If you have followed my writing for a while, you will know that I write about all things relating to value. I like to keep my family and business life separate, but something happened this weekend that encouraged me to review that belief.

It’s strange, one day as a parent, you’re cradling them, feeding them, and then your child becomes an adult, and then brings their child or children into the world.

Amid covid, I became a grandad – my first. His name is Mateo. My daughter sent me a note of her experience of being a mother over the weekend. It was beautifully written (I wonder where she got that from), powerful and moving. So much so that I decided to share some of it with you.

Renita’s story:

It’s been a year since I stepped into the role of a mother. The role that I wasn’t ready for, the role that I didn’t know would consume so much of life, no matter how much people told me. It’s also been the role that has changed my life and given me a newfound purpose.

A purpose and journey that I must nurture, grow, and keep a little mini version of me alive.

Wow! I look back at my pregnancy and my birth experience, and I think, wow. I grew a human in my body and bought him into this world. I felt like such a failure the first few weeks after given birth just for the simple fact that I couldn’t physically push him into the world.

I like to do things on my own, accomplish them on my own, and I felt that I couldn’t do that in the first moments of his life. I beat myself up about it internally for ages.

As I reflect on my birthing experience, I am thankful that I had doctors who worked quickly on their feet. It would’ve taken one slow reaction, or lack of negligence and me nor my baby could be here today. I told myself that every day, I’m here, AND my baby is here. We are both going home.

Repeating this to myself helped me get out of my dark thoughts of guilt and failure. It’s been hard accepting that I am not who I was; I don’t look like how I used to. I have a new drive, a new body, and a new me. Mateo’s birth was my rebirth. I have no idea what I am doing most days, just winging and ensuring that my child is fine in many ways.

I would say, however, I feel very let down with the NHS system. Becoming a mother changes your world entirely, and the birthing process is exhausting, absolutely exhausting.

You are expected to go through this and immediately adapt to being a mother despite what state you are in. I could barely move after birth; I was n excruciating pain. How am I going to feed my baby? Am I doing it right? How will I get to the toilet?.

I had so many questions, which all plagued my mind once those lights went off in the maternity ward. We were alone, three mothers in our cubicles not knowing what to do with our crying babies; at times, the silence was deafening.

I had to accept defeat every time I pressed the buzzer for the nurse to pass me, my baby. Some nurses made me feel incapable & weak for asking, and others were so helpful. I learnt quickly that healthcare isn’t a job that suits everybody.

We always talk about the bad stuff of pregnancy, birth etc., but there are some beautiful moments that I wish I could just put in my pockets and bottle up and replay them over as the years go by. Like when your baby first recognises you and smiles, or when you’re feeding in the night, and it’s just you and them, they need you, and you need them.

Despite the severe sleep deprivation, we women somehow find this strength to provide for our children. What is that? Where do we get that strength from? It’s absolutely amazing.

I am so blessed to have a partner who has been there every step of the way. I feel we need to give more appreciation to the partners and husbands who go above and beyond. My partner was so strong; he was everything I needed and nurtured me as I’ve never had before. At times I could barely speak, but he was my saviour, putting all my needs before his own.

As I write this, I think to myself have I asked him how he is? How did he deal with seeing me like that? I wondered if the dynamics of our relationship would change, but we’ve become stronger than ever.

He makes me feel beautiful on my worst days; he doesn’t make me feel worse for not bouncing back to the fit size eight that I was when he met me. Instead, he encourages me and tries to make me remember to love and value myself more.

We weren’t prepared to be parents, but here we are, seven months in, and our baby is thriving and happy. I get excited at the thought of bringing another mini human into the world one day.

Signed proud mama to Mateo