BY SAMINA FAROOQ,
When you first become a mother, there are so many emotions bubbling inside your body and soul that it can get difficult to hold them in. So you end up living in a constant state of either crying, or smiling (while crying)…or seething (while crying), aching (while crying), laughing hysterically (you guessed it… while crying)…in short you are marinating in your own tears constantly because hormones are wreaking havoc inside.
All of the fuzzy feelings are trying to co-exist.
You keep breaking and putting yourself back together again. Tears keep burning your eyes as you keep pushing yourself forward and forward. You don’t stop because you can’t stop. So you won’t stop.
In Korean culture, the 100th day after a child’s birth is cause for celebration because both mom and baby have survived this fragile period: the time when you are emotionally and physically recovering from childbirth. An entire human being left your body. It takes time to recover from that. Your baby is also learning to adjust in this strange new world – shifting from fetus to infant.
This entire parenting gig is hard.
You find yourself on constant call, bending over backward (thanks to yoga) for this tiny, helpless being 24 hours a day. No other life transitions are as earthshaking as the transition to being a parent. It is a whole new world. So naturally your priorities shift and so does your energy level.
You have fallen in love with a total stranger whose personality you don’t yet know. So you just thrive on other’s suggestions or frantically search on Google out of sheer helplessness. You want to be perfect and the internet is full of all kinds of impractical advice to be so. Hence, you spend those first 100 days just guessing…
Guessing when will you finally heal, when will the baby actually sleep, when will you get to shower, when will you nap peacefully or maybe even get to sleep… uninterrupted sleep for more than 2-3 hours is a blessing.
For new parents, “Ways to put a baby to sleep” is probably the most searched text on Google. And all that information is searched when you are tired, hormonal, and vulnerable, so you end up committing all the crimes that virtual laws forbid you to while feeling all kinds of guilt-burdened on your delicate soul. Whoever invented the term ‘sleep like a baby’ must have never had babies around. If I was bathed, massaged, fed, rocked, pampered, swung and sung to like that before sleeping, I’d probably sleep for three days straight.
You’re constantly thinking of 99 things you should be doing right now other than what you’re actually doing. Talk about 99 problems with no practical solution.
You don’t want to be so responsible some days. Sometimes you want to escape. Just run away.
Cry away because fighting the urge to hold the tears back feels too exhausting.
You’ve built up a high tolerance for exhaustion, but you’re beyond that now.
Look at the bright side: you’re so much better at multitasking now. You can practically shut off the lights with your chin while providing entertainment for your baby as you clothe her in your arms. Who besides a new mom can function like that? Turns out, we mothers find a way. The term *necessity is the “mother” of invention* is legit.
It’s hard to keep up with all the chores when you’re devoting so much of your time to your baby. The world starts to ride on your shoulders.
For the sake of your sanity, keep these three words in your mind: lower your standards. Focus on specific, attainable goals. You don’t necessarily have to soldier on all alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. And you DO need it. If you need a hand or two or three, announce it. You aren’t an octopus so take any help that’s offered. Shamelessly and regretlessly.
Yes, you are basking in the motherhood sunshine but the sunshine doesn’t last all day. Eventually, sun sets but rest assured it rises up again the next day. Nothing lasts forever.
In the beginning, you think it’s impossible for things to get harder than this – and then it does…but you quickly learn to adapt to this challenging lifestyle. At first, even changing a diaper would seem like a task. Now you do it while practically sleeping.
Sacrificing for your child becomes easy with time…
There will be days that are hard. Weeks that are hard. Months that are hard and then comes one magical day when your baby goes to sleep on their own rather than in your arms. And you want to wake them up by smothering them in kisses because your heart can’t handle all the cupcakes sprouting out of it. After those 100 days pass, you’ll suddenly look at things and wonder how did they just magically become easier. Or maybe it’s just that you got used to them…You are still tired – more than yesterday. But you are used to all this and you know how to keep on keeping on with a smile instead of tears. You still put your head in your hands and cry in the corner sometimes but you have accepted the hardship that comes along with this immense joy. There will still be days and nights where you want to pull your hair out (if you have any left that is), but even after this whole process, you want to become a mother again. Because this ecstasy is addictive. And the kids become your drug. You float in euphoria even when you’re a sleepless zombie. Or maybe BECAUSE you are a sleepless zombie. Nonetheless, you get to laugh a lot. Because tiny humans are as dumb as anything and oh-so funny. Their innocence and smile are infectious. The term ”coolness of my eyes” is real you guys. “Apple of my eyes” on the other hand, I can’t even.
After these first 100 days pass – and they will pass one day – you will get to see many more toothless grins and many more milestones. When toothless grins turn to toothy smiles, you will keep wanting to shrink them back into their small selves (and yeah that’s how you welcome a new baby in the house even when you swore off of it. It’s a vicious circle.