I was cool once.
I did things the way I wanted to…
I decided it was time for Lil’ Z to arrive…
I thought I was old enough…
I thought I had it “down”
I thought I had read and prepared enough…
I thought I knew what lay ahead…
I thought I knew what I was doing….
I thought I knew what it took…
I thought I was prepared for the first few months of motherhood…
I THOUGHT WRONG…
Forget all the so called “cool” aspects of life…Even life’s basics were in pandemonium…
Crazier than an ant’s nest soaked in LSD!
How things changed! Lord, how they’ve changed…
The changes in this aspect of a new mum’s life may seem subtle to an outsider. But to the lady in question they have far reaching consequences, especially if she is living among older women relatives.
Throughout pregnancy she is blackmailed into eating “right”. Scaring her with a gnarly, tiny, retarded baby if she resists. And once the little one is out, she is threatened with low milk supply and nutrition for the baby.
The business of eating “right” is different in different families and cultures. In most Indian households, it means drinking liters of juice, a few kilograms of fruits, many portions of dry fruits, meat, vegetables, ghee (clarified butter), milk, egg, yogurt – all in one day.
Each type/ kind of food is supposed to serve an important purpose. Almonds apparently increases the little one’s IQ. Milk makes it fairer, more beautiful. Juices and fruits help in development of organs ….. Meat fattens it up….
The poor Mum has to ‘eat for two’, both throughout her pregnancy and for months after.
To make matters worse, there are stipulations on what and when she can eat. Many foods are strictly forbidden. Some of these do have scientific basis. Most don’t.
Aah! And the legendary cravings…. let us not even go there…
The first three months of pregnancy are spent in pajamas. With the hormones going berserk, the morning sickness, the tiredness, family imposed house- arrest- all combined make for a very dull wardrobe.
The next three months are the golden period. The woman is pregnant but doesn’t look or feel so. She is happy and radiant. Every day is a great hair day. She can look good in a tattered sack and one broken heel if need be. So, dear ladies kindly maximize this period and wear your best clothes. You will not be wearing them for a while.
The last trimester is spent in baggy, flowy costumes, empire waists and maternity pants (there are few exceptions to the rule- aka Kim K). You try your best to be stylish. People may even compliment you for your attire. DO NOT FALL FOR IT. They are only being kind. Honestly, nothing really looks good on you anymore.
Postpartum; it doesn’t get much better. The first few months are spent trying to hide all the jiggly, wobbly bits. While next few are spent in boring, one- dimensional nursing wear.
The tiny little human you create can bring a surprisingly large quantum of baggage into your once tidy home.
It takes over your bedroom, and your living room, and your bathroom….
Your home soon resembles a refugee camp or an Indian Railways cloak room. No matter how much you stow away, stuff remains.
The cabinets and drawers overflow with diapers, towels, washcloths, bibs, burp cloths, onesies, sleep suits, wraps, caps, mittens, booties, swaddling blankets, receiving blankets, thick blankets, thin blankets, medium blankets…..
You stumble over teethers and accidently hurt your backside by sitting on rattles. Your bed is suddenly taken over by this roving but fragile being.
The kitchen is littered with bottles and bottle washers. Cleaning brushes and pump parts. There are training forks and unbreakable plates.
The living room is a maze of play mats and jumperoos. Walkers and trip- traps instead of your treasured bean bag. At the dinner table, the high- chair takes pride of place. Changing mats replace rugs and throws. The gaming console makes way for the diaper table.
Your night stand is invaded by toys, pacifiers and baby books. Your books lay packed away. To be picked up in old age maybe!
Your music system, which was once your pride and joy now only plays white- noise and sleep sounds in an endless “loop”….
The bathroom is no exception. The bath tub has another baby tub in it. And in it lay dozens of tiny bath toys (I enjoy them now as much as my lil’ one! Shhhhh!). Floating duckies and bathing bunnies. Lotions and potions for tiny humans mess up your arrangement of toiletries. Aah, how the mighty fall!
REST & RECREATION
Bathroom time is at a premium. Things are accomplished at super- speed mode. For a new Mum, bathroom time can be the most dreaded and the most anticipated. Anticipated since, those will probably be the only “free” ten minutes of her day. Dreaded…Well…. Mums will know what I mean….
Social life become non- existent for the first few months. This is of course, discounting the hundreds of relatives who visit you; usually bearing barely usable gifts and completely unusable advice.
A quiet dinner, a refreshing movie- night, crazy party with friends….. behind you my friend , behind you.
Romance between husband and wife involves a momentary group hug before the lil’ one starts screaming bloody murder.
Sleep is a mirage. Sleep has a new meaning. It is a state of partial consciousness that occurs for a couple of hours every night whilst in the throes of mommy duties. You partially open your eyes and feed, burp and change you baby- THAT’S SLEEP.
So life changes, incredibly so. Then how does one chug on?
It’s simple actually. Just live the moment. Take each day as it comes. One at a time.
Every day makes things easier to cope with.
Soon the hours, turn to weeks and months….
And years later, these times become magical. You crave them. Wish for your crazy, disobedient teenager to weigh 3 kg and be swaddled again…
Nothing gets easier but we get stronger. More prepared. More equipped.
Nothing prepares us for parenthood like parenthood. No amount of reading can teach you how to put aside every single habit/ need/ necessity/ hobby/ pleasure aside to deal with the needs and wants of a tiny human. And do so with absolutely no ill feeling. No resentment.
It’s amazing how it happens!
Just when you think you cannot take it anymore, something spectacular happens. Something like…..
And all is well again. The fatigue doesn’t disappear, but it becomes easier to bear.
The sleep is still necessary, but it is no longer all- important.
It’s amazing how things change….
To all new Mums…
Happy Sleepless Nights Y’all…
Till next time…