Motherhood Wonders

"And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision, and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful." An-Nahl (16:78)

The Post Partum Roller Coaster

After I gave birth, the nurses handed my husband and me the baby until our room was ready. We were both so exhausted and my body was so weak, I could barely hold the baby. We were up all night. In the morning, the family started visiting so I could not sleep. It was extreme happiness combined with extreme fatigue as well that was making me overtired to sleep. My husband had a bad migraine. My mom stayed with me in the hospital, but I still couldn't sleep because my body was too alert to feed Zee. When I came home, I didn't even shower for two or three days because I couldn't remember. I barely washed my face in the morning. Due to nursing, my days and nights were mixed up. This over alertness and tiredness did not let me sleep for about 5 days. Finally, I had a panic attack on like the 5th day. I was hyperventilating, so I called my mom over. She showered me, gave me a full body massage, and helped me deep breathe so I could relax a little. My husband was also overwhelmed seeing me struggle and not being able to help. I could finally open my eyes a little and pay attention. It took a good month a half to adjust especially learning to nurse the baby and dealing with the milk overflow. We were able to take the baby to the mall and go for walks to get fresh air which helped to calm our nerves. Even though we had family support for the baby, we were not prepared on how to look after ourselves and emotions.

We did not know the emotions would be so high and strong. For mothers, giving birth, the body going back to its normal state and producing milk for the baby brings about a lot of hormonal changes. So the first month is spent in confusion and blurriness. I had an overall good pregnancy and was able to take time off a month prior to giving birth. I didn't really think much about post-partum depression or anxiety. I knew some women do go through it but I was not sure about what leads to it. My understanding was the lack of family support and help could overwhelm a person and cause distress.

Moving on, my life pretty much became all about Zee after his birth. Taking care of his needs was my priority. All-day, I pretty much just thought about looking after him. So, I wasn't really being mindful of my own needs. I don't even remember having any self-care activities because I was nursing my son and just getting the hang of it took a few months. Then, he started eating solids as well as nursing so that added to my responsibilities. I have help at home, but I wanted to do most of his tasks by myself. In the beginning, the first week or two my husband would come along for appointments. When he returned to work I would drive my son to our appointments. My in-laws would do the groceries and other outdoor tasks. So, I was spending most days at home and not going out much other than taking the baby for his walks. I was used to going outside and spending time with other adults the majority of my day at work. So, it was a huge change for my kind and body to experience being at home all day with not much adult conversations (or being creative). I wanted to go to the gym but because I was feeding, I didn't want my supply to be affected and I didn't really look into any other suitable activity at the time.

My son is now 2 years old. Around the time he was 1 and a half, my friends and I decided to put more effort into trying to see each other as they have kids too and live a bit far. I stay over at my mom's house from time to time. Around 7 months, my husband and I started watching our shows together again and more regularly spending more quality time with each other. Zee had to start his routine of sleeping around 8 pm that gave us a few hours. Also, my in-laws look after him at home so we can get a break here and there during the day. However, all this time meeting his needs was still my focus. I wasn't reading any leisure books, listening to music, caring for my skin or praying with focus, etc. Even my meal times were rushed. I wasn't eating mindfully.

 When it comes to resources on how to care for the baby, there were plenty. For example, through my doctor, reading online, free books that my husband received through his work, and family and friends who have children give you a lot of information. I signed up for community classes but wasn't able to make it due to the weather. I read on breastfeeding (latching, quantity, etc). Also, the hospital offered a nursing session that I attended. (I find men, however, are not that interested in learning esp if there is family to help and feel like they are prepared until the baby arrives). It's a heavily emotional experience for them as well and they also tend to feel overwhelmed within the first month. May Allah SWT guide us all to reclaim our lost connections with each other. 

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