Mothers, especially a new one, experience great joy when they cradle their newborn babies in their arms. No matter how painful the delivery process was and how tired she may be, a mother immediately yearns to bond with her baby and looks forward to the experience of motherhood.
Unfortunately, in many instances, the trip back from the hospital with the baby can also be the beginning of a nightmare for a new mother. When previously her thought of motherhood is centered on taking care of a cute and smiley little one, now, she may feel that she is being saddled with an ‘uncontrollable’ baby. Exhaustion and lack of sleep coupled with a fussy baby can easily trigger such a switch in emotions.
Sometimes, the problem is also compounded by the lack of help from the spouse, especially when he is not always home due to work commitments, resulting in the mother having to shoulder the burden of childcare on her own. This caused resentment to build up and together with the exhaustion, they become a potent combination for quarrels to take place. The downhill slide into further unhappiness and depression is but a step away in such a scenario.
If you are one of those mothers who is feeling this way, there are a few things that you can do to make the experience of motherhood more fulfilling.
1. Take the Initiative to Learn If you have a fussy baby and are at a loss on how to handle the situation, be proactive and search for solutions. For example, many babies like to be rocked to sleep and the moment you put them down in their cot, they will start crying incessantly. Take a step back and do not be consumed by anger or sadness. Instead look for the reason behind the problem and find out whether there are solutions that could possibly work for your baby. Talk to other parents and check if they have encountered the same problem before. Alternatively, the internet is a rich source of information and there are many websites that offer valuable advice on a wide range of issues when it comes to baby care. If you take the initiative to learn, you will have a better idea of what to expect and what you can do to cope, thus, lessening unnecessary pressure on yourself.
2. Be Flexible - We are all creatures of habit and sometimes, this may not necessarily be a good thing. For instance, you may have a list of chores that you need to do each morning but are now finding it difficult to squeeze in all of the tasks before your baby wakes up for the day. If that is the case, redo your list and move your chores around. There is no fixed rule to say that you have to do the laundry at a particular time of the day, is there? Similarly, if you have not vacuumed the floor for the third day in a row, so be it. If you are tired, get yourself some rest when your baby nods off and leave the not-so-urgent chores for another time. Try to be flexible and organize yourself around your baby's schedule.
3. Communicate with your Spouse We all know that communication is a vital ingredient in any relationship. But it is also something that is very easily overlooked, especially when a baby arrives, as our time and attention are now fully diverted towards the baby, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. Therefore, you have to make time to talk to your spouse and tell him your feelings and difficulties, if any. Encourage him to be more involved in taking care of the baby and more importantly, learn to let go and let him take charge if he is willing.
4. Look at the Bright Side - If you are at the bottom now, then tell yourself that the only way to go is up. Be positive because the difficult moments do not last. After all, your baby will grow and all the problems that you are facing now will most probably not be there within months or even weeks. For example, if you are forced to wake up every two hours each night now to feed your baby, remind yourself that you will probably be waking up only once a night or even not at all, in another two or three months’ time. The difficulties will disappear as time passes and before you know it, your child would have left babyhood behind to graduate into a toddler.
Yes, being a mother is not easy, what more if you are new to the task. But whatever negative feelings you may have, learn to put them aside. Do not dwell on them. Instead concentrate on bringing up your baby to the best of your ability by adopting the few suggestions above and/or whatever means that may be helpful. If you learn to enjoy your baby, you will find motherhood a much more pleasant and fulfilling experience.
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