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Smita Ramani in her own words: I am 28; professionally, I work in media and I love to paint, read & travel. I am super excited for the most amazing journey of my life..motherhood! I am currently 5 months expecting and can’t wait for what comes next!
Before I begin, let me give you a bit of a background. I am a first time mom-to-be and as expected I am flying a few feet above the ground with this news brewing…literally in my tummy!
During these first few months, I began to notice a strange ‘phenomenon’ – a particular reaction this news receives from women who themselves are already mothers. Well to be fair, not all moms, but I can safely say 80% of the moms have a very similar reaction.
Being in the late 20s age group that I am (sigh!), I also have a few friends who are on their journey to motherhood, and they too have encountered this very same ‘phenomenon’. So I decided to put it out there for all moms-to-be and moms.
This is the usual reaction my pregnancy news gets from the ‘been-there-done-that-mothers’ – from close relatives, to friends to complete strangers who see the bump and just have to come up and say something .
On hearing the news, of course there is the customary congratulations offered, followed by enquiries on my health, month etc. All standard and expected. What comes next is what I find a little difficult to comprehend and probably a little uncomfortable as well. Next comes an armory of statements and advice on the changes in my life and the challenges of motherhood. Here are a few examples:
– Wow! Your life is about to change! Enjoy while you still can!
– How far along did you say you are? You look way too big bump/small bump/overweight/underweight .You should check with your doctor and eat properly.
– Oh my god! Say good bye to sleep and any personal time for the next 2 years.
– Get ready for a cranky baby and diaper duties.
– And my personal favorite…”Motherhood is not as easy at it looks ok? Its not as rosy as it looks in the Anne Geddes pictures. There is a lot of sacrifice and tears. You should be prepared for it.”
To the above, I am thinking in my head, “You don’t say! I thought I would just switch the baby to ‘auto-mode’ and it would just self sustain.” I think we all have been in contact with enough cranky,bratty and difficult toddlers to know motherhood is no piece of cake. Hell! We too were demanding little brats once.
I want to tell all these experienced mothers that though I know their advice is well meaning, it does more harm than good. I remember one mother telling me the challenges of breastfeeding and how it doesn’t come naturally to all mothers. I immediately panicked and bought so many books on breastfeeding! Really.
Out of all the mothers I have interacted with so far, two gave me the reactions I think all moms-to be need and want to hear.
A close friend, also a mother, told me, “Being a mother is the most natural process in the world. You will learn, as we all did, on-the-job. You will be exactly the mother your child needs.”
And my mom, a loving mother of two daughters, God knows she had her own set of challenges. But when I ask her about it, all she had to say was “Be prepared to feel more love than you ever thought possible. That’s all you need to be prepared for right now, the rest will all come naturally”
So to conclude, it is my request to all the wonderful experienced mothers out there. We mums-to-be know and are prepared for what lies ahead (well, as prepared as anyone can be). I am sure there will be challenges, but then we don’t expect to get something so beautiful without a bit of work! So please, the next time you see an expectant mum, just give her a hug, tell her something wonderful you experienced as a mother (I am sure there are plenty of things).
Because even though this mom-to-be might seem to be floating several hundred feet above the ground in a happy bubble, she doesn’t need your ‘reality check’ just yet…because when the time comes, this floaty, happy mum-to-be will land smooth and strong…ON HER FEET!
To all mums-to-be, Ladies, block out the noise, you are already the BEST mother your child can get.
Pic credit: Bodhisoma (Used under a Creative Commons license)
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How nicely written! Here’s a hug from me, and enjoy yourself now & later!
Best wishes on your journey to motherhood… My 2 cents – Accept the changes, Love yourself and your baby! and Enjoy the journey. – Nischala
Thank you AMITAPKAMAT & NISCHALA for the lovely wishes 🙂
Great advice for moms-to-be and future moms-to-be. I’ll definitely be turning to you when its my turn. All the best my beautiful Smita Ramani.
Happy Journey!!! I have found that I was never so overwhelmed with love, affection, fear and ferocity before I became a mum. It is an incredible journey for both parents. I have found the husband changes a lot and mostly for the best just like we do… It is time to rediscover each other again through the kid. Enjoy the ride. There is nothing like it! Best of Luck.
Thank you Uma , that’s such wonderful advise!! 🙂
The best advice I got and would like to share with you – 1. From my mom who told me you’ll learn motherhood when you have to, it’s instinctive. 2. From my father-in-law (yes, indeed!) – he called me post-delivery and I told him I feel like I have a new doll, and he said, don’t worry, you will soon realize this can give you more happiness than a doll ever did.
The best way to be prepared for the whole journey is to let it be full of surprises, Don’t prepare, don’t read (chuck away all those books your bought!), and you will find yourself enjoying every moment of it. A big hug to you 🙂
thank you ARUNIMA ! Its so wonderful that you have such supportive father in law and mum. I feel so good already, getting such lovely advise and wishes from wonderful mothers like yourself. Thank again for reading 🙂
Hmm in two minds about this. When I was pregnant, I actually felt better knowing about the ups – and downs as well. I understand sometimes it can feel like too much advice, but I actually felt better learning about others’ delivery stories. Again, breast-feeding didn’t ‘come naturally’ to me, and other moms’ tips in terms of what worked for them really helped. It also made me feel like I wasn’t such an ‘unnatural’ mother who couldn’t get her baby to feed. So I am bit wary of the ‘it will all come to you’ school of thought. Yes, it is partly instinctive, but some of it is learnt too….
Thanks for reading RITI and sharing your thoughts on it. I am glad those stories worked for you. There is no denying that some advise from mums is really appreciated and helpful. I am just talking about how we mums to be are already anxious enough as it is, striving to know it all, and be it all, before the bundle of joy arrives. I personally feel , that sometimes while talking about the challenges, mothers forget to talk about the wonderful aspects of motherhood. I am just urging them to talk about the good as well.. just a little more 🙂
Thanks for reading!! 🙂
Hmm, it seems like there was a time when all a pregnant woman would hear are the happy stories, which proved to be very one-sided when the baby was born, so maybe in reaction women started sharing more of the challenges, but now it seems that there’s a counter-reaction against that.
Like Riti above, I preferred to know the ups and downs, and if I’d have to pick, I’d pick the downs because I don’t think I’d need help or preparation for dealing with the ups. And thankfully, I did heard a lot of downs and very little surprised me when my baby did come, though I did wish I could have evaded experiencing some of the downs. Knowing about the downs didn’t take away from my pleasure of being pregnant and in my baby.
““Being a mother is the most natural process in the world. You will learn, as we all did, on-the-job. You will be exactly the mother your child needs” is not exactly what I would want to hear, maybe because I’m allergic to the world ‘natural’.
@The Bride: fair enough! I guess each one’s experience is different.And I am sure all of us have our pet peeves/allergies , mine happens to be cynicism. Each of us has a different coping mechanism. Asking for help or advise when needed is a different thing altogether. I am glad that hearing all the downs helped you cope with your baby.For me its a little different. I always look at the light at the end of the tunnel, and if there are roadblocks I face along the way, I know there’s always a way over it! I personally don’t think the commonly circulated philosophy of “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst” applies to motherhood. Not for me atleast:)
Thanks for reading! 🙂
live ur best life! Congrats. Cheers!
Thank you Rajashree! 🙂
Really interesting post and comments too..
Each one has a different perspective towards motherhood and for me, i wish someone had told me it would not be rosy!
The way Indian society glorifies motherhood and the fact that i became a mother at 25 maybe reasons why i had a tough time as a new mother…i sometimes didnt feel too connected with the whole process..
Now my daughter is going to be 4 and there are different challenges everyday!
All the best to you and i am happy that you have such a positive attitude!
hanks for reading Sri. When i wrote this I knew there would be a lot of different perspectives on this, as motherhood & even the journey to it, is very personal. And like you said, i have enjoyed reading each opinion this article has invoked.
Thank you for your wishes Sri 🙂
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