SOCIETY TALK

Parenting 101: It’s all on you

In Summary
  • Underneath the excitement and jubilation of coming home with your new bundle of joy are the sleepless nights and complete and utter fatigue
  • Until you find your groove, breastfeeding is probably the hardest part of parenting one must hack
No one talks about how mentally and physically draining breastfeeding is during the first month.
No one talks about how mentally and physically draining breastfeeding is during the first month.
Image: STAR ILLUSTRATED

The last month has taught me more than I have ever learnt in my 33 years of existence. I had prepared myself in every single way for the journey of motherhood. I had prepped myself psychologically for the transition from me-hood to motherhood. I read up on every bit of information I could find and buckled up for any unexpected events. Little did I know that nothing would ever compare to the real deal.

As I watched the psychological thriller You for a review column, I couldn’t help notice that the self-proclaimed psychopath Joe and myself had something in common. In the premier of the third season, Joe is a new parent and admits that parenthood was not as magnificent or rewarding as he had imagined. He compared it to the 1993 film Groundhog Day, where the main character is trapped in a time loop, forcing him to relive Groundhog Day every day.

For the last month or so, my days have been looking like a blurry montage of every parenting film ever made. My days are like an endless visual track of feed-diaper-change-sleep-feed- that keeps playing on loop over and over again.

In the last month, I faced the toughest moment in my life and had to be the strongest I have ever been. I have broken down to my lowest and faced off several smaller yet significant breakdowns. In the last month, I finally understood the gravity of the word parent. While I know that there are harder days to come, I realised that surviving the first month of being a new parent is the key to hacking this thing called parenting.

At some point, I broke down completely almost unable to save myself. However, in the depth of my sorrows, a hungry cry called out to me. I realised there was no lifeguard that would be sent to rescue me; I was the only one who could help myself.

Underneath the excitement and jubilation of coming home with your new bundle of joy are the sleepless nights and complete and utter fatigue.

While I understood the concept of being a parent and prepared myself for it as best as I can, it was during the sleepless nights when I overcame exhaustion to care for the baby when I realised that from this point on I will never be truly alone. I did not necessarily long for my pre-parent days, but I was in an unfamiliar territory fighting to stay awake.

As a mother, the physical exhaustion was nothing compared to everything else. The mental drain, the sleep deprivation coupled with the unfamiliarity and difficulty of breastfeeding got the best of me.

For some reason, no one talks about how mentally and physically draining breastfeeding is during the first month. Until you find your groove, breastfeeding is probably the hardest part of parenting one must hack.

During the first month, I kept coming across relentless obstacles one after the other. I felt like a person lost at sea trying to get up for air but every time I almost made it to the top, another wave would crash over my head and pull me down.

At some point, I broke down completely almost unable to save myself. However, in the depth of my sorrows, a hungry cry called out to me. I realised there was no lifeguard that would be sent to rescue me; I was the only one who could help myself.

Although, I am surrounded by an incredible support system that cares for my physical and mental wellbeing as well as that of the baby’s, I lowered my expectations of others. I began to view parenting from an angle that focused solely on my responsibilities towards the baby. For me to hack it is as a parent, I need to focus on my health to be the best parent I can be for my child.