There is something magnetic about a pregnant belly. It instantly draws unsolicited advice and often horror stories. As much I’d nod and awkwardly smile while hurrying away, I’d think to myself, “Surely I’ll manage with my baby.”
As a millennial, I thought that I should prepare myself by buying endless supplies of baby books, magazines and scouring the ultimate source of information… Google!
I laugh at myself now, remembering how I thought I could prepare myself for a baby by studying.
As a new mom I’ve discovered how wrong I was…
- I learned that while I was waiting for my turn to be wheeled into theatre to meet my baby girl, I myself turned into the biggest baby. I was a mess. I cried and even told my husband that I was leaving the hospital and going home. Somehow, I thought that I could just forget about the whole being pregnant thing.
- While I was prepped for the C-section in theatre, I learned that regardless of my age and my protruding belly, I actually wanted my own mom as they administered the spinal block. I knew there was nothing she could do, but there’s also nothing that beats being held by your mom to quiet anxiety and nerves.
- Not long after that, my baby was welcomed into the world and I thought I had it all figured out. Little did I know that the very first night in hospital was the start of the torturous sleep deprivation. I wish someone had been brutally honest about the reality of sleep deprivation before I had my baby. All I was told was to “sleep while the baby sleeps”.
- Four days later, when I was discharged from hospital, I had to sign my baby out at the security check point. I was so exhausted that I forgot my baby’s name. The security guard laughed at me while I lambasted myself for being a bad mother.
- Once we were home, I would often wake up during the night petrified that I was smothering my baby to death. It was in fact my dog that I was cradling and crying over in my bed – she lapped up the extra attention while my husband reassured me that our baby was very much alive and safely tucked in her crib in the nursery.
I never knew being a new mom would teach me that it’s OK to be emotional, to want your mom, to be imperfect, forgetful and anxious.
Visit www.heartsinhershoes.co.za to read more about Nikita’s journey as a new mom.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.