The moment I saw those two lines on Prega News my life changed. For better or worse? I am yet to figure that out! 😛 But jokes apart, when I was pregnant, I always wanted my baby to come out soon and relieve me of the discomfort while walking, talking, sitting and even sleeping. I would comfort myself by reading wonderful stories of moms and their divine bonding with their babies. And I would imagine myself in their place having an angelic experience while breastfeeding my baby. I promised myself that even I will EBF (Extended Breast feeding) my baby and I will be the best mom in the world. Everybody talks about the bright side of the day and even if someone expresses the dark side, we are just not ready to accept it or even imagine it to be true. However, immediately after delivery, the harsh reality dawned on me.
Most of the days I was either crying or cursing myself for some trivial reason or the other. But with each passing day, I explored my real self and now I just laugh them off. So here I share a few things that once made me cry out loud.
1. I felt like a milking booth all day long
I had a cesarean delivery and unlike others, the strong painkillers didn’t suit me. So I had to bear almost all the pain after regaining consciousness from anesthesia. In that pain, I had to hold my child to feed and just feed. My husband woke up in the morning and found me feeding the baby. He came back with a cup of tea and I was feeding. Finally, after waiting for some 20 minutes, he helped me lay down and went to take bath. He came back just to find me feeding again. It was that insane. After a few days, I got so frustrated that I started feeling like a milking booth and would squall before my husband on pity issues – “Why don’t you give me some time? Why didn’t you ask me before ordering food online? Now even you believe that my role is limited to being a doodh wali gai (milking cow)?” It is now that I understand the gravity of depression but still my hubby and I cannot stop having a hearty laugh on how I used to victimize myself on pity issues, even when everybody around me was so supportive.
2. I didn’t feel bonded to my baby.
Before delivery, I read a lot of beautiful stories about the mom and baby and how divine a baby touch can feel. I saw beautiful pictures of mom and baby on social media and fantasized about myself in their place. But to my surprise, I didn’t feel that bonding in the first instance. In fact there were times when I was so exhausted and frustrated that I cursed my own decision of conception and the very next moment I slapped myself hard on the head for allowing such feelings to crop up.
3 years down the line, I realize that it was absolutely normal. Such feelings are bound to come because your baby brought about all the changes in your life. So don’t force yourself to love the baby. Let it come naturally to you with time. As they say ‘Sour, sweet, bitter, pungent, all must be tasted’. And it is absolutely fine to have all of those flavors in your relationship with the baby.
3. I was adamant to Exclusively Breast Feed (EBF) my baby.
There is a thin line difference in being adamant and being determined to EBF the baby. I never realized when my determination to EBF turned into adamance. I had low supply issues but I was determined to take proper diet, exercise and do everything possible to increase my supply. My lactation consultant even prescribed pills but the moment I stopped taking the pills, the supply dropped again. There came a point when I was tirelessly feeding my baby all day long and yet he was cranky because he wasn’t full. He would cry through the days and I would weep my pillows wet in the night. Yet, I wasn’t prepared to give formula feed to the baby. When my baby wasn’t growing as per the charts, my lactation consultant said “There is no harm in giving a couple of formula feeds in a day. We enforce EBF for the betterment of your baby and you. You cannot keep popping pills for another couple of years and you should not keep your baby hungry as it will hamper his growth. So go easy and give him a couple of bottle feeds, when desired.” Today, having weaned off my baby completely I look back at those days and laugh it off thinking how stupid and naïve I was. I was putting my child’s health at stake for the sake of EBF promise I made to myself.
4. Do you produce enough milk? Heavy chests mean more milk.
First of all, heavy chests are no indication of your supply. In fact, it leads to engorgement and might cause problems to the nursing mother. Even breast size is no indication of their ability to produce milk. The size depends only on fatty tissues and production and storage of milk is done by glandular tissues.
Also, every nursing mother must have heard “Is your milk enough for your son?” at least 100 times during her breastfeeding journey. And it really annoys her. In case you are having low supply issues, then all the more reason to feel humiliated and exasperated. Whenever somebody asked me this question, I used to promise myself in the head that “I will be a good and supportive mother-in-law and aunt. I will not poke my nose into other’s issues and judge any lady, let alone my Daughter in Law (DIL).” And then out of nowhere, I used to build castles in the air “How my DIL would be? Would my son get a girl with whom I can gel or would he marry a rebel? Would it be love or arranged marriage?” And yes, I used to imagine all of this and much more when my son was just a couple of months old and discuss the consequences with my hubby too. #FacePalm Walking down the memory lane we chuckle at the baseless and brainless thoughts I used to have but deep within I also realize that how deadly this postpartum depression can become and how brutally it can affect the mother’s brain.
5. Is your baby latching long enough? For at least 15 minutes without sleeping?
It is a myth that the time your baby keeps latched on is proportional to the amount of milk he has sucked in. I have been at a stage when my baby was sucking for almost 30-45 minutes and still didn’t feel full and then I saw friends whose baby sucked on for just 5-8 minutes and he was done. So there are ladies who have good flow and in a few minutes the babies gulp down larger amounts and there are also ladies like me who have low supply issues and baby needs to struggle hard to get few precious drops of liquid gold. Also with age, babies learn to suck harder. So feed till your baby wants to.
Most of the times I used to hold my baby for longer hours because of these statements. I used to force the nipple into his mouth so that he can have more milk. Actually, there isn’t any point doing it. If your baby is tired or doesn’t want to feed more, he will not. Come may whatever! There are also times when he wants to feed just for comfort. Do it! It will never turn into addiction as the society claims it to be. Sooner or later, children let it go and grow out of your laps. Children grow, their habits change and life goes on!
And so should it for a mother too. My life became a roller coaster ride the instant I got to know I’m pregnant through Prega news, no 1 brand in the category from Mankind Pharma. The new mother in me got an adrenaline rush at an instant and at other times she was glum. Some instances made me exhilarated on one day but made me cry on other days. People judged me and tried to make me an amazing mother. But I just want to tell those people that a mother is always amazing, just make her believe in it. Make her believe that – “Maa banne ka ehsas, hota hai bahut khas”