I still clearly recall that moment. I remember all the questions that sprinted through my mind in a split second. “What have I done to myself?” “Will I ever be my usual self again?” “Will this pain ever subside?” “How will I take care of my little one”? And then I looked at my mom and my doula, who were both giving me an assuring glance. It appeared as though they could read what was on my mind.
“No, I don’t think I can do it. Forget about getting up from the bed, I don’t think I can do anything a new mom is expected to do. I just want to get back to feeling normal”, my inner voice screamed. But, all I could mutter defeatedly was a “No”.
I had an emergency C section because my baby had passed meconium inside and I never thought that the pain from the stitches would be so excruciating even after ingesting pain killers. I just could not muster up the courage and strength to get up from the hospital bed the next day after delivery. But, I had to start moving around slowly soon as per everyone for faster healing and recovery. So, finally I pushed the envelope and took my first little walk to the washroom after I gave birth to my daughter. It was intensely agonizing and I could not stop myself from getting teary eyed. But, then I eventually understood why everyone insisted I start walking as early as I could. Gradually it became easier and I became more mobile.
When the time came to get discharged from the hospital, I was again engulfed in a web of thoughts. “How will I manage at home?” “Will I be able to become the parent I have dreamt to be?” “I don’t think I can do it.” At the hospital, I had an adjustable bed due to which I never had to pull myself up from a lying down position. My baby and I were treated like a patient and were well taken care of by everyone – family members, doctors, nurses. I didn’t have to bother about anything else in the world except my baby. But, I knew it would be a completely different scenario at home. However, I decided to not mull over it much and go with the flow. How much would a ‘Mombie’s mind work anyways?
The homecoming was a special occasion and we were welcomed as per the rituals with lots of love. I did feel at home and proceeded to feed my daughter as soon as we were inside. I don’t know what, but something made me instantly start feeling positive about my role as a mother. Over the course of the next few weeks, my husband and mom took charge of most of the things on the household front. They ensured I got as much rest as possible so when I was not feeding my baby or putting her to sleep, they were taking care of her. With time I felt healthier and became more confident as a mother. I realized that as a new mom we are anxious about so many things, but everything is taken care of if you have a strong support system. It could include family members or friends or staff one hires for help. In the initial weeks, all the baby does is feed, sleep, cry, poop and the cycle keeps on repeating in loop. So, I focused primarily only on two things. One was feeding the baby on demand and the other was taking care of hygiene.
It’s essential to feed a newborn baby on demand to provide the required nutrition and comfort. I was misinformed on this and tried to restrict the breastfeeding sessions to follow a time table the first few days. However, once I became more aware, I immediately started feeding on demand and that’s when my baby started gaining good weight. The newborn cluster feeding sessions can be exhausting but I sailed through them by resting whenever possible, keeping myself hydrated and having healthy meals.
I live in a large gated community as a result of which I have a huge friend circle. Hence, visitors were expected from early on and some of my friends started paying a visit in the hospital itself. I personally was looking forward to everyone coming over because these were the same people who had made my pregnancy so easy and breezy by their immense love and care. I always kept a sanitizer handy and everyone was more than willing to use it before touching my baby to keep her protected from germs. Even the kids were so sensitive about this and it was heart-warming to see their excitement to see and hold a newborn. Additionally, I also purchased a sterilizer to sterilize spoons, pacifiers etc which were to be used by our baby. If your baby is being fed by bottle, it all the more makes sense to invest on a sterilizer as it makes the process quick and convenient.
As a custom in our family, we don’t make the baby wear new clothes for few days at the beginning. This is to prevent baby’s sensitive skin from reacting to the new garments. Therefore, we used old clothes of kids in the family which were washed well with antiseptic liquid along with baby laundry soap. This was mild, leaving the clothes soft after every wash, and was also quite effective in keeping the clothes sparkling clean and germ-free.
Newborns are delicate and more prone to infections so these few simple measures ensured safeguarding of my baby’s health. If you are a mom-to-be or a new mother, and if you too are apprehensive with “I don’t think I can do it” thoughts, keep the faith and hang in there. It’s normal to feel this way because your world changes entirely once you become a parent. It’s hard but also an intuitive process. Please try to get as much help as possible and keep yourself informed. Trust me, “You will be able to do it“.