Being a new mother can be a daunting and confusing task, especially if you do not have a clue what you are doing. “Do what you feel is right and safe for both you and the baby,” advises Makeup Studio owner, Secondary School Teacher and Mother of three (two boys and a girl), Kutlwano Kelly Ntshekisang famously known to her legion of followers as ‘Missy Kay’.
The energetic and candid 32-year-old – who documented her last pregnancy on Facebook from conception to birth, something uncommon amongst Batswana women – fields our questions:
You seem to really enjoying motherhood and you are on baby number three; what is your ideal number of kids?
MISSY KAY: Six – three girls; three boys. What will stop me from my goal are the expenses incurred in bringing a human being into this world. Nappies, milk, and school fees. It is a difficult task.
How different is your experience of motherhood on baby number 3 compared to the first one?
MISSY KAY: With my first child I had no say in the confinement period (botsetsi) since I was a new mom and needed advice and support from elders. We did everything traditionally. I was kept in a separate room from the rest of the family. I had separate dishes and cutlery and no one was allowed in the room except my caretakers; mom and my grandma. The baby’s dad was not allowed to see the baby until he was three months old. But he sneaked in at the hospital for the baby’s six weeks check-up!
When did things normalise?
MISSY KAY: We went back to stay with him when the baby was three months.
How is the experience different with your baby girl?
MISSY KAY: It’s totally different now as it’s just me, the nanny and the baby’s dad helping. I don’t have a separate room from my partner and we have been sleeping on the same bed since the day we were released from hospital. I cook for the whole family, something I could not do with my first born.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
MISSY KAY: The baby has been sleeping with us on the same bed, (mum, baby and dad).
So now you don’t stay in confinement anymore?
MISSY KAY: Not at all. I run family errands; going to the shops, picking my other kids from school. I pump breast milk for the nanny to feed her while I’m out and about. I am not tied to the house like before. This also gives me time to do my favourite pastime – dressing up.
Leaving the house when the baby is still too small goes against the tradition; what is your response to that?
MISSY KAY: We have to understand that times have changed and what was done in the past is not 100% practical for the busy woman of today. Culture is dynamic and has to suit the lives we lead today. Nowadays, life is on fast mode and we need to as women step up and not lose our place in the world.
All your children are bi-racial. Could that have something to do with your dynamic approach to botsetsi?
MISSY KAY: Certainly, we are a global village and meet people of different cultures and start families with them and for one to practice their own fully and ignore the other’s culture is unfair. A bit of compromising is needed to allow both cultures to co-exist, in the process creating a whole new culture for the family unit.
You publicly shared moments of your pregnancy and even did a rather controversial photo shoot revealing your bulging belly, despite some’s disapproval. Your take?
MISSY KAY: It is my pregnancy and I will do what makes me happy. Pregnant women have enough troubles as it is; the concerns of the little person they are bringing into the world and the mood swings and body changes. Society should not dictate to me on how to carry my babe. I want to enjoy every step of it and I can only achieve that by doing what makes me happy.
How do you block out the negativity?
MISSY KAY: By admitting that in life people will always have something negative to say no matter what you do. So doing what you believe is right for you and your child.
You at one point offered people advice on how to fall pregnant, where did you get the information?
MISSY KAY: I use the internet a lot, so whilst planning for my third child I came across information on how to conceive a baby girl. I really wanted a sister for my two boys. I came across a pregnancy chart called Chinese pregnancy calendar that follows a woman’s cycle and points out the opportune times to conceive either a boy or a girl. I followed the guide and wallah! I am the mother of a beautiful baby girl!
Has the technique helped anyone other than yourself?
MISSY KAY: Yes, four women got the results they wanted and are currently pregnant after joining the WhatsApp group I created after conceiving a girl using the technique.
Why did you feel the need to create the platform?
MISSY KAY: It was obviously to help other ladies conceive. It hit me that most of us are not aware of the vast information available to us on different topics.
Who do you look up to for inspiration?
MISSY KAY: I follow celebrities such as South African Takkies. She was one of the most energetic preggies I had ever seen and that gave me a new perception of pregnancy and urged me to enjoy my last one.
What is your philosophy in life?
MISSY KAY: Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated. My life philosophy is ‘be real, be humble, be strong’ whilst being able to share yourself and touch the lives of others.