Inspired by her candid and truthful shares on social media, the MamaMagic Milestones team reached out to Boledi Makanatleng. She shares her journey on PostPartum Depression and how she used this experience to turn her life around and now encourages women to “be selfish with real self-care and doing the internal work because that’s when you show up as your best self for everyone.”
I was inspired by the Postpartum Depression I experienced with my first child. Within a year, I had gotten married, lost my mom, and just had a baby. I knew I loved this baby, but something was deeply wrong. I wasn’t familiar with PPD, so I silently endured. With my second child, everything was so much easier. Everyone commented about how well I was looking and that I looked like I was enjoying it. Reflecting on those comments confirmed that I went through something with the birth of my first child.
Not only did that experience help me understand PPD and seek help, but I was inspired to start my Podcast, and I ended up studying Psychology – I graduated in April 2022. I used a painful experience to “level up” and create a safe space for other moms. I firmly believe in therapy. Having completed my studies and as I continue practical application, I know that there is a level of detachment you must have for professional reasons. Hence, I advocate for a combination of therapy and engaging with real mothers to whom you can relate. As I grow, I realise that there is a lot of guilt that we still deal with as a mother.
One of the significant struggles many moms deal with is constantly being torn between pursuing our dreams and being present with our families, especially our children.
It’s been imperative for me to manage mom guilt for my sanity. My daughter Mbali was with her gran because I needed extra support. When she came home, the guilt I felt for just needing the help was overwhelming.
I’ve had to consciously remind myself that I said no to so many things in her first two years of life and had never been away from her for over 24 hours because I was breastfeeding, and I was fortunate enough to not have to be away from her. However, life requires quite a lot from me now, including building my career. I acknowledged how I felt and that it’s not wrong for me to want to develop my career. I changed my perspective to see the positive outcomes she is receiving from the opportunity to create relationships with other family members.
Joey Dlamini changed my perspective when she said, “the fact that you experience mom-guilt shows how much you care and love your child. I chose to feel the guilt from that point but not surrender to it and allow it to consume me.
Busie Sholo always emphasises that motherhood is not meant to tame us and that it might not be easy for moms who choose to work, but we should remember that our dreams and goals are still valid.
I am a happier and healthier mother and wife when I’m not dealing with the guilt of sacrificing my dreams. Here are some practical tips for dealing with mom guilt and being more present when you are with your children.
- Honour your emotions. Allow yourself the time to cry and feel angry. After honouring those emotions, consciously let go of that emotion.
- Honour the realities. The reality is that you will need to let your child go at some point – whether it’s to school or a birthday party. You will not be with your child 24/7. Once you observe the realities, you will realise that spending time away from your child is normal.
- Let go of the unsolicited advice. Enough said. What works for someone else may not work for you and your family.
When it comes to being more present with them, remember it’s not about the length of time, but honestly, it’s about your conscious awareness and intention toward them when you’re with them.
- Put your phone away – it’s a significant distraction. The world will continue if you don’t answer or check your phone for 30 minutes.
- Find out what they like doing and immerse yourself in an activity they enjoy. Allow your children to lead the way, and they will teach you as a mom how to let go and how to play. They will guide you to connect with your inner child once more.
Boeldi Maknatleng – Psychology Graduate, Podcaster and Mental Health Mommy Blogger