Reflections on motherhood: Gayle's story

When I became pregnant with my daughter I was 22 years old. I had recently graduated with a degree in psychology and had not given much thought to motherhood. If anyone had asked me whether I would have children. I would have replied with a definite "no".

My pregnancy was unplanned. Parenting was not something that I saw in my life plan at that time. However, once I discovered that I was pregnant, I was surprised by unexpected feelings of attachment to the unborn child within me, even though I was only six weeks pregnant!

I did not know the richness that our decision to have a baby would bring to my future. Neither could I have imagined that I would later consider pregnancy, childbirth and becoming a mother as some of the most pivotal events of my life; ones which would later prove to be the cornerstone of my professional, as well as personal, development.

During the early stages of my pregnancy I decided that I would give birth at home. I was fortunate to receive prenatal care from sensitive lay midwives in my community who took their responsibility seriously, seeking out medical knowledge from local physicians and medical texts. The care I received from these courageous women prepared me for labor, psychologically as well as physically. Their questions gently guided me to contemplate the emotional changes of this period of growth and change in my life. I benefitted from exploring significant childhood memories and feelings which helped me identify the kind of mother I wanted to be.

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