4 months of maternity leave
4 months of paid leave.
4 months of paid leave at the world’s top investment bank.Wah!Aish hai! This is what I got from most of my colleagues. The guys were envious and probably wishing that they could get such a long paid leave. I too was super excited about having my baby and the 4 long n luxurious months that I will spend with him/her. I was grossly wrong as I discovered very soon. O what a hard hitting shock it was and I was so mad at my mum, my friends and cousins for no one told me the truth about “the first 3 months“. “You are going to become a mother. It’s the most enriching experience”.that’s all they said throughout my pregnancy. Not once did any of them caution me about the dark tunnel.There will be light at end of the tunnel but the dark and dreaded tunnel which seems to stretch so long, well no one spoke about that. Don’t get me wrong, being a mother is awesome and I love this new role. But with the awesomeness, there are some awful moments which I personally think everyone who plans on having a baby should be aware of.
Not that it will make it any easier, but being mentally prepared will definitely make it less stressful. Also you could relax a bit more (sleep sleep sleep, you will find out what a rare luxury it is only when the little munchkin arrives), spend a little more time with your partner and dear ones, catch all the movies you want, for the crazy book lovers like me, devour into as many lovely books as u can, for you are soon to realize how life will turn topsy turvy in a moment. I would like to share these 5 points which I felt are most relevant, my personal experience and opinion about it.
The first 3 months are the most testing and truly stressful months in a mother’s life
1) ” Sleep o dear sleep how I miss you, I now realize how dear u are to my well being n good health, I solemnise I shall never ever take u for granted”. Sleepless nights… common eh? Lot of people are night people. But they don’t have to feed or soothe an infant wailing at high pitch. If you are lucky your little one might sleep for a few hours but my baby would hardly sleep a wink at night. Lullabies, cradle, cuddling nothing seemed to work..I was at my wits end. After what seemed like eternity, when she closed her eyes and slept,and I heaved a sigh of relief and tucked myself in bed, I would then hear another wail. When I looked at the clock it was just half an hour that she had slept for after more than one hour of cajoling. She slept very well in the day but my biological clock din’t allow me to rest in the day. “Sleep like a baby” they say but no one said day or night.
2) Feeding Woes. All the masala in bollywood movies about “ma ka doodh” which leads us to believe that it’s so natural and easy is so not the case. Feeding comes with its own set of challenges for the mother and baby as well. To add to our woes, sleep deprivation and the body taking time to recoup after delivery make it more challenging. Whether you decide to breast feed, formula feed or use combination of both, I would only like to say that its your choice. No doubt breast is the best for a baby but for any reason if you supplement it with formula or go entirely with it, please don’t feel guilty.There’s a lot of societal pressure on mothers to breast feed. Those giving formula are looked down upon as if they are terrible mommies. Don’t get bogged down, you know what’s best in the given situation for your little one.Yes I fed my baby formula milk and I have no qualms about coming out in the open. This does not make me any less of a mother. I love my child as deeply and passionately as any other mom would love hers.
3) Blessed with a fabulous support system. I’m super fortunate in this regard. My mom and grandma have stood by me like rock , spent sleepless night and their support Is what made this journey easier. We also built some wonderful memories during this time. I would urge all of you to make the most of your support group as you really need it at this time.” I can’t rock my baby to sleep, my mom or MIL does it so well”, “I can’t bathe my baby”, “I’m not so confident of even holding him properly”, I’m such a terrible mom… don’t let such thoughts creep in. I felt all of this as I was a novice but today I can do everything very smoothly. Give it time and don’t be hard on yourself.
4)Aitithi tum kab jaoge. (O guest, when will u depart). Many friends, relatives and well wishers would be eager to catch a glimpse of the little one but we often forget to think if the newbie mom is ready to have visitors. I personally was so not ready after I got home. I drove home this message subtly to those who were close to me but for those whom I could not give the message, I had little choice left. Just smile politely and hope that I can retire to my sanctum soon. I appreciate their gesture and good intentions but just that the timing is so wrong. Once the mom and baby have settled down, it would be ideal to visit. It was a learning lesson for me as well , I will not jump and flock to a new mom’ s home as soon as she delivers but give her ample time to settle in before I visit
5) My space-what space? Are u kidding me.. expect close to zero time for browsing, chatting, even reading the newspaper at least for sometime. You would not have the time and even if you do, you won’t have the inclination for it. Gradually, as things settle down you will find time for yourself and you can indulge in all of these.
Being a mommy by no means is an easy job. It’s a rocky and bumpy ride, you will encounter many potholes but at the same time it’s a beautiful journey where there is a lush greenery and flowers in full bloom smiling at you. There will be different set of challenges at each stage and I hope we all pass with flying colours.
Cheers to womanhood!! We rock ladies!!