When they finally handed my daughter to me… Skylar… My heart – my first baby girl – I didn’t want her to leave my side.
I held her so much that day.
I breathed her in, drank her sublime presence and hoped I would remember her beautiful, sweet, smell forever.
She was mine – my very own baby girl.
To this day I can’t fully describe what it’s like lying next to her – “You are mine,” I catch myself whispering.
She conjures up tenderness in me I didn’t know I could feel.
When Skyar smiles at me I know I matter; she has a way of making me feel seen.
When I had my first child, Luke, I didn’t think it’d be possible for me to love another human being the way I loved him. And then Sky came…
There’s something spectacular about each child you have.
There are many times I feel as though my life only truly begun when I had my first baby.
And now with the presence of Sky I feel I’m coming even more into myself.
While I gather myself and find the words to share my journey with this young woman, who has redefined my place in this world, I thought to share with you the story of another mom and her daughter…
The story of Riki and Andrea as told to Hannah Viviers
I wore pink the day I found out I was carrying Andrea.
My husband and I had prayed for her and now she was finally here.
I’d suspected her presence because her coming reminded me so much of Adam’s.
I hoped she was a girl – but it was too early to tell.
Adam was my first child – I think you’re more emotional with your first.
I was 26 when I had our son. The question that kept racing through my entire body then was: “Am I ready to be a mom?!”
I didn’t know what to expect. I felt utterly clueless about pregnancy and parenting.
I had always, always, wanted a baby girl so you can imagine how ecstatic I was when, at four months, we found out that the baby growing inside my belly was a precious Miss!
God had indeed heard our request for a baby girl!
Even before Andrea came I’d find myself admiring cute, pink, frilly outfits in clothing stores…
When my dream for a baby girl came true I started shopping like mad for her! I had to restrain myself from buying entire stores for Andrea.
Boy did I enjoy the shopping… and best of all- in my favourite colours: Pink and White!
Carrying Andrea was such a joy. I loved being pregnant.
Both my pregnancies were so blessed – other than sensitivities to the smells of detergents and other cleaning products- I didn’t battle with morning sickness.
Of course I gained weight: a whopping 15 kilos! Thanks mostly to my insatiable cravings for Inkomasi (it’s like plain flavoured yoghurt) and pap (a corn dish almost like Palenta). I ate it twice a week!
Even before I had Adam my desire had always been to be a yummy mommy! To this end I attended preggy bellies classes twice a week.
Over the weekend Edgar and I would walk for twenty minutes each day.
We’d take Adam with us in his stroller.
Looking back on those days I can’t help but smile. That was great family bonding time.
Even with all of my 15 kilos extra I was still a yummy mommy when I carried Andrea.
I was glowing. My skin and nails grew long and strong. Those days were sunshine.
As I basked in the sunshine that was the experience of carrying my daughter I kept a journal for her.
In it I wrote the things I wanted to share with her and teach her.
I wanted her to know kindness, independence, love of people, love for the Lord…
I was looking forward to teaching her many things such as being a godly woman and teaching her about Father and His word. And of course other things like cooking, making things, and oh la la shopping!
When I was pregnant with Andrea I realised how blessed I was to be able to have a child.
I understood how much of an impact I could have on her life.
As she grew inside me I begun to realise that I didn’t have to raise her the same way my parents raised me. I could do things differently.
I also realised that I didn’t have to be SUPERMOM!
On February 26, 2010 at 3.45 pm, my baby girl Andrea Dineo Maragela was born weighing 2.5 kilos.
I was in labour for three hours and 45 minutes.
I felt the same love and more when I saw Andrea for the first time.
I think for most moms we feel extremely attached to our first born… and perhaps we think we won’t love the babies that follow as much as our first- well at least that’s how I felt.
But after birthing Andrea I can truly say a mom’s heart has so much love to go around for all her children.
I held both my kids a lot. So much so that copious amounts of holding Andrea caused me to sprain my wrist- it didn’t faze my physio at all; apparently it’s quite common for some moms to want to hold their babies all the time.
Before Andrea’s birth Edgar and I couldn’t agree on what we’d name her.
I’d like to give some profound description of how we arrived at the name “Andrea” but we got it from The Bachelor. Yes the TV show! 🙂
We were watching The Bachelor and Edgar liked the name of one of the contestants.
Andrea means strong, brave.
Our Andrea is a soft child but don’t let her softness fool you- she’s very independent. We call her “Miss Independent.”
She is so smart and funny and oh how she loves laughing.
Her laughter is contagious.
She’s bubbly and inquisitive and loves learning.
Sometimes she makes me cry when she’s naughty.
She doesn’t like it when I raise my voice or discipline her – but I know she needs my guidance- loving her means I have to give her that.
There’s a song Bee Bee Winan’s wrote when he had his first daughter. It’s called Love Thing. That song makes me cry. It really touches me because that’s how I feel about Andrea. She is my Love Thing. She brings so much joy in my life.
When Andrea was a baby my sister would say that one day my daughter would help me around the house.
Andrea is now 3 and a half and she loves helping me clean and tidy the house. I can’t wait to teach her to cook one day.
My relationship with Andrea is so special. I treasure it. I can’t imagine my life without her.
Watching her grow and see all the milestones she’s achieved inspires me.
My relationship with my daughter reminds me of the one I have with my mom. We are so close. My mom is my inspiration in life. I hope to be the same for my little girl.
Andrea’s second name, Dineo, means gifts or talents.
I finally have my baby girl.
Andrea is my gift from the Lord.
Love Thing Continued…
I find it hard to speak about my journey with my children without a special mention of my husband Edgar.
Edgar. Oh Edgar… what a pillar of support and strength.
He was my prayer partner for and during both my pregnancies.
Together we prayed regularly for healthy pregnancies and deliveries for both our children.
We prayed for wisdom in our roles as parents – There was no way I could have done it without Edgar. He even fasted for the delivery of both our kids.
Edgar came to every doctor’s appointment – He went shopping for my babies’ things with me… and listened to all my whining about being tired, and how fat I looked in the mirror.
He’d always tell me how sexy and beautiful I was pregnant, even when I didn’t feel like it.
My husband would remind me of the life I was carrying and how I would be a great mom-
He called me “Baby Mamma”! And still does.
Edgar would rub my feet, put stretch mark cream on my tummy and I remember him specifically singing songs to Adam while I still carried our son inside me.
Edgar is such a caring, loving, and affectionate person.
He does things for me I think most men would cringe at.
I have such fond memories of things he did for me when I was carrying our babies.
For instance I couldn’t bend down to shave my legs so he’d help me… Then there were times he’d try to blow dry my hair because I was too tired to… 🙂 Those memories remind me of how supportive he’s been over the years.
After all the time we’ve been together Edgar remains my best friend, my confidant, my support.
We parent together and both clean… On the weekends we shop together. We’re a team.
My husband knows when to cheer me on and when to give me space. He is a giver of his time, knowledge and resources.
We complement each other in many ways.
Sometimes we can read each other’s minds. I can’t imagine being married or having kids with anyone else.
Edgar’s a great listener when I want to off load.
He brings balance and calm into my life when things are hectic.
As we journey this life together I can honestly say that my husband Edgar is my compass after the Lord.