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Please don’t call it labour pains

Child birth
Last week I had the opportunity to meet a mother to be at a family function. While I was congratulating her on her beautiful glow & how privileged she should be feeling with a life growing within her, all she talked about was her impending ‘labour’ and how anxious she was of the pain. She was fearful of even asking me how my experience was as she had already listened to frightful stories from other mothers!

Why don’t mothers encourage pregnant mothers with more positive experiences is beyond me! Why do women wear the length of their ‘labour’ as badge of honors & scare others is something I have not been able to understand.

Fine. Bringing a child into this world hurts. But doesn’t getting pierced or tattooed not hurt? Ok, there is no comparison between these two. There is absolutely no comparison between the two. One if for beautification & personal statement; while the other is the most life changing and selfless act. But I digress here.

This article is to tell all would be mothers to look at ‘labour’ as not laboring, but as ‘birthing’ or anything which makes it more positive. How about a ‘right of passage’. Birthing is as arduous a process for the baby as it is for the mother. But, by going through this process, the child receives many benefits.

Have you heard of the story where a small child watched a butterfly trying to come out of the cocoon, and after seeing it struggle, opened the sac to make the process easier. The butterfly did emerge, but because of the lack of the struggle, its wings had not developed properly and it could no longer fly. When you think of the birthing process as an enabler through which the mother is assisting the child to enter the world with dignity, love & strength, suddenly the mother is humbled & empowered.

If we only let our bodies and nature, do its job, pregnancy & birthing is a beautiful process. I wanted to tell that scared mom-to-be to trust, believe & be in awe of her body. Without being asked, her body would nurture the child for 9 months inside, and forever, outside her body. She will produce the best food for the child through her body for as long as the baby needs it. Did you know that the breast milk changes its formulation (actual constituents) according to the need of the baby!

Our first memory of birthing is old hindi movies where the pregnant woman is rushed into a room & is heard screaming; with the father pacing outside the door. Since then we associate birthing with pain. Pregnancy is not a medical condition that requires treatment. In older times, there was a loving dai who would comfort & assist the mother-to-be birth, as she had done for all women in the village/family/community. She knew the mother personally, attended to her throughout the pregnancy, offered advice, and loving brought her baby into the world. The western world is now waking up to this phenomenon, but we seem to have forgotten it, despite having given it to them.

A gynecologist friend practicing in the UK told me that NHS assigns a pregnant woman a mid wife for the entire pregnancy & through the birthing process. A doctor is usually called in only for emergencies. Why? Because our bodies know best.

When you receive forwards on Social media telling that child birth pain is equivalent to 20 bones breaking, please do read that during this time our bodies produce crazy amount of endorphins which give relief from this pain. And guess what, the amount of endorphins produced is good enough to give the mother a high! But we have started interfering with our bodies and the process, and scared ourselves enough to dread the final days. The doctors ask the already tired mother to ‘push’ the baby out, but did you know when we clench the jaw while pushing, we are closing the birthing path! We are doing it all wrong. The calmer the mother is, the more the endorphins get produced, and the smoother the process becomes.

So when you plan to book your pre baby photo shoot & your baby shower, do look up for natural birth & pre birth classes. There is inspiration and power waiting to be discovered which will change your outlook. Also, the next time you have your pre natal gynae visit, tell your doctor you want a natural birth and ask her to guide you to it. She may be shocked/surprised, but chances are she may view you with a new respect.

Just so you know, I was no different from the would be mother I met. But I decided to take help & make a difference.

Childbirth is the only time you will assist God in a miracle
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An apology to my first born child

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Yes I know, parents are expected to do what is right for the universe in general, and for their kids in specific. But, I didn’t know jack when I became a mom for the first time. In fact, I have no shame in owning up to everything I did wrong.

So here are a few things (I am pretty sure I’ll add more as I go along the parenting path) I would like to apologize to my first born child for!

1. Being overprotective

If some moms are called “helicopter moms”, I have been nearly Air Force One to you! I wouldn’t let you out of my sight for even a second. You’d sneeze and I would recheck all the layers you were wearing and trawl WebMD for information on all possible causes and effects. I’m happy to change five pediatricians until I’m satisfied I’ve found the right one for you.

2. Being a killjoy

Politely put, I was a killjoy for the first few years. I’d be overcautious of rolling down the car window, freak out about you jumping on the bed or sliding down staircase railings, make a big deal about letting you eat something not-so-nutritious… total killjoy.

3. You were my guinea pig

I cut my parenting teeth on you, and you’re the one I made all my first mistakes with. Right from when I took my first steps into motherhood to my entire journey, you were and will be the person with whom I do everything for the first time. And the success rate is not going to be perfect. From weather-appropriate clothes, most nutritious food, feeding patterns, right school, friends, play dates… trust me, my list will be pretty long with quite a few hits and misses.

4. Crazy expectations

Throughout your life, I will have high/weird expectations from you. Not because you are older, but because I will always believe you are capable of tremendous feats, and also because I know nothing better!

5. Hypersensitive to feedback

I will worry about and question my parenting skills when any feedback or advice comes my way. You see till now I had no experience, but I am not 100% OK with someone else’s either.

6. Going by the book

I read books, articles and blogs written on parenting styles, milestones, what to watch out for and what not. If you missed any milestones, you could bet on some of my hair turning white. You see it took time for me to be confident of my own motherly instincts and judgement.

On the flipside

So that was my guilt list of errors. But before you start wondering about why you were punished thus just because you happened to be born first, let me share some of the beautiful things about our bond.

1. You brought about the biggest life-changing event for me. I have never been more proud of what I as a human could achieve. You made me a woman from a girl.

2. All my first parenting experiences were with you. Your first smile, first full night’s sleep, your first tooth, first vaccination, first scraped knee… you bought in the first of everything.

3. I became obsessed with you. I am positive I have been called crazy behind my back because I have bored everyone with your pictures, anecdotes (which seem funny only to the parent). I’d give you weird funny names thinking they were cute. (Ok, this point might be better off in the mistakes list, but trust me I had only good intentions!)

4. You got the first and for the longest time, the best of me—my love, my patience, and yes practically speaking my physical strength.

5. You brought so many new relations to life—people become grandparents, aunts, uncles for the first time thanks to you!

As the adage goes, “Behind every happy kid is a mom who’s pretty sure she’s messing it all up!”

This post appeared on Huff Post India as ‘An apology to my first born child’

Image credit Pinterest

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5 reasons why having a daughter is a must

Without being biased or prejudiced, here are my 5 reasons why having a daughter is a must, from a mother’s point of view 🙂

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/madanelu/6944412639/">::: M @ X :::</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: ::: M @ X ::: via photopin cc

  1. Because you can hug a daughter at any age
  2. Because you can kiss a daughter at any age, without receiving an ewwww expression
  3. Because sooner or later, she will understand you completely– your thinking, your value system, your personality, the decisions you made in your life, everything- because she is going to be going through the same motions, the same stages of life
  4. Because she will be your best friend, your best critic, your best shopping partner, your best companion, your best late night gossiper, your best everything 🙂
  5. Because she would make you protective like never before

Because one girl is better than two in the house right 🙂