherhood was going to be hard, but I never knew how hard it was going to be until I became a mother. I am not just your average mom though. Some say I must be crazy. It all started when I thought it would be a fun challenge to take on doing a second Master’s degree in order to advance my career opportunities while working full time. I also wanted to have a baby and I knew the two adventures would overlap and I thought I was prepared for both.
A month after I started my program, I fell pregnant. Luckily, I had a wonderful pregnancy that included no sickness, lots of kicking inside me, and pure joy. It was tiring though, juggling school and preparing for my baby, but I knew this was going to be the easy part and the tough times were still ahead. Still, I kept optimistic despite the naysayers in my life. I had a lot of comments like, “Oh I could NEVER do that,” or “Maybe you should stop school,” or “Do you think this is a good idea?” Every time someone would say this to me, I brushed it off and thought to myself, “I CAN do this” and “I’ll show them all!” Nine months later, my precious baby boy, Riaan, came into my life.
I wasn’t prepared at all. My professor wasn’t so understanding either and I often flashback to my second day in hospital, Riaan in the bassinet beside me and me, recovering in the hospital bed on my laptop, writing out my assignment that was due that night. Riaan wasn’t an easy baby either. He cried all the time. He had stomach issues and this made him cry even more. The sleep deprivation hit me hard as I attempted to finish off my semester and deal with being a new, scared mom. My next semester began and this was going to be my toughest course yet.
I have never worked so hard at anything in my life and I am talking about being a mom. It was hard and I was determined to breastfeed my son as much as I could. It was exhausting and then trying to study every time he napped (which was 30-45 mins max). Then Riaan turned 4 months and hit a sleep regression. I hit a wall. I felt defeated and those comments people kept telling me started to creep into my head while I was doing 1am, 3am and 5am feeds. The endless rocking of Riaan back to sleep while my arms cramped as he is a heavier baby. I added one more challenge to my endless list of challenges. I decided to sleep train him.
So now, I was a mom, a student and now added sleep trainer as my new title. It was stressful to say the least. WHY, why did I do this to myself?! The only way I could sit in my room and listen to him cry is if I kept repeating my mantra in my head, “I’m not a bad mom. We can do this!” I am currently on day 10 of sleep training, with 2 more weeks left of this semester and I’m starting to slowly see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s hard though. I want to give up so many times, but I just keep thinking that I have to be strong. I have to persevere for my family. I AM a good mom and I CAN do this!
My name is Anisha Patel and I live in Ontario, Canada. I’m 31 years old, been married for 3 years and my husband and I just welcomed our son Riaan to the world 5 months ago. I am currently on maternity leave, but love my job working in education and research in the field of geriatrics. I am also currently a part time student doing my Masters of Health Management. I am a wife, student and now, a MOM.