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For some unearthly reason I am terrified of butterflies. No amount of reasoning or determination will get me over this irrational fear. One day we were at my in-law’s house. My 3 month old daughter was lying on a mat on the floor playing with a rattle. I was sitting next to her watching her with adoring maternal eyes. That is when it happened. A butterfly swooped in from the balcony door. My reaction was instinctive. I got up and ran away, leaving my helpless baby on the mat.
Once the crisis had passed, after the butterfly had been shooed out by a most helpful papa, he joked that it wasn't very maternal of me to leave our daughter and run away. I rationalized that our girl was in no actual danger. My fear of butterflies is a completely irrational phobia. The butterfly wouldn't harm her, so what I did made complete sense.
But to be honest, I ran away thinking only about putting as much distance between myself and the butterfly without sparing a single thought for anything or anyone else. Just as I would have done 4 months earlier. May be subconsciously I realized my daughter was in no danger or I would have run away with her. At least I hope that is true.
My point is, women are not transformers. They cannot instantly transform in to ideal mothers, as soon as their first baby is born. They remain the people they always were. They gradually adapt to the new situation learning something everyday.
Patience has never been my strong suit and I am still not nearly as a patient as a mother ideally should be. But I am getting better as the years go by.
On the bright side changing diapers was not nearly as disgusting as I thought it would be. The routine and mechanical nature of the job made it one of the baby care jobs I dreaded the least. Well that was until my baby could crawl. Then I spent a couple of years chasing after her desperately waving diapers in the air and pleading with her to be still long so I could change her diaper. But she would stop, only long enough to look at me and giggle and snigger, before scampering away. As amusing as it was the first few times, the humor was soon lost on me. But it did keep me fit and slim.
Having enthusiastically chosen to spend several nights awake, reading, working or chatting with friends in my college years, I never thought keeping awake nights would be a big deal. But the fact that it has to be done night after night, without any end in sight and without any choice, for me, made it one of the most nightmarish aspects of being a new mom. It was not just the regular late nights with a colicky baby, but the added annoyance of having to wake up to feed every few hours, after eventually going to sleep, that made this a living horror.
I slowly adapted to it, finding innovative ways of staying cheerful by reading or listening to music with earphones during breast feeding. I would pause a story before going to bed when something exciting in the book was about to start. That way I would look forward to my baby waking me up for the next feed, so I could get back to the story. Later still, I learned to sleep through feeds cuddling her.
When my daughter was 3 months old I injured my wrist, because I would support her head with my palm, while feeding her, and she would push against it, straining my wrist. The wrist took 3 months to heal and is still a little weak today. But then I learned to use a feeding pillow.
Every aspect of motherhood has been a gradual learning process for me, with many delightful cuddly moments to be sure. But I wasn't magically transformed in to the perfect mother when I looked in to my new born's eyes and 4 and a half years later I am still far from it. But I am learning on the job and getting better, and just as I think I have mastered something, motherhood throws new challenges at me, to keep life interesting.
Yes, #HavingABabyChangesEverything around you. But don't fret if you don't change instantaneously. Give it time and know that all us mothers make mistakes and often have no idea what we are doing, no matter how much we look like we have it all together. I am guessing this is true of dads too :)