I’ve always admired the above artwork at Bandra.
‘A child gives birth to a mother’.
A lovely play on words and high on insight.
As a mother of a 9-month old, I can confirm the veracity of the thought. However, it is incomplete. A child gives birth to a mother and muddles her up emotionally, physically, mentally, and even intellectually. Yes, the miracle of childbirth takes a toll. Often-times minor, Sometimes major.
I’m hoping my experience and lessons will help 1st-time mothers as they are the most naïve and desperately need help.
The Most Critical Lesson: Respect Your Body
I have always been in awe of a woman’s body and how much it goes through in a lifetime.
But pregnancy takes this awe to another level. As the baby grows, everything inside your body shifts to make space for the little one while keeping the little one fed and safe. But this process has repercussions in terms of weight, body proportions, and hormonal changes.
One might understand the changing body, but accepting it is another task altogether. It is crucial to listen to your body & instincts through this journey because no one else knows how you are feeling.
My pregnancy was a rather difficult one. While I intended to join prenatal classes and walk regularly, my body was unable to comply. Sometimes I felt it and sometimes depressed, but I had to listen to my body.
So, I rested up as much possible and tried my best to stay patient & calm. Though I still regret not relaxing enough and not taking it easy on myself during that time.
Another Equally Critical Lesson
Try and avoid a Caesarean it is drastic. I had one, didn’t have a choice. Now I see natural childbirth, hypnotherapy, and water therapy mom’s active and recovered while I discover a new ache in my stitches or spine every week. Not to mention the emotional and psychological repercussions of not looking & feeling like the pre-pregnancy days.
Research all options and make an educated choice.
Get a doctor who is willing to answer all your queries with patience, address your fears with empathy & share all relevant information well in time. My first doctor had information only when asked philosophy that didn’t work for me.
Respect Yourself & Others Will Too
Birthing is a miracle of nature, but since it happens so often, people might take it for granted. They forget to be sensitive and empathetic. It is critical to stand up for yourself make and make sure they understand your struggles and eschew any well-intentioned but hurtful teasing or comments.
Pregnancy is different for everyone, much like our fingerprints – unique. So never compare your pregnancy with another – everyone’s recovery & struggles are different.
Clear Understanding with Your Partner
A prepared partner is the secret sauce. There will be hormones, there will be anger, there will be self-doubt. And they better be ready with all the answers. Cold coffee and Masala Maggi both are perfectly acceptable answers. And they will be required at any time during the day or night.
Partners MUST know their roles in the pregnancy. From taking the prenatal classes together, making the hospital bag, and helping with breathing during the procedure itself, they play a crucial role, and finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help – night nurse, parents, in-laws, & friends. And embrace all the pampering. You deserve it!
The Big DAY
The reality is NO ONE can actually prepare you enough for the DAY. It’s painful, and it’s scary. Keep your hospital bag stocked and your loved ones close.
Afterbirth Is Painful
The pain and soreness invade every sinew of your body. Painkillers don’t seem to work. If you had surgery the pain is exponential. It’s almost like learning to walk again or to turn on the sides again, almost like your body has forgotten those basic movements.
Prepare yourself to go from the Queen of the Ball to Talent Manager. Yes, all the pampering is reserved for the baby now. You just manage her/him.
Yes, it is a real thing, and it will break you down. I can’t tell you how much I have cried.
With your body trying to heal, your hormones act up, the pains and aches don’t seem to subside. You still have to do everything for your baby. Add depression into the mix, and it just becomes all too overwhelming.
Take help. Reach out to a counselor. And be gentle on yourself. YOU have been through a LOT!
Speak with your doctor and get an IUD if you do not wish to get pregnant again in a hurry. A lot of people avoid protection assuming somehow that a recently delivered woman is sterile and end up getting pregnant within 6 months of delivery!
The Saving Grace
The little munchkin of joy makes everything worthwhile…almost.
Encourage your partner to put on some sympathetic pregnancy weight and lose it together. Better still if they do NOT lose it before you. ( It’s ok, you are allowed to be a little selfish).
Finally, you always have the Indian mother’s war cry:
I cut open my stomach for you, so you better be nice to me, junior!