Parenthood can be challenging but it has its rewards and there’s really nothing quite like it.
WORDS REBECCA WONG
No matter how much preparation you put in, parenthood will take you by surprise! Here are just some of the unexpected experiences you’ll go through now that you’re a mama.
Maternal Instinct is a Real Thing
Initially convinced that you had no maternal bone in your body? Perhaps you never felt soft inside at the sight of a baby like your friends did. However, you may be surprised when you discovered how naturally being a mother came to you! “When you have a baby, you’ll find yourself acting without thinking,” observes Daniel N. Stern and Nadia Bruschweiler-Stern in The Birth Of A Mother: How The Motherhood Experience Changes You Forever. “Drawing on maternal instinct, you start developing intuitive ways of holding, touching and making sounds that build the relationship between you and your baby. “
But...Bonding May Not Happen Immediately
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel a connection at first sight. Every relationship takes time, especially a parent-child one. “Factors that can affect the process and speed (of bonding) include having an emergency caesarean, tiredness, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of parenthood,” notes Ann Peters in Dorling Kindersley’s Babycare: Everything You Need to Know. Give it time and remember that a strong relationship doesn't happen overnight.
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Your Body May Respond Negatively
Your body has probably undergone many changes during pregnancy but be on the lookout for postpartum issues as well.
Common complications include postpartum bleeding
(loss of blood from the genital tract), perineal pain (pain between
the vagina and rectum), constipation and mastitis
(inflammation of the breast).
If these occur unexpectedly, stay calm and consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Time Really Flies
Just think about how fast your little one outgrows baby clothes! The moments pass by quickly, so treasure each moment. "My son is now 10, I try to remind myself that he’s only going to enjoy my company for a few more years, so I’d better make the most of today to hang out with him,” relates mum Grace Lim, 37. “Laugh and play with your kids as much as possible, and say “I love you” every day, especially when you aren’t feeling it,” adds Dorcas, 37 and mum to two teenage boys.
You’ll Power Through, No Matter What
You've mentally prepared yourself for the exhaustion that comes with looking after children, especially a newborn. The crazy thing is – you have never imagined actually being able to power through one crazy day after another! Be it sleep training your baby, managing household errands or meeting office deadlines, you’ve survived them all.
Recognise just how capable you’ve become, and don’t look back.
You’re Always Learning Something New
It’s often assumed that the more kids you have, the less surprised you’ll be. Each kid, however, brings about a new set of challenges to contend with. Dealing with different temperaments and demands are all in a day’s work for most parents. Sometimes, it feels like the more experience you have, the less you know. Embrace the joys of lifelong learning and remember to enjoy this wild crazy ride we call parenting!
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