So, you’ve just peed on the little test stick, and as you wait and watch the test window, it slowly turns from a faint line to a dark positive and in that moment you know it, you are officially pregnant. At least that’s what the test says… The stick doesn’t lie, or does it? Rattled with sudden doubt, you chug down some water, and try again. This time the result is quite clear. It’s a definitive positive.
It’s a moment to celebrate and cherish forever. You experience a flood of thoughts, hopes, dreams and wishes for your baby-to-be and the road ahead. Or maybe, like I did, you feel emotionally numb. You don’t know what to think. It’s hard to believe. It doesn’t seem real. You don’t know what to do next… If you’ve been a mom before, you do know what to expect and you are elated beyond words. You are in your element, and you are sure you can handle this. You are thrilled that your family is growing, and you feel ready to welcome the little one.
Your baby could be the size of a pinpoint right now or maybe it’s the size of a green pea. Regardless, life as you know it will never be the same again. In an instant, everything has changed, forever. Welcome to motherhood.
When I became a mother, I was unprepared for what lay ahead. Unlike other first-time moms, I did not read any of the baby books out on the market. I had spent the majority of my pregnancy focused on self-care and my own personal well-being, and the remainder of my time, shopping and setting up for the baby-to-be. Once the baby was in my arms, I was riding an all-time high, my heart was so full, and my excitement was through the roof. I didn’t want to miss a single moment with my little bundle of joy, and I wanted to do it all.
In those early days, I savored every minute with my daughter. I didn’t have time to buy parenting books let alone read them, and the few that I did own sat on the shelf collecting dust. My hours, days, weeks and months went by as I adoringly stared into my beautiful baby girl’s eyes while I nursed her. I endlessly captured her smiles, coos and giggles on camera. My heart swelled with love, pride and happiness. It was a blissful time.
On the flipside, I endured long sleepless nights, physical and mental exhaustion. I felt overwhelmed by the way my body had changed and struggled to get back to my fitness routine. As I desperately tried to come to terms with my new role as a mother, I felt a strong sense of loss because I just couldn’t remember how to be the person I used to be before I became a mom. Motherhood changed me. It turned my world around and shifted my focus to another tiny living being whom I could proudly call my own. Unfortunately, my self-confidence and self-image took a hit as I stopped doing the things I had enjoyed before. It took a while to rebuild that sense of self.
Even now, a couple years on, I still struggle to find the right balance between being a mother and being myself. Very often, I’ve found that a satisfying ‘mom life’ just boils down to a delicate dance of juggling family responsibilities and all my other priorities. Of course, staying organised and planning well helps a great deal, but being spontaneous at times and willing to go with the flow always makes everything a whole lot easier.
To be honest, I was never too fond of children. I didn’t know how to play with them or talk to them. But once I had a child of my own, I suddenly seemed to know what to do. Call it mother’s instinct or whatever you may, I feel fortunate that most things clicked for us right from the start. Breastfeeding, baby-wearing, cloth-diapering, baby-led weaning, and co-sleeping very naturally became the mainstay of our first year. Beyond that, I am still learning. I primarily follow my intuition, but supplement it with knowledge gained from books on peaceful parenting and little pearls of wisdom garnered from other experienced mothers who care to share.
I have been influenced by traditional Indian child-rearing methods just as much as I’ve been exposed to western parenting philosophies through the new age media. I’m happy to imbibe the best of both worlds, take what I believe in and put into practice what truly resonates with me. For example, I sleep-trained my daughter quite early on but now we happily co-sleep. I have as much faith in modern medicine as I do in ayurvedic home remedies for children. My daughter has been spoon-fed at times, but we’ve also tried baby-led weaning. I know that it all seems contradictory and flawed, but for us, it is perfect.
My personal parenting philosophy is open-minded and relaxed, yet effective. It is unique in that it has flavours of both the east and west. I have learned not to be too rigid and I try not to put any additional pressure on myself or my daughter by forcing any one recommendation. Every age and stage is a phase and it is important to try and do what works at that point in time.
Becoming a mother has given me a strong sense of purpose. Watching my child grow brings me joy in more ways than I could have ever imagined. However, learning to be a mom has not been easy. Perhaps the most difficult part has been learning to be myself again. As I find myself struggling with my new identity, I realize that I am not the person I used to be, and that I will never be that person again. I do not want to let motherhood alone define me, yet I cannot deny how the new mother in me has altered my perception of nearly everything. It is a confusing contradiction of sorts that I still need time to process.
Motherhood as challenging as it has been thus far, would have been even more of a struggle had it not been for the many well-meaning words of advice from my family, friends and sometimes even complete strangers. I have also been drawn to blogs and vlogs to gain firsthand glimpses into the lives of other mothers. Similarly, my own experiences have taught me so much, and it would be a waste of lessons learned if I were to keep it all to myself. So, even though I’m no expert on parenting, I would love to share my own tips and tell you my stories. I hope that my words will resonate with you, help you ease into motherhood and inspire you to lead your best mom life.