Being a new mom was a happy moment at first. Then, the reality kicked in and I wished I had known these things earlier:
Buying Sitz Bath is very crucial
People around me including my Mom told me the importance of salt water rinses for perineum healing but, in the excitement of preparing the house and our life for my new baby, I never thought about how I would go about it. I managed salt water rinses for 2 days using a little plastic cup and bucket and gave up as I was all alone with my forever crying infant. Wish I knew that something called sitz bath was available online and I just had to order that and it would make things way easier for me after my NVD.
If you are an expecting mom and have not ordered one I highly recommend it. Honestly, even a squirt bottle with witch hazel would have also helped.
Breastfeeding is not easy for all
Now, every friend of mine proclaimed how breastfeeding was super natural and was an easy breezy thing. So, I assumed the same for my little boy and me. God I was WRONG!!
He did not latch well. When he latched well and I started feeding him, he kept falling asleep. Had to wake him up by tickling his ears and feet and that resulted in him not feeding in regular intervals. So I ended up with breast engorgement. Painful affair and that even gave me an almost mastitis attack. And all of these unheard of and unprepared for events, made me feel like everything is difficult and I was wrong and so on. I should have read more about it and prepared myself mentally to stop an emotional breakdown.
Not all babies feed every 2 hours
I was shattered to learn that I was a full time cow (yea I meant cow and not mom) and my boy wanted 5 ml of milk every 20 minutes. He did not feed more even when I tried. The pre-learned notion of infants feeding every 2 hours and cat napping in between, had me thinking that I could nap with him and eat on time and what not. I could not even sit back and bond with him and feel grateful for the blessings as nursing so often and mostly on empty tummy was stressful. Should I say anything more about my disappointment and feeling of helplessness?
It is okay to Give in to the Urge to Cry
If you have read my other posts, you know that I went through crazy amounts of negative emotions during my initial postnatal period. I actually do not have an idea how a lot of moms show happy smiles and cuddly babies on facebook and instagram in the first week of delivering. I was struggling to go to washroom every 2 hours as my little one would cry out his lungs. I felt I was failing as a mom. I used to cover up my urge to cry and after 1 week of negative emotions building up and feeling as an utter failure, I just decided I wanted to cry.
So, I cried aloud in the washroom while little one was taken care of by my hubby. I cried to an extent where I felt my eyeballs would fall out. And then, I splashed cold water on my face. Believe it or not it helped me. I felt empowered. I told my ghost like reflection on the mirror that I can do it.
Turns out, an emotional melt down and crying aloud was actually required for my mental well being.
17 hours sleeping baby turned out to be a myth for me
Now, no way was I thinking that he would sleep 17 hours at a stretch. But give or take shouldn’t he be napping at least 1 hour at a stretch? Well call it my amazing luck, he hardly slept more than 15 minutes at a stretch. When he would really fall asleep on my arms and I would place him on the bed with an expectation to run to the washroom or kitchen (well let us face it, nursing moms are forever hungry and wants to forever pee) he would wake up as soon as his body touches the bed. Bummer!
Ok I had food at home. I balanced between cooking at home and ordering take out. But, I did not schedule well. I learned the hard way that having snacks and food in the kitchen was not enough. You need to arrange the individual portions in disposable containers (could not be bothered to wash up) and have them readily available on the dining table and night stand while holding my baby in one hand and trying to eat with the other hand.
Also, following the Ayurvedic postnatal diet was the best bet for at least the first month. Soaking dates, almonds and cashews for at least an hour before eating would not hurt my ailing digestive system (if only I knew it then). And I wish I knew raw salads during initial days of post natal period was actually stressful for my system owing to low digestive fire or Agni. Ayurveda focuses on cleansing the new mom’s body and strengthening her digestive system and helping her body produce milk during the 1st 10days and that is followed by grounding stage and rejuvenation stage. There is a particular kind of diet and routine to be followed and I was not well read in that topic as I was forever focusing on pregnancy diet, regular walking and baby care topics.
To look at the bright side, me and my baby received Ayurvedic massage during the initial 4 weeks and I managed to have lactation tea, oatmeal and turmeric milk regularly. Though my post natal memories are not the sweetest, I have emerged from my depression phase as a stronger and happier woman and an amazing mom (self praise alert).
If you are a new mom with family and friends supporting you in your every step, you might not relate to this article. This post is for those moms who are at home the entire day with their infants and with little or no help.
I am no one to advise you but, yes, I have been in that lonely scary journey once and all I can tell you is to be open to your partner about your physical and mental condition. Do not shut him off the entire struggle as that was a mistake I did at first. It was my open conversation with my husband that made him realize that I was going through post natal depression and we wanted to address it immediately.
Lastly, I would like to tell you moms out there that, as time passes, your infants get into better routine and you become stronger both mentally and physically. Till then, just hang in there and believe in yourself and have faith in God.