Life's Like That

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Wise Mother Speaketh..

Ever noticed how everybody and their sister feels free to give advice on pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing? Even mothers with one month more child rearing experience than you will give you advice. Why then, I thought, should I be left behind in the advice giving race? So here goes, pearls of wisdom from the Wise Mother…read and learn y’all

Pregnancy:

Do not take pregnancy books or websites very seriously. One weekly email alert ecstatically told me that the baby could now perceive light and sound and so shining a torch at my belly would make him / her squirm away from it…movement I would feel and presumably coo over. Feeling very much in the mood to coo I stood with my tummy bared in all its pregnant glory, shining a torch at it, and feeling more and more ridiculous with every passing second. The baby did not budge. She had obviously not been listening when I read that email update and did not know what was expected of her.

There will be people around you at all times who will try to stop you from doing anything resembling normal life activities. Please ignore them. You know you are pregnant and you should know what is ok to do and what isn’t. Driving wont hurt you, unless your doctor has specifically forbidden you to drive. The same applies to cleaning the house, cleaning the fridge, walking, squatting..in fact squatting is good exercise and prepares you for childbirth. Just listen to your doctor and to an extent your mother. Ignore others..including your mother in law. Especially your mother in law.

This is an excellent time to express and vent. Feel free to snap at anyone who annoys you. In fact I suggest you seek out people you detest and tell them exactly what you think of them. You can always blame it on the hormones.

Childbirth

Is OMG awful. As I lay gasping and panting on the delivery table, I clasped the Boy’s hand and made him agree that one was a very good number indeed. I now think he was scared for the safety and health of his hand, wisely refrained from expressing a different opinion.

If you have ever had body image issues, are not comfortable with your body, or like me are just plain weird about having people or even photographs in the room where you change clothes..childbirth is guaranteed to cure all of that. Random people you have never seen before in your life will walk upto you and casually stick their hands right up unmentionable places. Yet more random people will come and take a quick peek in those same unmentionable places like its the most normal thing in the world. And after the first couple of times, you will be so completely beyond caring and so wanting it to be over, you might take to asking these random people for status updates.

Your water will break at some point during labor. It will probably be the weirdest sensation you have felt in a while. Do not, however, call the nurse frantically and say “eeeee I seem to be leaking fluids”. Apparently thats not an appropriate way to describe it and they might laugh at you..which might make you rather murderous. In which case, do stop to check if that irritating ringing mobile phone actually belongs to your partner before grabbing it and trying to do it some harm. Chances are it might belong to the hapless nurse and you will have to apologise profusely for your rashness.

Bringing up baby

Breastfeeding is hard. People told me this but I did not realize how hard till I actually got to it. Its worse than labour. Vent. Get help, hire lactation consultants, doulas, buy a breastpump, join a support group. If it sorts itself out then great; if not, then you need to adopt and adapt survival strategies. Strategy number one: Say to yourself that formula is not as bad as its made out to be. Remind yourself that no one has ever asked you if you were breastfed or bottle fed. That it didn’t make any difference to anyone’s life beyond a point. Strategy number two: Learn to lie. Childbirth somehow gives the world license to show an uncomfortable amount of interest in your mammary glands. Everyone from the maid to the aunty next door to the random man at the doctor will feel free to enquire you are “feeding”. Look them in the eye and say YES emphatically. Add a line about how you insist on giving the baby the verrrrrrry best. Telling the truth will mean unwanted and annoying gyan which you dont need to hear. Strategy number three: find a friend who has also gone through hell and back over the breastfeeding issue. Swap stories about other exclusively breastfed babies you might know who are colicky/ have acid reflux/have caught a cold/ have fever, and say “See breastfeeding is not the magic key to a problem free baby.” Strategy number four: Find a paediatrician who speaks your language. Most paediatricians are male assholes who have never gone through childbirth or breastfeeding themselves but who will spout gyan and judge you and assume that you haven’t tried. They will refuse to help you with formula feeding, and will keep telling you to continue to try breastfeeding. The baby’s hungry wails will drive you insane. Your sanity is as important as that breastmilk you want to feed the baby. Find a doctor who supports you and recognizes that you really have done all you could. Formula feeding or mixed feeding needs a doctors guidance on how much to give the baby...find a doctor who will listen and help.

Stay with your mother for 3 months if you can. This is the time when you will truly appreciate your mom. And no your mother in law, no matter how nice can never take your mom’s place.

If possible have someone else take the baby for the night once in a while so you can get some sleep. If you are bottle feeding then its no issue at all. In case you are breastfeeding, you can always pump and refrigerate. This really is important for your sanity.

Keep your sense of humor as close to the surface as you can. It will get you through the sleepless nights and the potty on your hand in the middle of the night episodes like nothing else can. That and quick access to Facebook and G Talk.

Ignore most people. God has given you two ears for this express purpose.gyan in from Ear One, gyan out from Ear Two.

Feel free to continue to snap and vent. This time you can blame it on sleeplessness.

Give gyan to other new moms. Its therapeutic. I strongly reccommend it :D