By Vidya Venkatesh
When I announced that I was pregnant, I would always hear a cheerful, “Oh! Congratulations!” and before I had a chance to smile and say “Thank You”, I would be showered with parenting advice from parents and non-parents alike. My kids are 6 months old, and looking back, I realized that there are some things about parenthood that no one told me, but I wish they had!
So, read on –
1. It is incredibly lonely to be a new parent I am very fortunate to have so many good friends and close family members who were with me throughout my pregnancy, sharing my joy over every teeny tiny kick and oohing and aaahing over every ultrasound picture. But once the babies were born, and we brought them home, I was hit with a feeling of incredible loneliness. Sometimes, all I needed as a new mom was for someone to ask how I was doing, in addition to being asked how the babies are doing!
2. “Mommy Instinct” is a very powerful tool! I had read many parenting books, had conversations at length with other parents that I admired, and felt quite prepared to ace parenthood. But sometimes, when my kids cried after being fed, burped, changed and played with, I was totally stumped! I went with my gut and trusted my “mommy instinct.” Sometimes I used gripe water, other times I fake-sneezed to them, or just danced a wacky move, and it worked!
3. It takes a village to raise children. In a typical South Asian family, a new mom is surrounded by close supportive family. However, in this day and age, the best way to create our own little village is by using the power of social media to make connections. I have met (virtually) some fabulous moms on twitter, who have been-there-done-that, and are always willing to listen and share! When I had that parenting question at 2 in the morning, it felt wonderful to reach out to other resourceful moms via twitter and get answers within a few minutes!
4. Being a new parent is a remarkable feeling indeed, and it eliminates the need to sleep 8 hours at a stretch! Each night, I would feel like I could not possibly survive One More Day, but somehow, come dawn, I would be up and about, and would manage to get through the day. All it took was one smile from my children (no it was not gas!) or one small milestone, and I would feel fueled to Keep Calm and Carry on!
5. Post Partum depression is a real problem – It can affect every new mom in different ways. There were times when I would feel so weighed down and depressed, as blessed as I felt to be a mom of two darling babies. I phoned friends and vented to them, wrote down my feelings and made regular entries in my Gratitude Journal, ate food that made me happy, and sometimes, just took a long shower. Fortunately, that was all I needed, but if you feel like you are unable to function as a parent, do seek professional help immediately. It is absolutely not helpful to beat yourself up over it or feel guilty, recognize the problem and seek help.
Vidya, the mother of twin 6-month-olds, is riding the roller-coaster of being a first time mom to twin boys, currently trying to balance life as a mom and a full-time job as a Global Product Support Specialist at a Silicon Valley Biotech company. You can follow Vidya on Twitter: @vidav
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