My little sidekick is one month old today. I cannot believe how much he’s grown already. It almost breaks my heart- I want to stop the time and make sure that I am capturing his every moment.
During this one month, I have not got any work done. No reading, except for baby and parenting books like Baby 411 and Gentle Sleep Book! No writing, except for the blog, where I talk about my wonderful birth story.
Of course, I could not care less- the abundance of love in our household is almost tangible, and I never knew a love like this. Aside from that, mothering our little one has taught me so much already that even from the perspective of productivity, I would be counting my gains. So today, I wanted to celebrate Luka, by chatting with you about these life-lessons I learned from this tiny human.
- I am beyond my emotions. I am more than my thoughts. Mothering a newborn is one of the toughest things I have ever done- if not the toughest. There have been those horrendous, but necessary, growth spurts when the baby would not only refuse to sleep, but he would not stop crying (and feeding!) either. He would not fall asleep unless I hold him, bouncing around the house. Once he does fall asleep, he has to stay on my chest, otherwise, he wakes up. When he wakes up, the cycle starts from the beginning. All this, of course, means that this new mum has to endure sleepless, tiring, stressful, overwhelming, and long, long nights, only days after having gone through an experience such as birth! She is full of emotions, hormonal changes, trying to focus on the baby 24/7 and to recover from birth at the same time. Let me put it straight: She might hate her life and everyone in it. She might feel resentful because everyone except her seems to be able to sleep-or, do whatever else she had taken for granted until this little one arrived! But this passes. Because the morning comes, or time passes, or her partner does something nice, or the little one grabs her finger while feeding, or he looks so cute in his new onesie. I now know that feelings, and thoughts, come and go. They don’t define me. I now understand what Pema Chödrön meant when she said this: “You are the sky. Everything else–it’s just the weather. “
- I have to be/ become a Self-Advocate. Remember when everyone seemed to have an opinion about how to be pregnant? What to eat, where to birth, when to induce etc.? Well, those members of the unsolicited advisory board will not forget you just because you are a mum now. They will tell you how much and when to feed your baby. Even, what to feed your baby. They will tell you when you should take your baby out, and what he should wear; whether or not to vaccinate, and where. There might even be a discussion about how to parent your own child. Most of them will have good intentions, some of them will be know-it-alls. Either way, you must have had experiences with people who give unsolicited advice and insist on their point, even when you make it clear that you have decided otherwise. Their comments might be hurtful, and these exchanges might get tiring. You may try to ignore these comments to protect your sanity. If (or when!) that does not work, you may have to learn to stand your ground by advocating for your principles, decisions, and thoughts.
- Acceptance. The moment I made peace with the fact that things have changed, I became a happier, calmer, gentler, more graceful even, mum. I accepted that I may not get a sound sleep for days-weeks-months on end. I accepted that my life will have no regular schedule for a while since newborns do not have a timetable. I will have to keep changing the most trivial plans (like when to have breakfast or shower; when to call my
bff) because of the baby’s feeding, crying, pooping. Sometimes he will be crying and pooping and feeding simultaneously, and I will have nobody at home to give me a hand. I wanted this, and this will not be forever. I have learned that in some situations, acceptance will be more helpful than trying to get back what has gone, or what has simply changed. The moment we “hack” our mind and befriend our new situation, the clearer our minds will become, and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- The Preciousness of Every Moment. What helped me to befriend this irregular, chaotic, sleep-deprived life is those precious moments between one cry and the other. When the little one cuddles with me, puts his tiny little head on my neck and sleeps, or opens his mouth as if trying to say something. When I realize that for him, I am perfect, and for me, he could not be more beautiful. Those moments are worth everything. In life, too, between all the struggles, the fights, the worries
andgrief, are the moments of joy. Shame if we focus on the poop and ignore the tiny breath on our chest.
- Compassion. I admit that I am not a people person. And I know that some people might really be mean. But having gone through a month of sleep-deprivation, growth spurts, cries, screams, emotional and physical roller-coasters, every outfit either peed-on or covered in milk, I can tell you that I have become more compassionate. When I am not moody, that is. And I am more compassionate because I have been so uncharacteristically moody! I know how all the above additions (lack of sleep, peed-on nightgown etc) have made me like. And these are nothing compared to what millions of people are going through every day! It is my pledge now: Every time someone is mean to me, I will try to remind myself that I have no clue about their story.
Hmmperhaps I should keep this in mind with the unsolicited advice people, too!