You’ve told everyone the good news and they’ve responded with unending advice. But there are some things your family and best friend are keeping from you.
First pregnancies are a mixture of excitement and sheer panic. No matter how much you prepare, some things will catch you unawares.
Dreams of danger
It’s never safe out there in the world. But after your little one arrives, everything will seem as alarming as a threat to national security. When friends or family reach out for your baby, you will visualise all the germs on their hands. Your heart will palpitate around smokers and car exhaust in traffic. You will spend hours wondering about toxicity in toys and chemicals in formula food. While you can’t avoid this phase, don’t feel insane. You will calm down shortly as you accept that you cannot humanly shield your child from everything.
The spotlight shifts
Those nine months will make you accustomed to being treated special by the family and friends. Everyone enquires about your health and brings home whatever you fancy. No one will tell you that you are allowed to feel upstaged after the baby arrives. But you are. Your role now is to feed and clothe the baby and put it to bed. And the baby gets the
attention, the gifts and the massages. Face it: you are going to come second now onwards. Forever.
Breastfeeding is tough
You think you wouldn’t have to work at it because it is so natural, but breastfeeding is one of the hardest skills to master in motherhood. The baby won’t latch on, you may not express enough milk, there will be sore nipples, blocked ducts and breast infections. Dealing with all this while weakened by hormones and lack of sleep will make you feel guilty and inadequate.
Get help from the doctor or nurse to understand the technique and don’t give into the feeling that you are a bad mother. Take care of your diet and drink enough water, but don’t worry. Inadequate breastfeeding will not turn your cherub into a psychopath.
Molehills become mountains
Before motherhood, you were a multi-tasking machine. After the little diaper tyrant comes, the decision of what brand of soap to use brings you to tears. You are tired, overwhelmed and bogged by the anxiety of how every little thing you do affects the baby. Let go of the inconsequential details and take help whenever offered.
You will become competitive
We want to treat our children as unique, complete beings and inculcate self-worth by not comparing them to peers. But even the strongest give into competitiveness. New parents constantly talk of milestones and this can leave one feeling inferior. You will also construe any delay in achieving the milestone as signs of disability.
It would be best to steer the conversation to lighter topics or observations about the children. Exit when the conversation turns into one-up-manship.