So… I am a new mom now. I just gave birth to my second baby, but it’s been a tough ride. And since it was my second time doing it, everyone expected me to have this whole parenting thing figured out by now. That’s what we believe, right? Since you have done it before, it’s going to be easy. You are much more prepared and you know what to expect. But that wasn’t the case for me. I was struggling so much. And the guilt of not being able to do it after being a mother to my first child made me feel like a failure. Negative thoughts started creeping in. And you know how it goes, once you start the self-blame and the guilt, it’s hard to come out of that pit. The newborn baby stage was anything but blissful for me. I was having a hard time breastfeeding my daughter, and it worried me that she wasn’t getting enough milk. Whatever position I tried – the cradle hold, football hold, side-lying position, crossover-hold, laid back – nothing was working for me. I was exhausted to my core, and I was feeling miserable with every passing day. Why was it so hard this time around? Why couldn’t I do it like everyone else?
Since my daughter wasn’t drinking enough milk, I decided to visit the pediatrician. My doctor reassured me that my baby is fine and since she is active, there is nothing for me to worry about. On the way out of the doctor’s clinic, my eyes fell on a poster with a mother and her baby. The caption read: ‘With every child, a mother is born.’ The words struck a chord with me. It’s like a light bulb went off in my head. With every child, a mother is born – it’s true, isn’t it? Why haven’t I thought of it before?
Generally, we are so focused on raising our baby that we forget we are newly born too. And it doesn’t matter if it’s your first child or your third. You are going to have a different experience every time you give birth to a new child. Whether it is your pregnancy, labor, childbirth, the complications that follow, the kind of birth you choose to have, or even the postpartum period. Nothing will be the same as before. The journey to motherhood right from seeing those two pink lines to your postpartum period is largely dependent on biology and luck. So why do we beat ourselves up when we can’t get it right?
I think the biggest mistake any woman makes is trying to do it all. We all aspire to be the supermom who can manage everything. But unfortunately, we aren’t gifted with superpowers when a baby is born. It is the same old you with your average human abilities. The fact is you are going to need help. And your mind and body need rest too. Remember, a healthy and well-rested mom can take better care of her baby than a tired and sleep-deprived one. You see, everything is interlinked. Take good care of yourself and you can take better care of your baby. And if you aren’t able to do it all, get all the help you need. Contact a lactation consultant, talk to your doctor, ask your husband to pitch in, and say yes to friends and family who offer their help.
Most importantly, don’t ever compare yourself to other moms. They can be doing better or worse than you. Remember, their hurdles might be different than yours. It’s not a contest. Right now, just focus on yourself just as much as you focus on your baby. Nurture your soul and body with good food, exercise, and enough sleep. Give yourself a break. Allow yourself the time you need to get adjusted to this new role. Don’t be in a hurry to do it all. Especially when it takes you 10 minutes to get your bum off the toilet seat. With every baby comes its own set of struggles, challenges, and setbacks. You need not have your ducks in a row and have it all figured out. Treat yourself with the same gentleness, love, and care that you give your baby. Don’t forget, you are newly born too!