J is for just jump in.
Yes into motherhood.
Nothing prepares you for life experiences, as much as living through them does. It has been the same with everything, for me at least – university, hostel life, job hunting, relationships, the thought of getting married, being married and then having a baby. Aah, therein lies the rub. You and your significant other grow together as a couple. And you are just about settling in to the comfort of each other and the life and routine you have built for yourselves as an individual and as one unit, and then suddenly BOOM. All that goes out of the window. Foundations shake, windows rattle and the paint begins to peel off.
But you still JUMP into motherhood, like its the most natural thing to do in life.
For me the whole pregnancy thing, was a fairly unfamiliar territory. Obviously i had not been pregnant before. I was the first from the next generation of my father’s family to be married and have a child. My maternal cousins were either abroad or happily childless. My husband’s side of the family had already had their babies long ago or were based abroad. My friends had their babies in their 20s while I was still getting drunk at the bar. 🙂 So no real experiences. I only had hearsay of sad stories of pregnancies – losses and just terrible puking. So I was actually prepared for a horrible pregnancy myself. However my little bun in the oven had plans to completely surprise me. I had no cravings, I didn’t puke even once. I ate like a pig and still did not put on too much weight. (I put only around 8 to 10 kgs during pregnancy.) My mother for a long time doubted I was so far into my pregnancy. 😛
Oh well that was the easy part. Then came Motherhood. For that I was prepared. Oh of course I was. I had read two fat books considered to be the bibles of pregnancy, from cover to cover, twice and I knew I was all set. In fact I was so very clinical about it.. week 5/8/12/20/36 and baby now has a *insert part of body that takes shape and some random fruit I have never heard of or eaten* that sometimes I think I forgot to enjoy the emotions and feelings of my being pregnant.
And then once they put that tiny little and not so pretty looking mass of muslin wrapped human in your arms, you forget everything you ever read. Breastfeeding – how difficult can that be? You simply place baby to boob and the rest happens. Errr, wrong. Goddamn I couldn’t even hold that delicate little being properly. For well over a month, I struggled to hold him without thinking I was hurting or dangling him from some funny part of his body. I was a mass of nerves. Yes the simple act of actually holding my baby was difficult for me. My husband who has seen many babies in his side of the family, was a pro and I felt inadequate. Was I even fit to be a mother? But when your baby wails, when breastfeeding doesn’t satisfy his need, when he has gas and cannot fart or burp on his own to ease himself, you learn to put aside all your fears and pick up that bundle. You just JUMP in.
Then the sleepless nights, self-doubt – is baby crying yet again because he is hungry? Is my breast-milk not sufficient (eye roll. Most of this is fueled by doubts and silly myths the outside world puts in your head), baby has pooped yet again, to baby hasn’t pooped today too. Books – Google – your Doctor all are cursed at because your baby is just the perfect exception to all the norms. But you learn to strive. You find some unknown strength in some unknown corner of your mind and heart and say NO. To hell with your silly notions, I know what I am doing is right for baby. You just JUMP in.
I realised from my own experiences and those of new mothers around me that we have now transitioned into a state where everything we do and believe in for our child will be questioned, doubted, laughed at, poked fun of and told “Oh but we raised kids just fine didn’t we?” Some of these will rattle you to the very core, leaving you feeling quite empty and unsure of yourself. Sometimes it can take you back to zero – making you feel that you know nothing, Mom Snow. (Silly pun) But remember you just have to JUMP in and rescue yourself. You have to kick your feet and swim like your life depended on it (a tiny life does depend on you.) You have it in you and you owe it to the life you created. JUMP in.