Myth no.1: Ballooning pregnant body and it goes right back
There are way too many myths floating around us about being a mom and this one probably is the most prominent one.
Take any Hollywood/Bollywood movie and how easily the woman goes from being pregnant, glowing to her original self within frames. It happens to many a celebrities too and you read about it with awe, often making a silent resolution for yourself. It may also happen to many many girlfriends and neighborhood ladies around you. But it CERTAINLY did not happen to me. I ballooned and I watched my burgeoning frame in dismay. This despite when I thought I wasn’t overeating and exercising (by walking each evening for 30 odd minutes or more if my feet allowed). At one point, I think I looked flabbier than my husband and that is a definite low in a woman’s life.
Mind you, this fat does not squeeze itself out after birth too. Here I was a good 7-9 kgs more than where I started from and it was highly demotivating to see myself in the mirror. I still don’t have the courage to stand on a weighing machine. Add to my woes, my mother narrates stories about how XYZ has begun to fit into her pre-pregnancy clothes right after giving birth and how ABC reduced her excess weight by diligent exercising routine in just 2-3 months after birth.
All I can say, “Heck, I am not one of these lucky ones.”
Myth no.2: Your baby is beautiful, or so everyone will say. Really?
This one came from my husband even as I pondered over the question silently. I had not dared to question the handsome-ness of my baby when the nurse brought him in from the nursery. Motherly instincts did kick in as I ensured he had all visible organs, no ugly moles or birth marks, and it was a heart-melting kinda moment. But truth be told, he came to me as a red-faced li’l thing and if I see a baby this small and this red in some one else’s arm, I wouldn’t go “ooh, a handsome boy.”
I am just weird, I guess.
When alone with my husband, a day after my lil champ was born, he voiced his thoughts. “Do you think he is really beautiful?” I could only make a motherly face and ignore the answer. But it was a relief to see that I was not the only weird one.
Though the wrinkly red-faced infant did go on to become the cutest baby by my definition (and I think husband shares the opinion too) but it happened gradually over days as he added some fat to his cheeks and some human color to his skin.
Myth no.3: You will know what the baby needs when he/she cries
This is a scary one and you, rather I, had a nervous breakdown each time my brain could not fathom why the baby was crying his lungs out.
It is really a learning curve and no first-time mother can exactly point out why her infant is crying. It’s just as simple as that. You have to take a guess — is it the diaper? or hunger? or some cuddling? a particular cloth rash or some other kind of pain. I am 3-month old mom and I still don’t know how exactly my baby would like to be cuddled (as he changes his preferences quite easily). So on and forth.
Even the doctors will declare confidently that ‘Mother will know when the baby is full and when he needs more milk.’ Err, it wasn’t an easy task with my infant because I am a slow learner and had to guess a couple of times before I could soothe my li’l one. To this day, I cannot predict with confidence why he cries although I do have some definite tried-and-tested options that will calm him.
Myth no.4: You will feel magnified amount of love each time you look at your baby
Here you have a crying infant at say 2 am in night and your brain, body, and other body parts are still not used to resting for an intermittent 60-120 minutes. This part is perhaps the biggest sacrifice you have to make as a parent — give up the idea of resting. For me, the dark circles beneath the eyes have become permanent, bath time has been reduced to quick rinses between baby’s napping hours, creams and lotions sit unused on my dressing table (often putting baby lotion which is always handy), dressing sense has been buried beneath baby clothes and diaper packs…you get the picture!
So I can safely conclude that it indeed takes lots and lots of love, maturity, sacrifice of life as you knew it to feel truly blessed. This too seeps in slowly and on days it really needs some reminding.
It’s true in a way but requires parents to rise above your own feelings of utter and complete exhaustion. It begins by putting your child first (and it will take some mental training) and taking care of your own bodily needs a distant second. And what does it look like when those first few stressful weeks pass by and life gets “back to normal.” It’s anything but “normal.”
And I dunno how long this phase will last, since I am still early in this journey.
I bet there are many more myths that need some busting but a crying baby beckons me and hence this post shall be continued as I gather more parenthood myths.