When I realized I was pregnant there were a series of emotions.
First I was worried because I had missed my periods and I had a vacation planned for Bali. I was not ok to manage the trip just in case this red best friend of mine planned to accompany me to the beautiful land of mountains and beaches.
Next, I was shocked as I had this long drawn issue of PCOD and was kind off told it’s impossible to conceive with the 3 mm by 3 mm large chocolate cyst settled in my ovary but as I held the pregnancy kit in my hand watching the two pink lines turn bright. I was shocked.
When it finally dawned upon me that I have conceived a baby I gave out this news to friends and family. I was super thrilled at the thought that I will be having a tiny baby in my arms in 9 months.
As I grasped this information, my nervousness crept in. And I wondered if I am really ready for this responsibility. If I really should or shouldn’t go ahead.
Then after a couple of weeks of pondering and thinking and morning sickness and fatigue and several types of mood swings ultimately there was acceptance to welcome this new human into our world.
As we moved ahead with this decision we finalized a good gynaecologist. We regularly visited her and had monthly check-ups, every time I went in I could hear the tiny heartbeat on the machine, we were told about the progress of the baby and everything was well, the baby was growing fine inside me. The sonograms were perfect. I was happy and getting plump, having food cravings, eating everything I wanted in the name of ‘Oh baby is asking for it.’ It was fun. We did not even realize and the nine months were gone in bliss.
It was just a day before my due date. A thought came into my mind that everyone with who I have been talking has told me about the birthing process, and what I should expect during the delivery. How should I prepare the hospital bag? but no one absolutely no one talked about the moment after the baby is born except what I should carry for the baby in my hospital bag.
But apart from that nobody ever told me or had any advice about being a mother, raising a child. I wondered what do I do with the baby how do I take care of it and that I don’t know anything. I Was just enjoying this pregnancy but now I know nothing. I was petrified.
I had a C-section when the baby was born or say was pulled out of me, I was told it was a boy and I was happy to know. I had a baby boy and I didn’t have any other emotions at that time. After the surgery when I was taken to my room, they again showed the baby and again I had no emotions. At that particular moment, I thought that was so wrong of me, that I don’t feel anything for my own baby. still, I didn’t feel connected.
Since I was operated the hormones didn’t naturally kick in to produce the breastmilk and I was unable to feed the boy. I felt Pressurised by the lectures from nurses, doctors and lactation consultants that how it has to be done, I just felt someone giving me a theory on how to swim but I cannot dive into the pool. The theory isn’t helping me. Sorry. Three days later, my boy was detected with jaundice which I found was common for newborns especially the ones delivered by C-section. Psssttt. Not at all easy, I was myself sewn up a few days ago, trying to recover and then the baby who I have been waiting for months is put in a box of light. I was horrified and I felt what have I gotten into.
Well, everything was fine after a week, we were back home with a healthy and recovered baby. But wait wait wait, the hospital rounds don’t just end here. For me of course, I have to get the stitches checked but for the baby, it was a full year of different vaccinations at a frequency of a month or so. Also, it didn’t finish at the vaccinations, post-vaccination fever and pain were welcome for the day. I shudder every time I remember those vaccination appointments. I was as much in pain as my little darling. The pricks on the tiny limbs were just too much to take.
Somehow, I mastered this breastfeeding, with inverted nipples that’s another issue but we won’t go into that. So, almost two months had passed and I will be honest I still did not feel very connected with my boy, I fed him, swaddled him, and cleaned him just like some tasks. Until one day, I tried to take some pictures with him, and he responded to all my cues, he looked at me, and I poked my tongue out, he did it. I winked, and he blinked. That day, I felt a connection. I had no idea why I had this gap, but yes, it took me two months to bond with my own baby. I talked to a very close friend of mine and found out this is normal and it’s a sign of postpartum depression. So, if you ever feel this with your future baby or are going through this too, do not worry. Consult your doctor, this happens to most mothers. It is common and can be treated, but please do seek help.
Moving ahead, as my son grew, every time I felt I have accomplished dealing with a certain tantrum. Ting, came a new one. As kids grow, they master several things by themselves. But thanks to social media, we have innumerable teachers, on baby-led weaning. Yes, a training for you to get your child to eat on their own and eat everything. I tried that and failed, tried again and succeeded and was happy but then I failed again. With his growing age, his food habits are changing, he likes a few foods, may chomp on them, feed himself happily but then a there are days where – Mommie has to feed me or I won’t eat. How can you say no to that cute demand? But how do you sit there for an hour when they chew slowly. Yet, you have to cope with it.
Then another battle – screentime or no screentime. Before becoming a mother, I would proudly say – ‘no my child will never get the screen, my child will be a complete bookworm’ And I tried that but it’s not as easy as it sounds. In today’s digital world it’s not possible not to give your child the screen. Sometimes you just need to give it for your sanity. There have been times when I just needed 15 minutes of quiet time but my son just hung on my shoulders for attention and the only thing that came to my rescue was a tab. I gave it to him so that I can peacefully give a visit to the loo or just lie down quietly.
Then the biggest aspect – what kind of a mother are you? Are you a working mom then you’ll have to hear things like you are running away from your responsibilities? The poor child is getting raised by a stranger because the mom cares for money more than the child. But the fact is working moms are away from the child for 10 -12 hours or even more depending on the job type. But these moms are constantly juggling their brains trying to justify the compensation they are receiving while also balancing the needs of the child. Some are pumping breastmilk in the restroom, some have to attend a call every two hours from the babysitter because she is confused, some have to make sure to leave exactly on time so that the baby can be picked up from the daycare and so on.
On the other hand, if you are a stay-at-home mom, you can be labelled as lazy, sitting around the house the whole day. No one might even notice the hardships, and forget listening to the woes associated with staying at home 24/7 with a tiny human. It becomes very lonely because there’s no one with whom they can share their feelings. These moms are either crying alone in the shower if at all they get time to shower peacefully or maybe mindlessly scrolling through the phones skipping their sleep because that’s the only quiet me-time they get. Their whole day is spent either wiping the bummies, feeding and cleaning up after them, picking up the mess made during the 3-5 mealtimes, a day’s laundry of the baby which is more than a week’s laundry for the whole house, and at all times making sure the baby is safe and constantly checking if they breathing. I admit I did this when my boy slept.
Then the biggest challenge arises, just in case there are any developmental delays in the child. No two children are the same and so no one can come up and exactly help you in this particular trial, except a few who might say – wait and see. At this time, when you might need a good professional counsellor to understand your as well as the child’s need, you may come across a few who would want to take advantage of your vulnerability. Yes, that happens too. I promise to take this up and share my experience in a future podcast. But for now, if you do have even an iota of doubt about any developmental delays in your child, seek professional help. Take multiple opinions but it’s always good to get early intervention than to wait and see.
All I want to say is there are several methods to prepare you for delivering the baby and your experience can be very similar to someone else’s. But your parenting experience might never be similar to another parent. You can anticipate what is coming your way, but you can never be sure it will be as you think it should be. No class or training can teach you parenting. Your experience will always be your best teacher.
Kids are a tiny version of us. We think parenting is methodically following a process to raise the little human. We think we can tame them but parenting is not taming. It is living and growing with a human who has a brain that signals and sends as many, in fact, more emotions than a fully grown adult. Raising them is principally understanding to deal with emotions and not expecting them to listen and obey just because they were born out of you. And this my friend is the toughest part. Not pregnancy, not birthing, the ultimate parenting project- is the toughest.
I wish there was something to prepare and tell a mother, that it won’t be easy. That It can get lonely, and depressing, you may rethink your decision, and feel that you made a wrong choice. But this is all a part of this journey. A baby comes with a package. If you love playing with them and listening to their coos, the repetitive playing can become frustrating and their loud constant blabbering can get on the nerves. Yes, the same child whom you adored a moment ago might feel like a monster the next moment. But it is not the child, it is us. We are the ones who need support, care and time-offs from being parents. Believe it or not, parenting is a full-time job and like any other job it can get monotonous and boring but you don’t have an option to quit. But what you can do is take a break.
You may feel – oh it’s easier said than done. But every problem comes with a solution.
We have to focus on the solution. Find our support, and build an eco-system where we can shape a harmonious life. Because similar to the pregnancy phase. this too shall pass in bliss. we may not be liking it initially but as we learn and master living with it, it will be gone. No more dependencies, no more mess, no tantrums, no screams, silence filled in the house. And before you realise it, years later, you may be sitting here listening to me talking about empty nest syndrome.
To listen to the audio podcast on this topic, click below –