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Mommy-daughter love ... Joyce is making it work

Published:Thursday | October 15, 2015 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
Malcolm Hewitt’s daughter Kezia Hewitt
Kezia recounting happenings from school

Mandeville, Manchester

Joyce Malcolm-Hewitt might have waited a bit longer than others to have her first child, but the experience it afforded her and the unexplainable love she feels for her daughter makes all the bad she has ever encountered insignificant.

Since becoming a single parent, Malcolm-Hewitt has had to learn the art of balancing student life, professional life, and motherhood - none of which is part time.

An administrative assistant for the past 20 years and a mother for the past eight, recounting the joys of becoming a newbie mom is never a hard task, however, it was not all smooth sailing.

"After being on maternity leave for four months, I was not ready to leave my daughter at a nursery to go back to work. I contemplated being a stay-at-home-mom, but considering family expenses, that was not an option. When my then husband and I took her to the nursery for the first time, we were very early because I wanted to make sure that I gave the aunties (workers) all the instructions as to how to care for her. I struggled with the emotional trauma of letting her out of my sight."

She continued: "I would visit the nursery at least twice per day to breastfeed her as she was exclusively breastfed for almost six months. I would be at work listening out for the call from the nursery supervisor, and when it came in, whatever I was doing at my desk, I would leave it, walk quickly to the nursery and breastfeed her then head back to the office. Luckily for me, work was on the same campus."

With the support of colleagues and family, Malcolm-Hewitt gradually got back into the work flow, but some challenges were ever present.

"During the early weeks and months, I was convinced that I suffered from some aspect of post-partum depression. Kezia would sleep in the day and stay up at nights. I remember one day, she was awake all night, sleeping for a few moments and then be up again. For the entire night, I could not sleep. During the night, I got so depressed that I just put on her the bed in the other room and left her there for a while hoping she would just fall asleep on her own, but that didn't happen. I was praying for daybreak, when I was sure she was asleep, but up to about 10 a.m. the following morning, she was still awake."

As the baby got older and the young mother became more knowledgeable, she decided to make serious sacrifices to ensure her daughter's well-being.

"As a single parent, I have no 'me' time except for when she goes to sleep at 8 p.m. I have decided to make that sacrifice to give up all the fun activities I once enjoyed to stay home with her. I have given up Easter Camporees, summer camps, all social gatherings, hiking, early-morning or late-evening exercises, going out with friends, absolutely everything, just to be there for my daughter. It is even more difficult, seeing I don't have my own transportation, and I refuse to be up and down, with her tagging along with me."

Malcolm-Hewitt, however, loves watching movies with her daughter, teaching her songs and going through the bedtime routine of a story, a prayer, a hug, and a kiss.

"Looking back on life, I would not change anything about motherhood. My only regret is waiting so long to have my first child. One of my most memorable times with her as a baby was breastfeeding. I used to enjoy watching the toes twitching and seeing the look in her eyes, and she enjoyed her feeding time. My advice to moms is to enjoy every moment you can with your child. This experience only comes once in a lifetime, and once that is gone, it can never come back."