Interview: Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis
Mati, a doctor specializing in Internal Medicine, is the mother of my 2-year-old niece, wife to my brother and my sister-in-love. This Songbird agreed to answer a few questions about her perinatal journey (between saving lives and being a light in the darkness).
1. In your own words, tell me about your pregnancy.
Loved my pregnancy. Would be classified as "normal" except I had 3 fibroids which I needed extra monitoring for because they can get larger and cause complications. Mine caused no issues and I got more ultrasounds to monitor them as a result. Female pregnancy. I suspected because I had an "off" feeling and my breasts were tender. I asked Jesse to pick up some pregnancy tests and peed on 3 sticks to make sure. 2. What were some concerns you had once you discovered your pregnancy?
I had a dental emergency right away so had concerns about anesthesia for surgery. Ended up doing it without which was very painful. I also work in Infectious Disease and there are some diseases that I am not allowed to assess patients for because they pose a risk to me and baby. I was very anxious and had to disclose my pregnancy earlier to people I otherwise would never want to disclose that early to, so they understood why I wasn't comfortable. Other than that I was elated and everything about my pregnancy was beautiful, spiritual and so personal to me.
"Be honest about your experience."
3. General life of your pregnancy; how was the experience? Did any of your concerns come to fruition?
I had a beautiful pregnancy. Very few issues (nausea, back pain, acid reflux). I loved feeling her. watching my belly grow. I sang to her throughout my pregnancy, specifically our song "You are my sunshine". I have an amazing husband who was very present so it added a layer of intimacy to our relationship I had never experienced before.
4. What are some perinatal tips you would use or avoid if you experienced the exact same pregnancy?
Keep all prenatal visits. Only disclose to people you trust and are supportive. Be present in the process. Be honest about your experience. 5. What role, if any, did music play in your perinatal journey? Include any good or bad effects you may have noticed.
I sang to her. My husband played a lot of music to her too. He is very musically inclined.
6. How were things in the first year of your postpartum period? Were they different from your expectations? How?
I was surprised by how attached I was to her to the point of obsession. She was born in winter and I was not comfortable taking her outside for weeks or possibly exposing her to illness. I wouldn't leave her and my mother was incredible and patient and really helped me get more comfortable. It was beautiful. I loved breastfeeding. It is the most beautiful, intimate thing I have ever experienced. Having a husband who is a pediatrician definitely helped with the feeling of not knowing and helplessness I encountered. 7. How did that experience affect you mentally and/or emotionally?
Mentally, being a working mother at such a high level was the hardest. work was not always the most supportive and I always felt (still do) a lot of guilt being away from her. That is something I work very hard on. I'm big on quality time and always being present with her. 8. What are some things that you would say to yourself during your stressful times, good or bad?
Reassure myself that I'm a good mom. Pray. Talk to my husband. Speak to allies and people that were consistently supportive and available. I have 2 go-to mom friends that I trust not to be judgmental. 9. What is your favorite music/song/genre/artist? When do you feel the urge to listen? What do you use the music for?
Afrobeats, hip hop and r&B. Maxwell as an artist. At work, driving mostly.
I had a beautiful pregnancy...I have an amazing husband who was very present so it added a layer of intimacy to our relationship I had never experienced before.