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Recently Kareena Kapoor, the newbie Mom to join the Mommy gang was in the news for her ramp walk where she stepped out of her home within 45 days after giving birth. While many lauded her spirit and her strong message of motherhood being normal, there were quite a few who chastised her for breaking the 40 day confinement period (a golden rule of every New Mum). I chuckled as I thought about this and the other such rules which I broke as a new Mum and in hindsight I am glad I did it.
“What” I almost guffawed in shock and surprise “Would I have the energy or time to go shopping once the little one is out? And what will it wear? Obviously we can’t keep it naked till we buy these new clothes right?
You can borrow from your cousins or close friends for a few days till you buy the new ones - was the response I got. I would want my baby to wear the clothes I buy for him/her. Besides its not that I would just buy them and put them on. I have to make sure they are properly washed in antiseptic liquid, ironed if needed and folded neatly all ready for the little one.
Another equally hilarious argument was – you don’t know if it’s a boy or girl how will you buy then? This infuriated me for this is nothing but a form of gender bias – isn’t it. Pink is for girls and blue is for boys- says who? I would buy both and some more colors that I like and dress up my baby in those irrespective of the gender. This gave me a stronger reason to buy them before the baby’s birth and I went ahead and bought clothes for my baby.
Then came the task of washing them in Dettol and warm water, drying them and neatly folding them and arranging them in the wardrobe for the baby – just like this mom
2 years down the line when I became a Mom- a bottle of Dettol sanitizer is what I arm myself with all the time - you will find one in the drawing one, the bedroom, and my vanity bag. No I am not being paranoid nor a health freak but with a new born at home, I am wary of her catching an infection. In fact my friend’s sister was very polite; I am firm that no one touches the baby unless they have sanitized themselves. I do not intend to be rude but the baby’s health and wellbeing comes first.
One more thing that I learnt is – it’s good to give a breather to the new mom before you call over for a visit. As much as we are excited to see the new one, we should realize it’s not easy for a new num and her family with the erratic sleeping pattern of the baby, breastfeeding, the physical wellbeing itself has taken quite a stress post-delivery and needs time to recuperate. It’s best to visit after a month or so or rather 2 months once the Mom and baby have settled down into a pattern. This is a new rule I have made for myself when I go visiting new Mums and I hope others do follow it as well in the interest of new mums.
The pressure on new mums to do it all deftly and with precision is tremendous. Right from breastfeeding to cleaning the baby poop and giving him an oil massage and bath to putting him to sleep- well unless she does all this by herself how will she bond with her baby? It’s ok to accept help from adults initially but as soon as she can, she should pick up the ropes. While I do not deny it’s good to be independent, I strongly disagree that Moms who do not do this by themselves would struggle to forge a bond with their child. In my case I was too scared to bathe her and we hired a trusted maid who took care of her bathing rituals and I stood by watching and talking to my little one.
I also did not believe in putting unnecessary stress on myself and I took the help of my near ones in caring for the baby. This gave me some breather and I knew it that once I join work eventually after 4.5 months the baby would be cared for by my grandmother. I did not want to create a situation where the baby is so dependent on me that she refuses to go to others.
The point I am making here is that working or not- all Mums do need some rest and recreation and time for themselves and that is only possible when you stop taking the complete load and let your hubby, parents, in laws also share the responsibility without feeling guilty.
Flouting these rules help me realize that every parent’s journey is unique. In my journey I perceived that these set of things won’t work in my favor and hence I decided to modify or disregard them.
Do share your story of the rules you adhered to/ did not adhere to. Would love to hear from you.