By Sherazade Khan
My baby is now 8 months old and most of my memories of the past year are but a blur. Here are some of the thoughts I had during the initial period – and I’m sure other new mothers did too!
First thought: Why so fat?
The thought that you have immediately after giving birth, and I mean the second they let you get out of bed and you look at yourself, is, “why am I still so fat? I just pushed a human weighing seven pounds human out of me (and I must have burnt a lot of calories doing that). How do I look just the same?”
You arrive home, try on your pre-pregnancy clothes, and finally accept the harsh reality.
Your skeletal frame actually widens (how cool is the human body) to make way for the baby to pass through the birth canal so you are actually wider post-birth than you were when the baby was still inside.
Second thought: This piece of meat is my baby?
Yes you grew this little person inside you and are meant to have an inexplicable bond the second he or she arrives, but when they put that little blob on your chest, and you don’t feel ‘the connection’, fret not!
It takes a little while before your eyes well up and the overwhelming sense of joy, achievement, and wonder come crashing down on you like a wall of bricks. Don’t worry if your first thoughts on seeing the baby are along the lines of “eew…” they’ll have him or her cleaned up and looking pretty shortly!
Third thought: It wasn’t THAT painful?
Once a few days have passed and the oxytocin, or love hormone, has spread far and wide, the visitors pouring in to coo over the little one ask you how you are doing, you find yourself saying, “It didn’t hurt that much…did it?”
Yes, you took the epidural, and kicked a nurse or two in the process, screamed at your mother, and nearly knocked your husband out – but when you look back, you can’t exactly put a finger on the amount of pain you felt. And just as well, we say, because you’ll need that amnesia to help you decide to have another one!
Fourth thought: Somebody kill me!
How long can one last without sleep? With a newly born baby, cycles of sleep are miles apart and don’t last long. They need their mama at all times: Sometimes just for a cuddle and security, other times for food or to get them out of that poopy diaper.
Hang in there – it’s totally worth it. Remember these little wonders are only this small for so long… soon they’ll be grown up and won’t need you all that much and those memories of sleepless nights will be bittersweet. Go easy on yourself, and take as many naps as you want. You deserve it!
Fifth thought: Where’s my hot cuppa?
One day you’ll wake up, possibly smelling of saliva, somewhat constipated, and realise you can’t remember when you last showered. The messages on your phone have barely been read, let alone replied to, and your tea is cold yet again. You think to yourself, “When did showers, a trip to the loo, communication and a hot cuppa tea become such a luxury?”
Babies seem to have a built in radar that lets them know when their moms want to do anything remotely fun, or even necessary. Whether that’s popping in the shower or sitting down for a meal – that’s when the little one will squeal for milk! I know it’s hard, but try to take some time out for yourself. If you have someone to help, have them watch the baby for half hour intervals so you can get some me-time.
Sixth Thought: Under the sheets action is not for me!
For the first few months you probably won’t be having any naughty thoughts and that’s no surprise. Your body contorted out of shape for nine months and then you pushed a mini-you out and you really don’t want to think about how things reached this point.
Most women tear to some degree or another when giving birth and need stitches – these takes 6-8 weeks to heal completely, and then doctors give you the green light to go ahead and frolicking beneath the sheets. But do you want to? Will you ever exchange more than irritated sleep deprived slurs with your husband? It seems hard to imagine, between the frequent cries, leaky boobs and lack of sleep.
But don’t worry, one day you will look at your husband and ‘things’ will be back to normal.
Seventh Thought: Will my ‘nether’land ever go back to normal?
You’ll often look at yourself and wonder, “Will my nether regions ever go back to their original selves? Has my baby sucked the life out of these bad boys?” Again, things will return to normal – for some little later than others, but the vagina is a muscle and with a little effort on your part (read up on kegel exercises) you can be back to normal by the time your baby is a year old.
I know that sounds like an extremely long recovery period, but as your body heals, things will keep improving!
Eighth thought: That was one hell of a ride!
Before you know it, you’ll be sitting where I am today, wondering where did the time go? In the blink of an eye, that little blob of meat has morphed into a small human capable of sitting up unsupported, babbling away, trying desperately to crawl, and sleeping in his own cot!
Enjoy every moment, every passing day. Soon they’ll be angst-y little teenagers who think you’re the least cool person on the planet who knows nothing.