Stepping into motherhood, now I know that being a mom is not just having to carry a baby for 9 months (lucky me that I didn’t have any sickness during my pregnancy), give birth to it; it also includes the confinement period, and, breastfeeding. Of course throughout my pregnancy, I had been given great advices on what to eat for a healthy baby (even though most of the time I was pampered to eat for two), sleeping position when back pain is unbearable, breathing techniques and how to push a baby out. I was made aware of how painful it would be to give birth. What I was not warned about was how I should be enduring my postpartum life, how the confinement period is like (well Asians go through confinement period after giving birth), and I did not know how painful it is going to be to breastfeed a baby (thanks to my flat nipples).
My postnatal life started when I was discharged from the hospital 3 days after my delivery. And my first nightmare began when I rushed back to the hospital just 3 hours after I was discharged because my baby had blood in her spit-ups. I forgot that I just delivered a human few days ago and had my episiotomy stitches, and I walked like nobody’s business. All I could think of was to make sure my baby’s safe and healthy. Thanks to my own negligence, my episiotomy stitches were opened up and I was so depressed, and in pain! The doctor just wouldn’t stitch me back, leaving me with no choice but to walk slowly, and I had to clean my wound with warm salt water and antiseptic, every single time I used the toilet. I hated this the most, honestly.
Nightmare number two started at the same time, and it was breastfeeding. My nipples are the kind which do not protrude, and I didn’t know it would put me in such a painful situation. I had badly cracked nipples which were the cause to my baby’s bloody spit-ups and the late night emergency room drama, oh not to mention, the drama repeated itself: the same bloody spit-ups from my baby, and my baby and I was admitted (again) in the hospital! The nurses monitored my baby and my breastfeeding technique. They wanted to see the latching of my baby to my breast. And I didn’t even know how to correctly hold a baby!
It’s no joke for breastfeeding business. You need to feed your baby, with your milk, through your nipples which hurt like hell, you need to beware of what you eat since some food can cause your baby to become colicky, and trigger eczema if you’re unlucky (I am unlucky, sadly), at the same time you want to eat a lot of things to boost your milk production but you just can’t because you need to be careful of what you eat. And when you talk to other moms who exclusively breastfeed their babies, you’d feel like a loser for supplementing your baby with formula milk. I wish someone had told me all these things before.
I wish I knew how hard it is to be a mom. But now when I look at my baby’s face, I thought to myself, all those pains, stitches, sore and cracked nipples, they’re totally worth it. All these struggles, I’d go through everything as long as she’s always healthy and happy. Because I love her so much ❤️