Parenting: Side effects of motherhood
Motherhood seems like a big step to take, and no doubt, it is. Goes without saying that you have a bundle of emotions running through you when you realise there is an entirely new person being nurtured within your body. Your reasons for becoming a mother are entirely your own, but like all big decisions, the more prepared you are, the easier it becomes when you’re finally faced with the situation.
1. Physical Discomfort
The body adjusts in its own way to make place for the foetus within you and the changes may not always be to your liking, but they are entirely natural. You may start having frequent back aches and you might even end the day with swollen feet if you’ve been standing too much, thanks to the extra weight of the child. Your sleeping position may have to undergo some changes if you were accustomed to sleeping on your stomach. You tend to put on weight and lose the hourglass figure you once had, but beating yourself up over it will do you no favours. Embrace that it is all part of the biological process and you’re still as beautiful as before. Give yourself a six week recovery period after the delivery before hitting the gym. A caesarean delivery is no less painful than a normal delivery, because waking up to a ton of stitches and stretch marks on your stomach has its own level of discomfort.
2. Adios to sound sleep
Your baby needs round the clock supervision, because in the first few days after birth, they need to be breast fed at odd times and their crying is something you need to get used to. Diapers need to be changed and sometimes, you just want to spend the night watching your child suckle. Their sleep pattern is irregular so it’s best if you can catch up on your sleep while they are asleep too. But avoid using the pacifier, as they could lead to ear infections and future dental problems. As your child grows older, you surely do get to sleep more but be prepared for the teenage stage where you wake yourself up at 2am to make sure they’re in their bed after a long night of partying.
3. Postpartem depression
Though motherhood is associated with delirious happiness, mothers and sometimes fathers may also sometimes face postpartum depression after the birth of the child. The depression has no character associations whatsoever and is usually attributed to extreme hormonal imbalance. It is highly underdiagnosed, so if the symptoms such as low energy levels, sadness, anxiety, easy frustration or the inability to be comforted are experienced over a period of two weeks, it is best to get it treated, else it may have adverse psychological effects on both the mother and child and their relationship with others. A group workshop is usually all the therapy that is required to treat postpartum depression.
4. Putting yourself second
Right from the time your child is a foetus to a teenager, your choices come second. Whether it’s what to eat during the pregnancy or your decision to give up smoking and alcohol, it’s all with your child’s best interests at heart. That’s why you’ll find that putting yourself second doesn’t bother you as much as it otherwise would have. You gave up your job, your sleep, your social life and pretty much everything that you once enjoyed for your child, so don’t be afraid to put yourself first once in a while. It’s as important to keep yourself happy as it is to keep your child happy. So don’t be afraid or embarrassed to leave your baby with a sitter or your family for a night and unwind in a way that’s best for you.
5. And everything that makes it worth it
Sure, pregnancy is scary and painful and everything we’ve described above, but what beats having your mere presence comforting someone? What can be better than your crying baby reaching out for you and calming down as soon as they’re in your arms? They’ve heard your voice even before they saw the light of day and that creates a bond deeper than one can acknowledge. No matter how badly you disagree or fight with your child, no matter what they say when they’re mad, you are and always will be their best friend. Despite all trials, you will find it extremely gratifying to watch your child grow into a good human being. Your decision to be a mother has entitled you to a lifelong learning process. They teach you how to be more patient, you learn to interact more with other moms at baby showers, you re-learn the little algebra tricks while they do their homework, you learn to nod and ignore all the unwanted parenting advice coming your way, but more than anything, they show you that you are capable of feeling the love described in poems, articles, books and all over the internet.
Related Article: Postnatal care: Causes Of Depression Post Delivery For Mothers