I am a first time mom." As soon as I hear these words, I know for sure that I will be in conversation with someone who is distracted, confused and exhausted, yet happy!
Isn't that a strange combination? Motherhood is undeniably an extraordinary phenomenon for which no books, journals or family support can prepare you. A mom is as old as her baby. I can vouch for these feelings as I went through this transformation about ten months ago. So, if you are on your way to be a mom soon, let me share some of my personal observations. My views and opinions regarding motherhood, however, are an ongoing innovation and I do not guarantee, warrant or claim that every first time mom will go through this metamorphosis.
The first moment when you see your baby, is not as romantic as you have always imagined based on how Hollywood depicts such an encounter. The opening scene is always in a rush where you see a little human shrieking loudly while you are surrounded by doctors and nurses. Unfortunately, there is no time for that emotional kiss on the forehead and a selfie. You hardly have any strength or time to capture that moment. Later on, you do get some time for a photograph, which again rarely turns out to be aesthetic. While you are learning to co-exist with this new status, brace yourself, as now the ‘judgment brigade’ will bombard you with their totkas.
... a baby is born to two people. We as new mothers forget that we have a new father around as well who should share the burden of parenthood.
The constant verdict mafia makes ‘mom-ing’ immensely hard, where breastfeeding in public is offensive but formula feeding is frowned upon, when co-sleeping is dangerous but rocking your baby to sleep is wrong. For most of us sleep training means you don’t love your baby but not having your baby on a schedule means you have no control over your baby. It is unquestionably baffling when putting your child in a bouncer or walker is considered to be detrimental to their development but holding them too much is spoiling them. What to do when being a stay-at-home mom means you’ve given up your career or dreams and setting wrong examples for your children but putting them in childcare and going back to work means you’re going to miss out on all of the important things. New mothers go bonkers when they are told that getting your child shots is like injecting them with poison but if you don’t get your baby vaccinated you’re endangering the world. The judgment brigade can go to any length when they see that you’re trying to be confident in your motherhood and try to convince you that you’re doing it ALL wrong.
Now comes the next stage and beware! Prepare to battle the notorious mom guilt — yes, it is REAL. You get to hold this little human who is all yours and oh, you don't even know why it’s crying — talk about Guilt Alert! As soon as the baby starts wailing, everyone turns around for you to reveal what has happened to the baby and yes, you, ‘the mother’, are as clueless as any stranger in the room. Before you even know, you start changing diapers, mixing formula milk or feeding the baby while making mistakes on an hourly basis and sinking deeper and deeper in the guilt. You, the much-pampered ex-pregnant woman, are now supposed to be a know-it-all, an expert on babies! Your physical condition, emotions, and health take a back seat while you start overthinking about the most bizarre things in the world. I remember, I used to check my baby at least 5-6 times a night just to make sure he was breathing. Everything and anything can make you worried for your little one and yet you won’t be able to answer if someone asks you how it feels to be a mother.
If you sleep while the baby is sleeping (most of the people will tell you to do so), you will feel guilty for not utilizing that time for bathing, cooking or other household chores. However, if you do not sleep, you will be tired. This onus takes over your whole existence and you will have to struggle a lot to sail through it. I personally started this battle by going to the cinema after my baby was born. I always loved watching movies on the silver screen and stopped doing so after his birth. The reason was that I did not want to be labelled as a ‘bad’ mom who leaves a little baby at home to go to the movies. Learn to battle this guilt as soon as possible or it will change into resentment very quickly. My lesson for the initial few weeks was to realize the fact that a baby is born to two people. We as new mothers forget that we have a new father around as well who should share the burden of parenthood.
Initially, motherhood is all about surviving the confusing days and sleepless nights. It was shocking to know how lonely it can get when you always have a little one around. You hardly get to accomplish a task. Something and everything is always incomplete, always ongoing. While your partner gets to go to work and have some adult interaction, you end up googoo, gagaga-ing at home. After a little while you feel as if you are not being heard or seen. At that point, start socializing, stay in touch with friends and family, even if it is through social media. In case you feel the loneliness is triggering feelings of high resentment, regret or self-harm, urgently seek professional help.
... it is not going to be some magical moment but a beautiful process of falling in love. While doing your routine tasks with this new member of your household, one day you will realize you happily want to readjust your whole life for this baby.
I always tried to figure out when this relationship starts shaping up with love and not feel like a duty? Once again, it is not going to be some magical moment but a beautiful process of falling in love. While doing your routine tasks with this new member of your household, one day you will realize you happily want to readjust your whole life for this baby.
Lastly, how should one survive the initial few months of motherhood? I would suggest focusing only on yourself and the baby. Forget about how untidy the room is or how messy your hair looks. Give serious priority to your health. Take healthy meals and supplements. Rest as much as possible and make sure to seek professional help if you feel you might have to encounter postpartum depression. An important aspect of new mommy-hood is that you should know your team. In case you get exhausted or lose control, delegate tasks to your partner and close ones. I would definitely recommend that as soon as it is possible, start socializing with friends and family who do not care how you look. Stay away from the ones who judge you on your appearance or ideas about raising your baby. Accept the change and learn to take out at least 30 minutes for yourself every day. Last but not the least, during these days you might lose or make friends which is part and parcel of this new journey. Take a deep breath and remember that motherhood is an evolutionary process and with every passing day when you will see your little human growing up and smiling at you, it will all be worth it! HH
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