I FEEL so “kilig” writing this because we have a new column name! We just bid goodbye to our previous name “Millennial Mom” because my instinct dictates that I should change it to “Kangaroo’s Pouch.” I find it very heartwarming how a kangaroo takes care of her joey in a pouch.
Now back to our topic.
As you all know, I became a first-time mom at the age of 26. Adjusting to what they call as “fourth trimester” was no joke. Of course, aside from the joy of having a little being, you could not escape from adjustments, adjustments, and adjustments.
Everyone was telling me — “sleep when the baby sleeps.” But sometimes, taking naps could be a tall order for me especially during daytime. It’s when you eat when you’re hungry after breastfeeding and putting the baby to sleep; pump and store breastmilk, then wash and sterilize baby bottles, storage cups, etc; take a bath then watch tv or browse the net. When I was pregnant, I could sleep for at least 12 hours straight. When I gave birth, I could only get 2-3 hours of sleep (and wake up in between when the baby cries.)
First-time moms need guidance and support on this. Nobody said it was easy — engorged boobs, wrong latch, low milk supply. I had fears and major adjustments. However, I must say that breastfeeding (plus sleep deprivation) helped me a lot to go back to my pre-pregnancy weight— from 63kgs to 49kgs in two months!) During the first two months, our daughter would ask for milk every two to three hours.
Relationship with husband
Husbands play an important role to our fourth trimester. My husband was mindful of my needs and responsibility as a new mother, so he would do the other household chores like cooking, washing our clothes, etc. He would also volunteer to help our baby burp right after breastfeeding so I could relax and “nap.” He was also sleep deprived. So when he reported back to work, I felt helpless especially that our baby was very colicky.
Back to work
I had separation anxiety on my first day of going back to work. I breastfed her before I left to make sure she’s full. But when I was about to leave, I held her in my arms and kissed her. I was crying so hard. It was the most heartbreaking part. I had trust issues and I would always get anxious of leaving our baby to anyone else. So when my shift ends, I would always feel excited to go home and be with my baby again.
So for first-time moms reading this and have the same kind of experience, we deserve a tap on our back because we survived! We realized that at the end of the day, you can only trust yourself and your own parenting hacks. All sacrifices will always be worth it.
For expectant moms, you can make it too! You will just figure out what’s best for you and your baby.
(The writer appreciates comments, questions, and story suggestions. Contact her through email@example.com, Ara Casas-Tumuran on Facebook, and @tumuranfamily on Instagram.)