WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN EXPECTING

Once again, started writing about blogging….diverted….will get to it next time.

As a preamble however, I need to mention that once upon a lifetime ago, I used to write short articles…..merely to get odds and ends off my chest……. a “Dear Diary” if you will. Blogs were not yet a thing.

Obviously, it was totally honest and unfiltered…….you know….me being me! In those days, motherhood was painted as a picture of paradise. First time parents-to-be would read all the literature on what to expect and to do during pregnancy, what to expect and to do when having a baby and what to expect and to do after having a baby. There were baby magazines filled with this incredible new life that was coming your way. A life of calm, tranquility and serenity. 

Apparently the bonding with your newborn happened IMMEDIATELY…. as newborn was placed on your chest. This after having given birth naturally……as one must. Apparently the bond was reinforced when this little bundle of joy started breastfeeding…..as one must. Even more ridiculously apparent, was that breastfeeding just happened. Mom and bundle both knew exactly what to do. EVERYTHING just came naturally to all involved.

Pictures of sleeping babies, smiling babies, cooing babies just filled your head with this new life that was eagerly awaiting you. Pregnancy was a time when you felt joyous and blissful. Childbirth was just a breeze, everything would come naturally. Taking your newborn home, and navigating your new calm, tranquil and serene life was just something that happened organically. Did it though?????  Not bloody likely!!!!

So as soon as I experienced what was in fact normal for a new mother, in other words, NOTHING any literature prepared me for, I just assumed there was something wrong with me, or even worse, with my child. Nothing went as I was told it would. It was all misreported! From the time I went in to have my “breezy’’ (had to be natural….best for the baby) childbirth, to the time I had a C section (under total bloody duress mind you), to the time we got home, there was NOTHING calm….NOTHING tranquil…..NOTHING serene!!!

So there I was, a new mother, convinced I had ruined my bundle’s life. I did not have natural birth……ruined his entire future.

Neither he nor I NATURALLY settled into breastfeeding. This led to a panicked dad, convinced that bundle wasn’t getting enough food, as unfortunately my breasts never came with measuring levels. Naturally panicked dad was not conducive to anxious, stormy and turbulent new life. Might have coped if new life was INDEED calm, tranquil and serene, as promised…..but nope….didn’t happen. So obvious step ……..immediate termination of the breastfeeding, and commencement of formula feeding. Naturally the bottles were not as defective as my breasts, and dad saw EXACTLY how much bundle was consuming. Bottle fed……ruined it…..his future…..totally ruined this little new life’s future. He will be wrought with allergies. Him and I……bonding…..won’t happen. A baby born by C section, not being breastfed……..what?…….shame!!!…….poor kid!!!!! BAD MOTHER….BAD, BAD!!!

And this, my dear friends, was just what transpired while I was still in the clinic!

‘’We need to get him home,’’ I suggested to my husband. ‘’That is when our new calm, tranquil and serene life will commence.’’

’’ Yes,’’ he agreed.

‘’ No, “the sister said. ‘’Don’t rush it. You need to get as much sleep as possible while you can.”

Pheeeugh, I thought, I always had problems sleeping anyway. This bundle is not going to make any difference to my sleeping pattern. Uuuuum….not even going to grace that idiotic notion by discussing it any further!!

Why was it not all going according to what I had been apprised of?? I would think, while tears rolled down my cheeks, irritable bundle in one arm, book with earmarked pages in the other. Is it me? Is it bundle? Maybe my husband was right! Maybe babies only cry and are irritable if they are sick? Maybe my husband’s concern (OCD and anxiety disorder), which led him to discussing his crying and irritable newborn with customers, friends, family, petrol attendants, cashiers and actually ANYONE he came into contact with, had led us to our answer!

‘’One of my customers said if his ‘poo’ is a certain shade of green, we have to change the formula.’’ he said when he returned from work one day.

Formula changed with immediate effect….did not help! Maybe the petrol attendant, who told my husband that we need to massage his belly (bundle’s belly…not husband’s belly) to calm him down (bundle…not husband), was right. Wrong…..bundle got more irritable.

Of course, doctors telling you that your child has colic, works for the first three months of his life. Especially considering you were TOLD that this would happen by terminating the breast feeding prematurely. Bad mom!!!! After 3 months, reiterating the colic diagnosis started to seem inconceivable. When he is 9 months old, it started becoming questionable!! That is when you just accept that you had given birth to the spawn of Satan.

So there we were, trying to navigate this new ‘’calm, tranquil and serene’’ life we had spent 9 months learning about, feeling like total failures, in all probability suffering from post natal depression, myself and my husband both feeling completely defeated!

I was probably the most honest living soul sharing my experiences about becoming a new mother. I vividly remember returning to work, and all and sundry excitedly gathered around me, curious to know what this wonder of parenting was like.

“Bloody awful”, I told them! ‘’I have not slept in weeks, bathing has become a thing of the past, and eating happens sporadically.’’ Their faces were self – explanatory. They looked on in horror, as I proudly proceeded to explain that it was NOTHING like I had been told! I needed to get the truth out there. These future parents needed a heads up!! However, from their faces, I saw that they thought I was evil, wicked and deplorable!

What I did find, was that when I discussed my feelings with other new parents, they seemed so relieved to hear the similarities between their stories and mine. To them, I was not evil, wicked or deplorable. They felt comfortable and safe enough to concur with me. As we chatted, shared and laughed…..a lot, I saw their shoulders relax, their chests feel lighter and a feeling of normality making its way back into their minds and souls. We collectively decided we were not going to return or exchange our bundles. We were NORMAL and what we were going through was NORMAL!!!!

Well look at me, I thought. For the first time my honesty and tactlessness had done something for the greater good!! I need to go public….warn everyone…..save all those before it is too late….

So, what to do? I expressed my feelings on paper. When I suspected someone was in need of saving, I would tell them about my pearls of wisdom. They would ask to read these very pearls. All those who read said pearls, suggested I try and get the word out there somehow, as it would be helpful for people to know what really to expect! Make people more prepared, making the process gentler, instead of crushing their dreams.

Hence, that was the start of something big…..well, could have been big…..or medium sized…..let’s just say it was the start of something…..but that is a discussion for another day!

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