By Lwanele’s Mom

I thought I had seen it all, in the many years that I’ve lived. But I knew nothing!

I never knew that a pregnancy that is meant to be the most happiest of times can be a time of tears and constant worry.

I never knew that a human being can be born with so many things that are wrong. I never knew that parents could get depressed just because a child is born. I thought it’s meant to be a time of bliss and celebration. I never knew that  the words “congratulations” could feel and sound like mockery and an insult.

I never knew that a mom can go home and leave a tiny baby who needs cuddling and breastfeeding, and only come “see” them the next morning. By “see them” I mean just that. I never knew a mom can wait many weeks before they can hold their own baby. I never knew that a mom can only start breastfeeding their baby 6 weeks after they are born.

Well, I thought I had seen it all, but I knew nothing.

I never knew that a family can share their baby half-half with the doctors and hospitals. But here! I’ve seen it. 7 months home, 7 months in hospital.

I never knew that a big brother can be so excited and expectant to have a little brother only to continue to be a lonely child after their baby brother is born.

I never knew that a human being, a tiny little human being can have so many operations, needles, tubes and cables in just 1 year of life.

I thought I had seen it all but I knew nothing!

I never thought that strangers can become family and family can become strangers.

I never knew that those one deems as best friends can be the most distant. I never knew that those who one has never seen in person can be so available in one’s rainy and cloudy day! I never knew that those one used to see weekly or chat with daily can be so scarce.

I never knew that one could experience pure loneliness in a world that is so congested.

I never knew that one can go through so much pain and still be so happy. I never knew that a small person can be so loved and cherished by those who’ve never met him. I never knew that one could fail to breathe without help, yet God gives us free oxygen, sinners or saints!

I thought I had seen it all but I knew nothing.

I never knew that the idea of discharging someone could bring so much fear, uncertainty and panic. I thought it was always an exciting thing… But I realised that it actually can be a bitter sweet experience.

I never knew that a home can be turned into a pharmacy. A pharmacy full of all sorts of medication and different sizes of syringes, plasters and boxes full of cables. Boxes full of colostomy bags and feeding extensions and tubes.

I never knew that a bedroom can be turned into an Intensive Care Unit. Where the room is full of all sorts of machinery and equipment. Where those who enter should do so with sterile hands and face masks. Where hand sanitizers are not an option.

I thought I had seen it all but I knew nothing.