Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fears Of Being Pregnant and Being a Mother

For years since we got married in 2011, we've had people asking us to have a baby pronto while we were still "young". Only a few people (and friends) advised us to do what we wanted to do first before jumping into parenthood. You know, like travel the world, win the lottery, etc ... haha!

In all honesty, I was always terrified of going through pregnancy and motherhood. No, it wasn't about 'being pregnant' but going 'through pregnancy', if there's a difference. Which I think there is.

Or maybe not ... :D

My main fear was being an overweight pregnant woman and an overweight mother soon after the 9 months were over. I was terrified of putting on too much weight and never be able to shed it off. 

I thought I'd be able to lose some weight first before being pregnant but I don't think I tried hard enough! 

I didn't enjoy the weight gain during my first two trimesters because I was always hungry (1st trimester) and I didn't exercise enough during the second trimester. I was annoyed with myself, especially when my weight kept increasing and my appetite was not fading.

It was hard to stop worrying about the unnecessary or excess weight gain and focus on being healthy and fit. Somehow through time, I did adjust my focus. It made me feel better when friends commented that I looked OK for a pregnant woman.

Nevertheless, I would remind myself every now and then about how lucky and blessed I was:
1. My pregnancy was normal and there were no complications;
2. My weight gain was 14kg, which some might say was still too much and some will say that's not too bad. I made sure I walked more during my final trimester and did my best to eat well.
3. I don't have too much stretch marks, just a little bit below my abdomen.
4. I was able to sleep well through the night - you hear stories about babies in tummies kicking up a storm when mummies are sleeping at night.
5. My baby was (and still is) a healthy one.

Made these bibs in April. Haven't used them yet as they are quite big for him at the moment.

Moving on, now that the bub is out and 6-7 weeks old, let me tell you about what I feared about being a mother. One of the main reasons I felt that I wouldn't be ready for motherhood was being selfless. I could never imagine myself devoting 99% of my time and energy to a helpless child nor the patience it required. ('It' as in motherhood, not baby!)

I still can't imagine myself being unselfish but no doubt motherhood will slyly change me all for the sake of the bub. Hmmm ...

The first few weeks of postpartum were hard. I was irritated by the constant crying and my inability to decipher his cries. The lack of sleep didn't help either. Nor did it help that there were restrictions in my movements during confinement, e.g. I had to walk slowly and carefully so that I didn't tear my stitches. And he was just so fussy - he hated being changed out of his clothes and diapers, didn't enjoy his baths, took more than an hour to settle after feed to go back to sleep, and wanted to be carried often.

What I thought I'd get, was the ideal baby who could sleep through the night with less fuss after feeds, the independent one who could be put down to sleep without having to be rocked and held to sleep first.

Well, it's a hard knocked life and I had to be more realistic, Bin said.

Before I was even pregnant, I swore to myself that I would be the stern, no bullshit mother who would NOT practice attachment parenting. I was annoyed when the hubby would pick up the baby to soothe him when I wanted him to cry it out. (Yeah, mommy's a meanie.)

I kept reading about how we had to be firm, how we had to instill a routine for him to adapt and soon live it, etc and how we'd be able to have more sleep at night. And you know our Asian parenting also tells us that picking the baby up often results in a pampered child, i.e. he'll be so used to sleeping in your arms, he's bullying the parents as he clearly wants his way, etc.

So I kept trying to practice being stern and heartless, but his crying and distress would derail me and I confess, there were a few times when I shouted at him to shut it. It was just driving me nuts.

20th June - During one of our afternoon naps. Not sure how
he moved towards me and ended up resting against my arm.
I did my best not to move much for fear of waking him up. 

Then I read elsewhere that I should pick him up whenever he cried, to find out what he wanted as the sooner I attended to him, the calmer he would soon be and his constant crying would slowly decrease.

So I tried that instead. Trust me, you would do anything to calm a fussy/crying baby. Bin was more desperate than I was as he needed his sleep in order to function well at work the following day!

Somehow, the latter method works better and I believe he is less fussy now. 
Or maybe I've reined in my annoyance and anger whenever he cries (I have to remind myself it's not his fault that he's crying, he's not doing it deliberately, it's just his way of communicating, he's just a baby) and am more calm now when dealing with him.

Or maybe he has grown up, I don't know.

So that is part of attachment parenting, being able to calm and soothe the baby whenever he needed it. Not the other school of thought where you had to let the baby cry it out and sort himself out. Carry him, if that's what he wanted!

Trust me, I was the person who smirked and shook her head in disagreement when the midwife in our antenatal class told us that there's nothing wrong with holding our baby as much as he/she wants or whenever he/she cries. No, no, I didn't want to spoil my child.

(Oh wow, look at that. I actually had the time to sit down to write this post when I thought I'd never be able to have the time to do this ever!)

Anyway, things are a bit better now. I am quite surprised as to how much his behaviour has improved - he's much more calmer. I can change him out of clothes and dirty diapers with no fuss at all, even bathing him is alright, provided I don't do it too close to his feeding time!

Before I digress further, let me mention one of the other things about motherhood which I feared and was not looking forward to - breastfeeding. This fear was generated based on my perception of pregnancy and motherhood before I got onto the motherhood bandwagon.

The thought of breastfeeding gave me shudders. I mean, geez, wasn't it like a violation of my privacy??

It sounds silly but hey, I'm just putting it out here. 
And after this long talk, it's easy to surmise that:

On being pregnant
I feared being fat and overweight.
I feared having to go through a Caesarian surgery.

On being a mother
I feared breastfeeding would speed up the process of sagging boobs.
I feared I had to be selfless towards the new human I helped create, as I honestly believe I am pretty much a selfish person.
I fear(ed) having a spoiled brat of a child.

On being selfless, let's just say that sometimes I don't even have the chance to brush my teeth!

14th July, 1045pm  - Instead of settling down for the night,
he was gurgling non stop and wanted to chat.

Bin says our son will definitely be mommy's boy and I did my best not to smirk. Mommy's the food provider at the moment, so of course he's mommy's boy!

Anyhoo, I foresee some difficulties in adjusting our routine in the future but we keep reminding ourselves that he's just a baby and not even 2 months old yet. Granted, he's giant baby and looks like a 3-4 month old so we do tend to forget his real age. :(


  1. You'll be a fine mother la! Don't worry too much. He's a little baby and babies are supposed to give their parents sleepless nights :D

    1. i'm glad that sleepless nights are much more bearable nowadays. i'll just have to accept that i'll permanently look like a panda!