Being a mother starts much before we hold our babies in our hands. The 9 month journey is a roller coaster and a lot changes for a woman in her physical and mental state. Indeed, the mood swings, the highs and lows, the anxiety, the patience, the support from the spouse are the few words that pop in my mind when I think of the word ‘Pregnancy’.
Having gone through this roller coaster twice in my life, I want to share how different it was each time around and what I learnt.
The first time around,
For the positives:
I was 27 and only a year and half into my marriage, still settling down in a new city with a joint family. Physically, I was doing just fine and mentally I was still getting there. There wasn’t any nausea, vomiting, everything was normal except that the weight was going up and the bump which I really enjoyed having. With absolutely no responsibility to pay any bills, no stress at all I travelled quite a bit until I finished my second trimester. I went back home to see my folks, did a short trip to Kerala and Malaysia to make the most of my time with my husband before we’d welcome our new baby in our lives. Since, we’re not permitted by law to know the gender of our baby in India, we did this in Malaysia. We were both on cloud nine when we saw her scan with a cute cleft chin (like her Dad). If you are an expecting mom, just make the most of your time alone, do something productive. If you can then please travel – you get princess treatment everywhere !
And the Challenges:
Well, we all want to be with our moms when it’s time to give birth. Owing to my Dad’s health condition which required my mom to be with him through a phase of chemo therapy and radiations I couldn’t have her by my side. After reaching expected date of birth (July 28th, 2013) my doctor decided to induce me with labour because my girl looked too comfy in my womb not willing to budge. July 29th – The scariest day of my life and yet a great one. I’d emphasize on choosing a good doctor here. By that I mean, choose a birthing center and not a commercial hospital, choose a doctor who’s able to handle stress better, who’s not commercial and interested in making you pay, who understands you and your levels of anxiety. I was induced with labour and unfortunately two other women naturally went in labour which occupied the two beds in the labour room of the hospital. This put me in a queue, shooting up my anxiety levels because I was kept on a stretcher, near the door of the labor room. If I get into the details here, I’d scare you. So let’s just leave it at this. As much as I’d love to have done it the natural way, I ended up having a C section after 10 hours of strenuous labor.
Even though my mom wasn’t there, I have a memory of my mum – in – law sitting by my side and praying. My husband literally went through labour with me. If it wasn’t for their support, I wouldn’t have lasted by the end of this.
Greatest learning :
Accept things for what they are. I missed my mom and she missed me too. I accepted this was the best way out and my mum in law didn’t disappoint me at all. As for your own health, try and get back to shape within the first six months by eating healthy and mindfully and keeping active. When my daughter turned 1 I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight and lost another 10 kilos by keeping active and going on a low carb diet. I was also breastfeeding for 15 months. This was the healthiest I had ever been.
Career wise, I’d say if you can then enjoy these days with the child while still pursuing something small. I started a blog and taught as a free lancer.
The second time around
For the positives:
We felt we had become experts. Being together for almost 5 years, my husband was way too invested in making this the best pregnancy ever. I named something and I had it. We were very concerned about my older girl (she was two and half when I learnt about my pregnancy). Given her possessiveness about me, we researched about prepping her well in advance. Even when we had a child, he made maximum effort to give me enough attention amongst the many challenges he was dealing with. I am so grateful to have him by my side always.
While I was pregnant with my second one I had a blast. A special birthday for my 30th to a great big Europe trip, a babymoon in Singapore, a surprise baby shower thrown by my husband and close friends, a maternity photo shoot, a suite room at a birthing center to have the baby (yes, we learnt from our past mistakes!) – the blessings are countless and most importantly his true love when we had my second baby girl. And most importantly her older sister was overjoyed to have her. Everything for my mental well-being was a tick.
And the Challenges:
However, I did have a few complications in my second pregnancy. In my 3rd month NT scan the numbers were on the higher side which was a red flag for my doctor. We did spend some time being stressed out but the Medi scan counselor assured we that our baby is fine. My husband’s words of faith that we’ll have the baby anyway were a great moral support. Going further in my pregnancy, my fluids were on the higher side. Thus, my doctor advised us to have the baby 12 days before time even though I would have loved to give birth the natural way. Nonetheless, the experience was painless, beautiful and swift compared to the chaos I experienced the first time around.
Greatest learning :
My baby is healthy and completely normal, so yes, faith pays off. Keeping trust and faith and believing that all will be good is something I’d ask you to learn from my experience whenever you’re anxious.
My second daughter is 10 months old now and I am the same weight as my pregnancy. My weight loss has been slow this time around but I am slowly getting there. I’d say don’t over indulge in the post partum eating like I did – It’s always good to enjoy food by limiting the quantity and the frequency of sugar.