This is Day 8 of my 30-day writing challenge. I am loving it thus far because apart from staying accountable (having declared it publicly in this post), it also causes me to reflect on nuggets of wisdom I may have missed out in my Postpartum Depression Journey.
When I was pregnant, apart from the constant cake craving I had ( I ate cake for 7 days straight up till labour commenced), one of the things that’d nag at the back of my mind was the anxiety of bringing a child into this world. Granted, I had helped babysit a couple of my cousins, but apart from that, there was not much I could relate to. How do you fasten the diapers? What do you do when you suspect they have a bad stomach? Pray, tell, how will I cope with co-sleeping? Won’t I roll over the baby if I dozed off? And on and on my questions rolled.
So, I read as much as I could on mom blogs, websites, magazines… whatever I could get my hands on. When the contractions began one fine Monday evening, it dawned on me that nothing could have prepared me better for motherhood, except, well, motherhood. Here are the 10 things I’d tell my pregnant self.
- Stop wasting your time organizing and picking at every little thing in the house.
I remember cleaning, scrubbing, dusting, wiping every surface. You know, because babies can look you in the eye and tell you it is dusty. All this cleaning, even when I felt 59 months pregnant and I couldn’t see my toes. Spend time relaxing and resting instead because for the next year or so, it is gonna be a marathon. Plus, once baby starts to crawl, organization starts to feel foreign.
- Enjoy you-time.
Fall in love with been alone, spending time in solitude. Shopping alone. Going to the park for reflective walks alone. Using the bathroom, alone. In less than 12 months’ time, you will not be able to do much of these without a little mammal trying to keep you company in the bathroom, and at the park, you are gonna have to run after said mammal 🙂
- NEVER question the mom whose kid is throwing tantrums at in the supermarket.
Stop rolling your eyes at her inability to stop the wrecking ball that is her toddler. Stop wondering aloud which kind of mom does not discipline her children. Because, this is a stage. As you will learn soon too, you cannot afford to cave in to Little One’s (LO) demand whenever they kick up a storm ‘cuz you didn’t put Kitkat and Lyons Icecream in the shopping trolley. Part of motherhood is gentle but firm decisions, and ignoring quizzical bystanders like you is part of that too.
- Breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks.
It may look natural, but trust me it is not. The first few days before you get your footing are the hardest, physically and emotionally. You need to learn to help baby latch well. For Christ’s sake, use nipple cream to ease the pain. Nothing is more painful than suckling baby through sore, painful, dried scabbed nipples.
- Drop the superwoman ATT
You heard me right. Babies require attention, and you will get exhausted every so often. Don’t try to do it all on your own. If someone offers to help, snap the offer and run! If they offer to watch baby for a couple of hours, don’t reject the offer. Thank me later.
- Take time every so often to steal away for you (and your partner).
Before baby is born, you have all the time to schedule and follow your plan. Babies have this innate ability to turn your schedules upside down. Whenever possible, take some time off to rest and rejuvenate. It doesn’t have to be a whole day; even two hours will refresh you. Whether it is a spa session, or a hike outdoors, or a trip to the farm, whatever rocks your boat. Do not ignore your partner either, get activities to enjoy together.
Read More: Letter to a new mom
- You may not be able to bond with baby immediately.
Many moms-to-be will relate to the assumption that the moment baby is born there is an instant bond. For many, this is true, but not for all. Whether due to the events surrounding child labour, or the circumstances of delivery, or the trauma of the whole experience, some moms do not form that immediate attachment. And it is okay to give yourself time to appreciate the lifetime changes that have taken place.
- If situations transcend beyond just ‘not bonding with baby’, get help.
Get help because this could be indicative that you suffer from PPD. When you cannot connect and love on your child for prolonged periods, or are angry/bitter at been a mom, you may need to get help. Postpartum blues are common, and these do not usually last more than a few weeks. When they do, seek help. Read some of the symptoms of PPD here.
- Don’t dwell too much on the EDD (Expected Due Date)
Babies have a way of taking their sweet time as the EDD approaches. Don’t fuss too much over this (as much as you feel like a pregnant jumbo elephant with absolutely no way of shaving your lady parts :D). Just savor the moment when you can enjoy the kicks while they last. Soon, you will be dodging the kicks of a toddler who has the energy of combined nuclear plants!
- Children will grow, eventually.
Do not despair at the lack of sleep, incessant crying, intolerance to different ingredients and a temper shorter than the memory of a goldfish. It does not last forever. They do grow up, they morph into intelligent little human beings, in 3 years, you will be amazed that you can hold a conversation with them. You will be intrigued by the things that pique their interests! Learn to enjoy the different stages, snap the milestones, live in the present!
Do you relate to any of the ten things? What would you have told your pregnant self? Anything hilarious thing you thought pre-baby that would make you slap yourself in the face with an ice cream cone? Looking forward to hear your thoughts 🙂
That said, I feel like eating cake, and ice cream. Below is one of my fave pregnancy shoot photos, courtesy of Peter Cacah
Featured Image Photo credits: ColourBox