For a first-time pregnancy, there are a multitude of emotions surrounding those 9 months of gestation. A positive and wonderful atmosphere is created for the baby to arrive by the due date. Right from the day your home pregnancy test came out positive, you strive to eat right and on time, take supplements, go for the routine gynaec checks and routine scans and even read about what will unfold every month.
In all this, as mothers-to-be we critically miss out on some crucial points that one must be prepared with once the baby has arrived. Because once the baby is out, it’s utter chaos. And after all that thoughtful effort, it shouldn’t be that you run the entire marathon and run out of breath right before the finish line. Having gone through with this natural process myself, I can recall some of the most crucial pointers one needs to keep in mind as you progress towards the fag end of the lap (the third trimester)
Read up on breastfeeding
This is very VERY crucial for first time mothers. Read up well in advance on breastfeeding. There are many books (I referred to ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’) and websites (one Google search is enough) to help you become acclimatized to the idea of feeding your baby. I mention this point the first and foremost because once you’re wheeled in for delivery, there will be absolutely no time at hand to know the nuances of giving your baby the first feed. Neither is it wise to completely depend on hospital/ nursing home staff to help you out (take it from me). And this is utmost crucial, since the mother needs to give the baby the first milk (colostrum) regardless of what the hospital/nursing staff say. Hence, I reiterate read up well on breastfeeding.
Advice, Advice and More advice!
If you thought advice during pregnancy was not enough, get yourself ready for a ton of advice from every Tina, Dina and Harita that lands up on your doorstep. And what makes it worse is the Indian social norm of confinement (from 45 days to 3 months), where you’re cooped up in your home. There will be advice flooding in and you are bound to be confused, that’s natural – but take most of the advice with a pinch of salt. There will be horror stories of those who didn’t follow so and so advice…there will be eat this, eat that, don’t drink too much water, the baby will get cold and all sorts of tall tales. My suggestion is to follow the doctor’s instructions of the dos and the don’ts post-delivery, and simply smile and acknowledge the advice received whilst receiving the 198th packet of laddoos and baby wipes, no matter how sleep deprived you are.
Emotions and you
This happened with me in the first fifteen days post delivering my little one. I used to oscillate between being this teary mass of postpartum blues combined with breastfeeding woes topped with sleeplessness to a gleefully chuckling and chattering woman. It is absolutely common to experience emotional upheaval in the first few weeks after delivering your bundle of joy. But have someone close to you – husband or mother or brother or sister or BFF – calm you down and restore some normalcy from the emotional upswings. As these emotional upswings may in turn affect your bond with your baby. And importantly, because one doesn’t want to trod down the path of postpartum depression.
So moms-to-be, just remember one thing, pregnancy and childbirth is a natural process that has been going on since time immemorial. And no pregnancy is perfect. (OK, two things).
What you need to keep in mind is, the bond you form with your bundle of joy, is the one that must be perfect for you.
Mom to a toddler, Gauri Kamath is an avid reader, writer and pens her thoughts on her blog Survival of the Optimist. Though she holds a Masters degree in Marketing, her true passion is writing and has co-authored a book on short stories – 6 Degrees. She is based in Mumbai.