The year of the dragon almost always sees a baby boom. We’ve been hearing good news all around from our girl friends and relatives since the middle of last year but dragon baby or not, motherhood is an exciting journey and positively life changing but what you don’t usually see are the tiring and stressful moments which can make or break you. Unfortunately, having a baby can take its toll on both your body and your wallet especially if you’re having your first child. So to avoid getting flustered and frustrated, here are some things you should know before the baby comes:
RESIST THE CUTENESS
The cuteness that are baby clothes and toys that is. Think about it, do your newborn babies really need all these hoodies with animal ears and diamond crusted mittens? Chances are that they won’t remember any of it plus babies grow really really quickly and it’ll end up in storage sooner than you think. Only get essentials which can easily be cleaned and replaced if necessary because most clothes and toys will be gifted by family and friends during your baby shower.
THE BEST WAY FOR CHILDBIRTH
Caesarean or water birth, there is no best way to deliver a child. Just do what you feel is best for yourself as long as the both of you come out of the ordeal happy and healthy even if it’s without any pain medication.
YOUR BODY WILL CHANGE
Unless you’re blessed with the right genes and the discipline to work out on an everyday basis, your body will never go back to the way it was. Your body will swell and stretch as your baby grows inside you and these marks will be visible along your tummy, thighs and breasts. In order to regain back your pre-pregnancy body you need to undergo a strict exercise regime and diet.
YOU NEED TO TRAIN FOR CHILDBIRTH
While childbirth may sound like the most beautiful miracle a woman will experience, it is also the most painful and least glamorous. There is a reason why there are antenatal classes to prepare you for labour, birth and parenthood because you will need the stamina to push and bear down for hours. You can start by doing simple stretching exercise such as slow walks and Kegel exercise not forgetting the popular breathing exercise called the Lamaze to help you breathe well and not choke up when your baby is ready to enter the world.
BREASTFEEDING IS NO WALK IN THE PARK
Breastfeeding mothers always seem to look picture perfect in guidebooks and magazines but while it’s something that comes naturally the first few weeks can feel quite awkward for any new mother. If you don’t pump out your milk constantly, your breasts will be filled with undrained milk and harden up. This will cause a painful, throbbing sensation that may develop into fever, chills and slight bleeding externally. You may not be sure if you’re producing enough milk and this information differs from person to person so don’t just stay quiet. Ask other experienced mothers what they’ve gone through especially those who have breast fed for up to a year.
COW’S MILK OR YOUR MILK
There are women who opt to feed their babies with cow milk formulas in the market for several reasons: not producing enough milk, no time or too tired to breastfeed and while mother’s milk is always the best, cow’s milk will not do any harm to your baby. For some mothers, breastfeeding can cause undue stress towards some mothers and this will have negative effects for both mother and child.
YOUR RELATIONSHIP CIRCLES WILL CHANGE
You’ll start to want to hang out with other parents once the baby comes along because there’s a common point of interest. Unfortunately, motherhood changes us mentally because we start prioritizing different things in life. Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself rejecting late night requests to “yum cha”. It’s just a phase of life we all go through but do allocate time for other people than your baby sometimes otherwise you might end up losing all your friends. Having a baby will also change the people in your life especially your husband and your own parents. They will either be loving and supportive or the biggest busybodies you will ever meet.
YOU WILL GO THROUGH A PERSONALITY CHANGE
You know how your mother sometimes compares you to your cousins or your neighbour’s kids, yep, you’re going to end up doing that too someday. Motherhood brings out the competitiveness in us and while it’s nice that you want the best for your child, you’re going to end up stressing both yourself and your child. Don’t compare and don’t push your child into becoming someone they’re not. Give them time to learn and grow at their own pace. Just like people, no two babies are the same.
MOTHERHOOD IS A FULL TIME JOB
All your free time will be spent cleaning up someone else’s mess, doing the laundry, cooking in advance, tutoring and sleeping (if that’s even possible!). Your bags will be filled with diapers instead of the latest issue of Vogue and instead of heels, you’ll have flats on because you have to carry around your little guy while you run errands. We’re in awe of celebrities who always seem to look good while juggling their careers but remember, they can afford multiple nannies while you’re struggling to pay for your kids’ education and house rent at the same time but that doesn’t mean you can’t take time off your busy schedule to spend some time with hubby or your friends.
At the end of the day, the reality of motherhood is neither enchanting nor fairytale-like. In fact, being a “hot mama” is far from the minds of most mothers but all we want in return is to be our children’s best friends at the end of the day and that itself is more precious than anything else in the world.