For a lot of women, the pre-motherhood experience can be nerve-racking. The joy and expectation of delivering a baby made in love helps you overlook the “not so good bad” part of the pre-natal phase. But nothing prepares you for the walk into an uncharted territory from the point of birthing the baby to the experience thereafter. Motherhood provokes a mix of many emotions that can tear you apart and push you to make avoidable mistakes. Preparation is often demanded to limit these mistakes.
How do you prepare for what you have never experienced? Here are a few factors that must be properly managed to make the journey a memorable one:
Nothing prepares you for the experience of birthing a child. It is the most beautiful miracle there is. Watching the life you have carried rush out of you after unusual sensations in your body can be overwhelming. Some mothers laugh out loud in excitement. For others, crying is the next thing because of the reality that sets in. In all, this phase has to be enjoyed and endured for the whole journey to be a truly rewarding one.
Natural Birth/ Caesarian Section Problem
This is one challenge that a few mothers encounter. It is important to keep an open mind when it is time for the baby to be delivered. You might plan to have your baby naturally but something comes up and you are advised to do a C-section. Don’t refuse for religious purpose or because you want the world to call you strong, remember that the major thing is to have you and your child alive and well. Listen to the doctor and follow their instructions while you hope for the best.
The motherhood phase is so much work that you practically get to kiss personal time goodbye. You can dump the alarm clock for the first three months because that little baby controls your day as he/she depends on you for everything. One way to enjoy the phase is to get help from friends and relatives so you can rest and get back the strength to nurse your baby while taking care of yourself. Having people at home to help you will make it easy for you to sleep when the baby is asleep and wake up in time to attend to the baby’s needs.
It feels great to have a life that is comfortable and steady but nothing prepares you for the reality that stares you in the face after the children show up. It is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. Your body becomes different and you have so much on your plate that you sometimes ask God to take you home, lol. Stay sane by telling yourself it is a phase. It will get more tasking but easier as the children grow.
The Six-week Holiday
Contrary to the meaning of this word, this is not a walk in the park. It is not a trip to an exotic island to have fun, it is the time you are required to stay off sex after the baby shows up. Though you might choose to cut the holiday short for personal reasons, the doctors generally advise that you take at least 6 weeks off to help your body heal and prepare itself for the future.
This is one thing that has a way of rubbing you the wrong way. With all the baggage you get to deal with and the doubt you experience, having people lord their opinions over you can make you snap. However, you need to be careful so that you don’t lose relationships. You can avoid those who are fond of telling you what to do or grow a thick skin. Pick out what you find useful and discard other bits that are not alright by you. You are a mother with instincts and you will eventually find out what works for you.
Studies have shown that a lot of new mothers suffer from depression. The roller-coaster of emotional turmoil and the weight of being responsible for a new life can push you off the edge, mentally. Unfortunately, a lot of women do not speak up because of the high expectations the society has of mothers. A lot of women are told to shut up and get over their issues or told that it is all in their mind. Post-partum depression is real and it is important to get help before suicidal thoughts surface.
Exclusive Breastfeeding/Formula Feeding
Once the baby is born, you are left with caring for the child and ensuring he/she is well fed. It is not uncommon for this to cause issues between husband and wife or even relatives. EBF is the medically advised form of feeding because it is less expensive and neater since the breasts are usually washed. Wisdom is however profitable to direct. It makes no sense to lose your child or sanity due to underfeeding. Therefore, if you are not lactating enough, kindly add formula to the mix. Formula feeding requires extra care and neatness so as not to expose your child to infections. It is important to read the instructions on the tin and follow same through.
Birth Control Options
Getting pregnant immediately after having a child is not only expensive, it can affect your relationship with your husband and get you depressed. This is why you need to speak with your husband and work out a way to keep child-bearing on hold until you are mentally, emotionally and financially ready to go through the cycle again. Before the end of the six weeks holiday, you need to visit the hospital together and go through the options available. Consider the pros and cons and do the necessary tests to ascertain how the option will affect your health. It is important to give your doctor your medical history so you can get an option that suits you.
You might want to consider the following solutions to help manage the factors mentioned above
A problem shared is a problem half solved. If you feel like you are losing your mind, speak with a counsellor. A counsellor is trained to hear you pour out your mind and offer soothing words where necessary. You should go with your husband for such sessions so that he can benefit from it. Husbands often feel neglected because of the responsibility and shifted focus that comes with nursing a child. Talking about it and having him pour out his mind to a neutral person will help both of you bond as you work together to manage life as new parents.
Join a Support Group
New mothers are often frustrated because they are expected to be perfect and matured. Having a group of experienced mothers who are sympathetic to your plight to walk you through this stage will help you feel better and happier.
Work with your Spouse
It is important that you carry your husband along so you can bond with each passing day. The presence of relatives who want you to do things their way can frustrate you but your husband can speak for you and make your life easy so you don’t come across as rude when you are not comfortable with some suggestions. Tell him your challenges while you listen to his suggestions and work out a middle ground to sort out all the issues that comes with the new phase.
The mind is the seat of power. Your will can get you through the toughest season of your life. Draw strength from within and do the best you can for you and your family. Don’t strive to be perfect, just live each day as it comes. Do what you can do and leave the rest. You can also get someone to help with the chores so that you don’t crumble under pressure.
While motherhood is both tasking and exciting, it is a beautiful experience with wonderful memories. Do your best and enjoy all that comes with it.