No doubt, motherhood is one of the most dynamic jobs in the world and yet it’s the only one people do not get any training for. The job of being a first-time parent is different from any other job you’ve had before. You need new knowledge, new coping mechanisms, and new skills.
In addition, a lot of women suffer from postpartum depression also known as baby blues. Thankfully, the world is becoming more advanced and many parents are starting to open up and create more awareness about mental health, depression and the challenges women face with childbearing and family life.
BellaNaija’s Damilola had a quick chat with Nigerian songstress, Simisola Ogunleye, popularly known as Simi , a first-time mum and she shared with her what it feels like being a new mum, transitioning, baby blues, and a sleep tip she swears by.
It can be really hard transitioning to being a mum, how is that going for you?
As with all new things, there is a learning curve. I remember thinking, about 2 weeks after I had my baby, that there are two different people on both ends of my pregnancy.
It’s almost hard to put into words. The transition is intense, no doubt – but it’s also almost spiritual. I’m doing great. I love being her mommy. It’s the most fulfilling and rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life.
It is common for new mums to go through the baby blues, have you had this at all?
Oh, yea. The hormone dance that happens postpartum is legendary. Imagine someone taking a half-full bottle and tilting it from side to side, consistently and constantly. The baby blues hit me in the 5th day, I think. It was a little surprising as I had been riding this wave of intense love and joy a few days prior.
I have a bit of OCD so I was anxious a lot. For me, it was mostly anxiety. I did a bit of a study on this and found out this was normal for most new moms because of the sudden dip and rise in certain hormones.
Fortunately for me, my husband was ready. He supported me emotionally and preempted my needs before I even knew what I needed. It’s like as I was focused on the baby, he was focused on me. Also, I shared with my close friends how I was feeling and told them to pray for me.
I prayed a lot and read my bible. So, this period didn’t last beyond 2 weeks. There are a few days when I still sometimes feel slight anxiety, but my go-to is always God. Always. And He’s never let me down. I’m just so overwhelmed with love for my baby, so I’m grateful that I’m able to enjoy her. I have a great support system and I don’t take that for granted.
Also, I realise some so many moms don’t have the same or that are going through it and don’t even know what is happening to them. Post-Partum Depression, for example, is not talked about enough. This was my main reason for doing this interview.
To shed some light and also say – It happens and there’s light on the other side. You’re not crazy. You’re not a bad mom. Ask for help when you need it Or when you feel overwhelmed. Also, if your partner or friend just had a baby, look out for them as much as you can. It makes a world of difference.
What are things you liked from how your parents raised you (and want to repeat)?
My mum, especially, never took my voice away. I was always a confident, opinionated child. She let me be just that. I was raised with three elder brothers and not once did I feel like they were better because they were boys. I wasn’t raised to be “wife material”.
She taught me integrity and how to be a good person. I wasn’t afraid of her, but I respected her and her opinion of me. I could share pretty much anything with her. She supported my dreams even when she didn’t understand it.
I know the impact that had on me and I intend to emulate that as I raise my daughter. My dad was quieter, but he spoiled us rotten when we were kids. Lol. Ultimately, I just want to be a great parent. It’s one of the most important purposes of my life henceforth. So help me God.
One baby-sleep tip that you swear by!
I co-sleep. Lol. Didn’t start that way, but Deja wants what Deja wants. Also, I’m a light sleeper and I pretty much stay in the same spot and position all night, so this works for me. I think people should do what works for them, as long as they’re being as safe as possible.
Do you feel guilty when you have to step out leaving your child behind?
I hardly ever leave her, so I haven’t had to deal with this yet. I might leave for an hour to get something at the store. I’m lucky enough that I do the kind of job I do and control my own work hours.
But I have turned down certain things that would require me to leave her behind for long stretches. I’m not capable of it just yet. Plus I have trust issues. Plus I don’t want to. Lol. It is what it is
What are your red lines of parenting? What is absolutely ok/not ok for your child to do?
I think children (and people in general) should not be disrespectful to people, regardless of status or haughty. It will never be okay to look down on someone else. I want to raise a kid that looks out for the underdog and is kind, but also strong and fierce. But it’s important for me to lead by example.
What are your values as parents?
- Ati bee bee lo
The recent happenings in Nigeria have led to a growing desire amongst a lot of Nigerian parents, who understand the importance of good quality experience, better infrastructure, good governance, the best security and lots more. These parents want a better Nigeria for their kids, and Simi is certainly one of those parents.
She has been vocal about the social injustices in Nigeria, using her platform to amplify the #EndSARS movement online and offline, sensitizing Nigerians on getting their PVCs ahead of 2023 elections and doing all that is necessary, so the present and future generations will have a better Nigeria.