We have been told by the TV, magazines, and our neighborhood aunties that motherhood is a beautiful experience and sure it is.
How a mother starts feeling immense love for her newborn and how she wants to sacrifice her needs for that bundle of joy. And sure everything is true, but what we are not able to express sometimes is the anxiety, panic, and use-lessness we feel with all the above.
Today I am going to share a very important message with all my co-mommy, mommy-to-be, and new mommys.
It’s really important to talk about this.
The Jolly Molly
My pregnancy phase was one of the best times of my life. I was all pampered and loved by everyone, especially my husband. Thank you, Gaurav! It is the time I am going to cherish all my life.
When I was pregnant, I was looking forward to having the baby, I knew it would be a life-changing event. I was mentally prepared and excited too.
I started gaining weight, being very petite all my life, it was really difficult my me to accept my new body. Still, I was hopeful that I will lose weight post-delivery.
My pregnancy lasted for 39 weeks and my daughter was born. I felt immense joy and I knew something incredible has just happened to me. That feeling was immeasurable.
But you will be surprised that people came to congratulate me and jokingly said that now you are a mom, You had a c-section and you will be overweight for life. According to them, it was impossible to go back to the same size if a woman had a baby by C section. Many relatives even looked down upon me as if I was not a mother enough. I had not given birth naturally and I didn’t endure that pain they expected me to go through. I could not fill my daughter fully as my breastmilk was not produced in enough quantity for the first few days. I kept trying.
I kept ignoring such comments. When I came back home from the hospital after 4 days, I felt fragile. A sudden change in hormones took me on a roller coaster ride of different moods. Suddenly everything was bigger! Stretch marks, painful breasts, no major difference in belly except for it was saggy now and those painful stitches.
I was not able to walk more than 10 steps. I felt tired all the time having no energy left. Though there were people to help me with nursing, still I had to take care of my baby. From changing nappies to feeding her, making her comfortable when she cried, and those sleepless nights. I felt useless and like crap. I hated my body and the time-consuming process of healing post-pregnancy.
And then people visiting me and my baby very authoritatively told me that now I have to sacrifice my dreams and wait at least 5 years to pursue my career, as being a new mommy is a full-time job.
I felt that I had made a huge mistake by getting married and becoming a mother, I felt that I was not ready. I didn’t have a good feeling about the whole situation. I thought my life is hell now as it will revolve around wet nappies, keeping one breast out all the time and listening to the infinite advice of everyone I come across. And sometimes I used to sit and cry because of the sudden change in my life. I felt like leaving everything behind and running somewhere, not sure where, but away from all these responsibilities.
I even felt that my baby is not as cute as other babies and immediately after that, I used to feel guilty about being a horrible person and a horrible horrible mother. I was too afraid to share this with anyone because you know, how easy it is for people to judge you. I knew it was not a permanent feeling and just a phase that will pass on.
Oh, here comes the science
I started reading about this all. This was the point when I came to know about post-partum depression. Which is very very common among new moms.
I came up with fighting this on my own. Here is how I did it!
- Take care of yourself- Take a nice long bath. Make new braids every day. Don’t skip your massage sessions- those were my favorites, and wear fresh, comfortable clothes every day. Put some Kohl and moisturizer on your skin. Start going for a short walk, and listen to your favorite songs. Don’t read too many news/posts on social media. They are the main reasons for anxiety.
- Bond with your baby- I started doing a monthly photoshoot of my baby. Every month I used to track her progress and the moments when she made me smile in awe. I started talking to her, sharing some of the wonderful moments I had with her father. I told her how her daddy use to take care of me when I was pregnant. I narrated the pastimes of Lord Krishna. I use to play Narasimha Kavacham to put her to sleep.
- Talk to your partner- After a few weeks, I shared this trauma with my husband. He was very supportive and gave me all his love and affection without any judgment. He made me feel like a warrior when I was at my weakest. He told me how wonderful it is to give birth to a baby, and how wonderful it is to feel that your body is capable of miracles. He reminded me of how beautiful and sexy my body still was.
- Take it easy and restore your energy- Ask for help. For me, the healing process started when I started working out and resumed my daily routine slowly and steadily. I took my own happy time to complete my day-to-day work. I asked for help from whoever was present be it my parents’ grandparents, siblings, friends, or in-laws. They were happy to help.
Lastly, I switched off all my social media accounts for three months to be away from further negativity and comparison with other friends. Just remember you are in your time zone. The first few months are going to be extremely difficult for a new mommy. But it’s all worth watching your baby grow into a wonderful human being.
I lost the extra weight in a year by working out at home, regained my confidence, and started dancing again. I now wear my stretch marks with pride and love watching my baby dance with me!
Author: Ritika Bissa