Pregnancy is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful phase in a woman's life. Everyone around showers her with special care and attention. From the food menu to family outings, all are planned, keeping in mind the expecting mother and her likes and dislikes. Moreover, special care is taken to ensure that she doesn't take any unnecessary stress, while everyone around makes extra effort to keep her happy.
And once the baby arrives, everything turns the other way round. The baby becomes the point of all care and attention, while the new mother takes a backseat. Yes, she's still looked after, but often she's supposed to know it all and take care of everything on her own.
Moreover, the changes in life and routine that come with a new baby lead to many other changes that a new mother may not have thought about earlier. While she grapples to get a hold of her new life, her old life gradually slips away; and before she knows it, it's gone. Those quiet moments with her husband when they talked endlessly, the 'Me' time when she could read or surf the TV channels aimlessly, the impromptu shopping trips and coffee with friends, all seem to be a part of another lifetime that seems distant and strangely unfamiliar.
For a woman, having a child is a life changing experience. And it is at this time that she needs the most support and love. Here is a woman who has just had a baby and is still coming to terms with her new self, her new life and even her new body. Yes, she understands that she has a new being to look after, but she is also yet to come to terms with it all. Suddenly, her life isn't what it used to be and while she knows this fact, it'll take her some time to embrace it. At this point, over burdening her with expectations is a little too much. She's not running away, but needs her time.
I, too, was completely baffled with the way my life changed. As I went into labor 2 weeks earlier, I was actually counting on those 2 weeks to prepare better (of course, there's nothing like being prepared for this, to be honest). There was a time, when I felt I'd lose it completely. I was depressed most of the time, with exhaustion and sleeplessness adding to my condition. And the worst of it all was that I knew what I could fall into (postpartum depression) if I didn't take immediate action. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. However, as I could well fathom my condition, I struggled to stay afloat and sought support immediately. For me, as always, it was my sister who stepped up and helped me cope. Gradually, as a routine set in, I was able to gather myself and work towards being a better and more balanced parent.
At this time, what's more stressing is also the hoards of advices, you are showered with, solicited or unsolicited (mostly). However, with the new age mothers more aware and competent, it's easier to know or find out what's best for your baby.
The worst of it all, for me, was when at the first cry of the baby, everyone around would turn and tell me the baby is hungry, no matter that the baby had just taken his feed and burped! Unable to figure out why my baby would cry, I, too, would have been lead to believe that breastfeed was not sufficient and I needed to top it up with formula milk. Thankfully, on the first follow up with the pediatrician on my baby's 5th day, we discussed this, and he told me to hear everyone, but listen only to him.
This was only one of 'the things', as there is so much more that keeps coming from all corners. Well, this makes for a separate blog post altogether; but these, too, play a substantial role in bogging down a new mother.
It is now that your support system comes into play. Hence, it's critical to keep the communication going, be it with your husband, parents, siblings or friends. Of course, everyone would be too awed by the new baby, but they sure understand there's a new mother too. However, if you don't speak up, they might just assume that all is well. This, in turn, would make you feel worse.
Take out some time for yourself, however little that might be. It could be a nice hot bath or a good cup of tea in peace (chances are that your baby will cry out just at these moments though). You can even put on some soothing music, which would be therapeutic for you and soothing for your baby. Going for a quick 15 minute stroll to the neighborhood park while your husband babysits would work wonders. Basically, anything that gives you some time and space to recollect and refresh yourself.
So, while you work towards becoming a great Maa, don't forget you're an individual who needs her space and time. You owe it to yourself.
Will be back with more.
Till then, take care and stay precious :)