First Year Of Parenthood

When they tell you that the first year is the hardest, they kid you NOT!

While expecting our first son, I thought that the baby’s arrival will strengthen our relationship. Never did I expect that it would make such a incredible change to our lifestyle and priorities. I don’t think I am exaggerating if I say I went through hell. After all, I did fucked up my health and my relationship with my husband.

Looking back, I wished someone would have warned me about postpartum depression, the importance of taking care of ‘me’, and give me some advice on the relationship front.

There was a saying that a woman giving birth is like having a foot in the grave. Fortunately, I had a c-section. The entire process of cutting me open and extracting my son took about 15 minutes. Then another 30 minutes to clean up what’s left in my womb and to stitch me up. I was in the hospital for 4 days. And the most unbearable ordeal was the unitary catheters. Which I detest to the max!

Traditionally as a Chinese, it is a must for new mothers to go through at least one month of confinement period. During this period, mothers are advised not to bath with cold water, drink lots of ginger water, drink Chinese medicinal soups, eat pork knuckles stewed in vinegar for postnatal recovery and take plenty of rest.

Although I’ve printed a stack of confinement recipe, I only managed to comply the minimum. Like dousing myself with plenty of hot ginger water and bath in hot water.

Resting was out of the question, the baby need to be fed on demand like every 2 hours, the laundry needed to be clean, the milk bottles needed to be washed, dirty diapers needed to be changed, the apartment needed to be clean, meals need to be cooked, so many things to be done with so little time.

Due to my stubbornness to get a helper, I jeopardise my health. My back was in constant pain. I was angry, tired and all I wanted to do was to sleep 5 hours straight but couldn’t because there was this tiny little person depending on me to survive.

Then there was my husband. Although he stayed with me for a week, and helped as much as he could, he had to take care of our restaurant business. I was so wrapped up with my roller coaster emotions I completely neglected my husband and my marriage.

I started keeping scores. What he did and what he didn’t do. Every single thing about him annoys me. I felt being used, I suspect him of seeing someone behind my back. I turned him into the enemy instead of my partner.

Sigh…so there. My first year of parenthood. It was tough. Words can’t even describe how tough it was.

Fast forward to today.

Although my health has improved. I still get lower back pain whenever I carry my 13kg boy for a longer period of time.

As for my relationship with my husband. We went into a work in progress mode, trying to find love again in our role as parents to this adorable little boy.

If there are any advice that I would give from my experience, that would be:

#1. Make sure that you and your spouse is ready to jump into the parenthood bandwagon.

A lot of couple think that by having a baby would strengthen the relationship. Well, I beg to differ. If not planned properly, it could actually be your worst nightmare.

The thing is, both party need to AGREE to want a baby. Both party need to commit and work towards raising a kid albeit the differences in parenting.

#2. Talk about your style of parenting

This is so important. Lets face it, we are all being brought up differently due to culture, personality, family size, parental background, educational level, and religion. If you don’t talk and align on the parenting style, there is going to be a lot of conflict raising the child.

#3. Spend time with your spouse

It is very common for couples to put their relationship on the hold after the birth of the baby. Take time off to have some alone time with your spouse. Go watch a movie, go grocery shopping, whatever . Just go out and do something. This is a must to rekindle the relationship and feel love and admiration for each other again.

#4. Get help.

Don’t be shy to accept any offer from friends and family who offer to cook for you, take care of your baby and you. Doing it alone is exhausting…Get help even if its just a couple of hours!

Also, if you need your husband to do the laundry, wash the bottle, feed the dog, just ask. Don’t expect him to read your mind. Men are not mind readers. Period.

#5. Join a community of mothers online.

Get involved, ask questions. Be a prepared as much as possible.

Good luck!