This is a continuation to my blog series on Parenting.
I must admit that my conception was an absolute breeze and so was my pregnancy. Rajeev (hubby) and I didn’t have any plans of having a child before 2022 but “the virus” made us reconsider our decision. Also, a few months before we started planning, I could intuitively feel a soul contacting me, saying ‘I AM READY TO COME THROUGH MUMMY’! Might sound eerie but it was actually a heartwarming feeling that got me started thinking about conception long before 2022 :-p.
I was anyway at the peak of my health and already eating super clean by then so I visited a gynac to get myself checked and started planning in September 2020.
October 2020, Noor’s soul entered my womb! *goosebumps*
Pregnancy, like I said, was an absolute breeze because my gynac was a sweetheart- very optimistic, well read and kind. Also, my health- physical, mental and spiritual were very well aligned. My gynae was very much pro normal delivery which is what I wanted as well. 9 months flew by with ease and grace with a few normal hiccups here & there AND THEN CAME… postpartum. Now, this is something I had not anticipated. I think nobody can anticipate how postpartum looks and feels unless they have ACTUALLY LIVED with someone in their postpartum phase of life aka witnessed a closed one’s postpartum journey firsthand.
POSTPARTUM Experience- the real deal!
As a result of my (emergency) c-section delivery, I was quite bed-ridden and borderline handicapped for 7-10 days. This was blow number 1 for me. From being super duper active and proactive as a person, I went down to being dependent on someone (hubby & nurses) to help me get off the bed. Being a side sleeper, I could just not turn without crying in pain for good 5-7 days. My stitches ached and how! I had never gotten admitted to a hospital before, never had a fracture nor stitches so this was very new for me. And to top it up, I was on very heavy pain medication which resulted in blow number 2, a major gas attack (I’ve written about this in my previous blog post). Every breath during and after the gas attack felt like my last breath of life, really! My body didn’t feel like it’s usual self, I felt like I was in another body. Every time I was sharing this with my wonderful hubby, he kept reminding me that ‘jaan, you were cut open… you just had a baby… be patient with your body… it will recover, just give it time.’ Hubby was my pillar of strength (still is) postpartum because he took over in every way that allowed me time to rest, repair, recover. My mother-in-law was supremely hands on as well and a constant reminder of how ANGELS ARE PRESENT ON EARTH! This mother son duo leaves me inspired on a multitude of levels you guys!
Because I had a c section delivery and the exaggerated case of gas attack, my gut health went for a toss AND THIS WAS BLOW NUMBER 3. I didn’t know what suited my body and what didn’t. I must admit that I still feel confused food wise because things that worked wonders for my body now make me gassy. Post delivery for a good week, I had not pooped naturally (enema doesn’t count) and trust me, it feels grosser than it sounds. I felt awful & super uncomfortable and all I was talking about was POOP. Like I mentioned in the previous blog post… I had become Amitabh Bachchan from the movie Piku (lol). I can now laugh about it and be grateful that it’s over but that phase was very tricky for me!
Oh my god! Where do I even begin?
Breastfeeding or BF is the trickiest thing ever and I learnt so much about it within 7 days.
Now, in the medical world it is well known that breast milk for a new mother can take upto 3-4 days to kick in full throttle. It is usually easier after normal deliveries but we cannot generalise this. So for me, the milk started coming in only by the end of day 3 but those three days till the prolactin levels weren’t high enough to feed my newborn, every single confidante around including the nurses and the fabulous lactation consultant squeezed and pulled out my areolas and nipples whilst shoving my Noor up my breasts. It was b**b party day in and day out wherein I was left in tears and Noor kept yelling for milk! This is apparently necessary to kickstart milk production as well as get the colostrum out. Colostrum is the thick yellow fluid full of nutrients for the baby and is like heaven for the baby’s health.
Back in the day, I was pretty hell bent on not giving my child formula (milk) but long before I actually got pregnant, I released all attachment to normal delivery and breastmilk. I taught myself to go with the flow and not be stuck up in my ways because….
I believe my child doesn’t care where she came from- vagina or tummy!
My child doesn’t care if she has formula milk or breastmilk!
But she does care if I am happy or not. Children pick up a lot of mother’s feelings- especially guilt & fear. And those who know, will know how ‘Mommy guilt’ is a real thing and has left many mothers extremely unhappy and depressed! My thought process is…children don’t need perfect mothers, they need happy ones. Having said this, if normal delivery was an option, I would have anyday preferred that but for me, it wasn’t. I accepted what came my way. I chose to trust my gynac because I knew she had my best interest at heart. Also, what is more important? Healthy delivery of my child or a traumatic one wherein I am hell bent on a normal delivery putting my baby at high risk? Also, I am now exclusively breastfeeding my daughter because I can. If I couldn’t, I would have kept trying but eventually accepted whatever would have come my way. The first three days however I was struggling because I could not even HOLD MY CHILD because my stitches would ache. Latching her left me in agony because my stitches would pull and all the areola and nipple stimulation kickstarted my uterus contractions (which is very important postpartum). Like I wrote before, getting off the bed, going to the bathroom was all a struggle and to top it off… prolactin levels (milk production) took good 3 days to kick in and in those 3 days I had everyone around trying to stimulate my milk production by helping Noor latch … absence of milk got Noor super cranky …phew!
So, to sum all the pain up-
->I had stitches on the outside and on the inside that ached and pulled non stop
->Uterus was contracting so the cramps were a constant companion
->Gas Attack agonising pain which made every breath a big challenge
->Lack of poop made me feel disgusting
->I felt my breasts were being manhandled (when in reality everyone around me was only trying to help me)
->I could not get off the bed by myself without shedding a tear
->The next day post delivery when the catheter was removed from my urethra, I felt like I was being tortured
Crazy 4 days of my life. But after those 4 days… there was only light and joy. Things started getting better slowly and surely. I gave myself healing and my body started recovering at a very graceful speed. Within 10 days I forgot the pain I was in and I started feeling like myself again. At the moment, this feels like an out of body experience.
This is why we should never guilt trip any mommy because they all are doing the best they can. If you have any suggestion for a mommy, be very kind and graceful in the way you convey that suggestion. Mommy’s are warriors and legends indeed. What mothers go through is hard to put in words. My husband, even though exceptionally supportive and caring, felt a ton of pity for me and might not want to get me pregnant again after the trauma he’s seen me go through 🙁 Hopefully he will forget this in 4 years and we will agree on baby number 2. Haha! Let’s see!
TIPS & (self acclaimed) SAGE ADVICE
When it comes to conception, pregnancy and postpartum, here are some of things I’ve learnt and would like to share with you all->
-Be at the peak of your health before you start planning. This goes for both mother & father to be! The fitter you are, the better genes you will pass on to your offspring. Also, the fitter you are, faster and easier conception will be on the cards.
-Mothers who are fit, eating clean, living an active lifestyle and having an optimistic approach in life will have an easier postpartum and quicker recovery.
-Mothers who are at the peak of their health drop 75% of the weight on the delivery table… meaning, they look relatively slimmer immediately post delivery.
-When a woman is pregnant, she is NOT SUPPOSED TO EAT FOR TWO PEOPLE. In fact she’s supposed to eat as clean and healthy as possible.
-If nausea is not on the cards, I urge every expectant mother to eat a good variety of foods because that does contribute to your child being less fussier around food when they grow up. Kids get their first taste of food in their mother’s womb. So the more variety (of clean) food a mother consumes, the more the child is open to trying different foods.
-The day you get pregnant, get yourself a pregnancy pillow. It is absolute blessing for your back and a delight for side sleepers like me. Pregnant women should not sleep on their back as it can cut oxygen supply to the baby which is why a pregnancy pillow is a blessing. Get a pillow that also doubles up as a breastfeeding pillow because postpartum, your spine will need a lot of support.
-Raising a child is expensive, make sure you are financially very sound before you start planning.
-Pregnancy if found complicated can take a toll on your wallet. So be financially prepared for that as well, please.
-Invest in a good massage lady for both baby and mommy massage because a confident massage lady with lots of experience is filled with oodles of knowledge. For example- my massage lady knows as much as any typical mid wife even though she is uneducated but… has decades of experience under her belt.
-Having said that, I run everything my massage lady says by my gynac, pediatrician and friend (doctor & mother) Ankita to be careful and sure. Till date, no clashes in opinion which is why I am in awe with my massage lady and respect her a lot.
-It takes a village to raise a child so make sure if possible you have a lot of people to help out around you. Do not shy away from delegating work.
-Read Rujuta Diwekar’s book called ‘Pregnancy Notes’ because it is a GOLD MINE.
-Make sure you have the following food ingredients in your diet postpartum-> gond (to be put in rabb or laddoo), ajwain water, jeera water and coconut water (room temp). All of these help with healing and milk production. Trust me, you cannot ignore these!
-2-3 months before planning a baby, get your vitamin D levels checked and with the help of your gynac, start taking methyl folate supplement and vitamin D supplement. This is very basic info which any gynac will tell you. But do not take these without checking with your doc.
-2-3 months before planning a baby, please go to a gynac and get a PAP-SMEAR test (for cervical cancer) and also have her check your ovaries at least 8 days before your due period date 😉 *wink*
By doing so, your gynac will be able to tell you when is the best time to have intercourse to increase the chances of conception.
-Do not shy away from prepping the nursery by getting the following:
*Crib (that can be used upto 2 years). Please don’t be old school and make the baby sleep with you. Your baby will get into that habit and you will have no life of your own! Plus it’s not safe to have a baby sleeping between parents. Certain phases can be an exception of course.
*Changing table for diaper change and freshening up. Again, don’t be old school and do this business on the bed because YOUR BACK (SPINE) WILL GO FOR A TOSS.
*Instead of ONLY USING diapers, use cloth and plastic nappies as well as diapers to avoid both wastage and rashes.Change your baby as soon as you can after they have pooped because swimming their butt in poop for long results in rashes.
*Get a nice play mat for your baby to kick start tummy time as soon as their cord (navel) falls off and you have a go ahead from the pediatrician.
*Get a Medela breast pump to pump and store milk which can be used when mother is tired/resting/traveling. Breastmilk can be stored in the fridge for 4 days and in the freezer for upto 12 months. More details on this in my Pregnancy Coaching Program. A breast pump, I am telling you, is an investment that will leave you in awe and gratitude.
*Get feeder bottles for stored breastmilk (like above) as their nipple mimics Mommy’s breasts so your child will NOT GET CONFUSED and won’t forget to latch to your breasts. Not all children get confused but some do… and it’s not worth the risk.
*Use nipple shields if latching your baby is an issue. This will work only if the baby has a good suckle capability and the milk production is good enough. Nipple shields will fail to work if your baby cannot latch and also if milk isn’t coming in in adequate quantities -in which case your baby will be super cranky! There are a ton of ifs and buts around breastfeeding which is why you must be in touch with an expert. You can contact a lactation specialist or have me on board as a Coach so that I can help you in every which way I possibly can. I will do my best, I promise!
-When you plan a baby, please make sure your home environment is supportive because trust me, postpartum is a cakewalk with supportive people around.
-Goes without saying that mothers need to rest up a lot for a good 40 days because our bodies have gone through a lot with pregnancy and then with delivery.
-A supportive and proactive husband will make postpartum a cakewalk. I genuinely cannot imagine my postpartum without my husband, my mother-in-law and my nanny. They have gone out of their way to help out, really!
-I bless every mother & mother-to-be with a fantastic support system because mothers who do not take adequate rest post delivery end up JACKING their spine and joints.
-Pregnancy takes a toll on our spine, fellow mamas! This is why we tie a tight cloth around our belly post delivery. We don’t do that to “reduce belly fat”… that’s a myth. Spine health and joint health are very very important. There is a list of supplements I am on (which I have gotten a go ahead on by my doc) but I cannot share it here because I fear some of you might start taking it without consulting. I do suggest that to my Pregnancy Coaching clients though.
-Please contact me for Pregnancy Coaching so that I can guide you with regards to foods to be eaten postpartum… I did a ton of research plus went through a bit of a roller coaster with my postpartum food options because of the gas attack, c section and sensitive gut post delivery. Postpartum diet is also tricky and full of ifs and buts.
I truly hope this candid blog post helps you. If it does, please leave a comment and share it with anyone you know who might benefit from it.
Lots of love,
A self acclaimed conscious parent
P.S… AND THAT’S what the next blog post is going to be about! I am doing a course on Conscious Parenting because learning never stops for me especially now that I’m a Mommy.