Beatrice Chia-Richmond welcomed her first child, Sol last Saturday as reported in Life! section of The Straits Times.
Whenever I read or hear of such news my first instinctive thought is, “All the best for the coming few months as your life becomes one big chaos…” Not quite the “Congrats! I’m so happy for you!”
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for the new moms and there is just something magical in welcoming a new baby into the world. But boy did the reality, that I was not quite prepared for, hit me hard when my first born came into this world in 2003.
I wasn’t prepared for how tough breastfeeding would be. Sore nipples, engorged boobs. Being “on call” 24/7 to feed baby. I literally felt like a cow. I would spend about 45mins to an hour feeding baby, 2 hours later (or less), baby cried for milk… again! Round the clock, no day, no night. So much so that whenever baby cried, I would be crying inside silently. Hubby couldn’t help take over feeds, not when I was breastfeeding. All he could do was to pat me and say, “There, there. You are doing well. It’ll get better.”
I wasn’t prepared for a colicky baby. What? Colic? I’ve never even heard of the term before baby arrived. Baby hubby-jr would cry, more like scream with clenched fists, arched back till he was all red, inconsolably, sometimes for hours. Nothing helped. Rocked him, sang to him, etc. It almost drove me nuts. It’s incredible how my baby’s cry affected me as a mom. Every single muscle and nerve in me froze, my heart pounding rapidly. Then thankfully, we found the magic oil! Yu Yee Oil. Just rub some between your hands before rubbing onto baby’s tummy. It soothes baby’s painful belly and calms baby. Just like magic. Well at least it worked for mine. That and colic drops (Infacol, Dentinox).
Then there’s my post birth hormones to deal with. I’d be on an emotional roller coaster ride. It was a very tough first year. The first 6 weeks were hellish. Then it got a teeny weeny better. Three months later, things got a little bit better, baby could smile and respond and I was beginning to enjoy baby more. Six months on and things were getting brighter as baby’s sleeping and feeding pattern became much more sane. At his one-year birthday, I’m celebrating “Yay, I made it through the first year!”. Only then could I look back at the extremely challenging and rewarding year to say that it was an amazing journey. I grew so much as a person.
Everyone congratulates you when you’re expecting your first kid. Almost no one warns you of the hardship you have to go through in the first year to earn your stripes as a parent.
These days hubby and I give new parents (they’re easy to spot, those with fatigued demeanour and baby in arms) a knowing pat and tell them, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel. For now, things may seem like they’ll never get better but they do. So hang in there.”