"Motherhood is pure joy. It is such a blessing to be gifted with a child." This is what many moms tell people when quizzed about how it feels to be a mother. But, we all know that's not the entire truth. Being a mother is not a joyride and it is not something we thank god for every day. Real life rarely resembles those corny baby product advertisements, in which wide-eyed, fresh-faced mothers in floaty white attire coo and cuddle a cute, clean baby with no iota of crankiness or that "I rule you" air about him or her.
Now, before you dismiss me as a cynic let me clarify that I am not one. I am realistic. I do get pleasures in the little things and I do "stand and stare" at the immeasurable moments of happiness life offers. The joy of holding your flesh and blood in your arms is unparalleled. Nothing in the world can match the pleasure you get from your baby's first smile or the first time he or she called you mom. But there is no denying the face that life does go topsy-turvy when you have a baby. You start caring less about your own needs as the little one becomes your focus of attention. You let your career take a backseat so that you can concentrate on being the best mother to your munchkin. Late night parties, movies, plays become a thing of the past.
"[I]f I had one piece of advice to give to new moms, it is this: savour each and every moment with your child."
Being a new mom also means saying goodbye to spontaneity and spur-of-the-moment decisions. Now everything has to be well conceived, planned and organised. A child depends on you, needs to be fed, bathed and, most significantly, protected.
When such Herculean responsibility is on a mother's shoulder, it is but natural to feel lost at times. There are times when you start wondering when you will finally be free to follow your own interests and passions, to be spontaneous again. This frustration is natural and it does not warrant the kind of guilt we often subject ourselves to. Thinking about your own needs does not mean that you love your child any less.
But despite all of this, if I had one piece of advice to give to new moms, it is this: savour each and every moment with your child.
Raising a child is possibly the most difficult job in the world and it requires an array of sacrifices. But, hold on, the kid will grow up sooner than you realise. And when they do, you will look back and reminisce about those moments that may seem trivial to you now. So, take each day as it comes and enjoy every second you have with your child. This is not going to last forever.
Of course, you must focus on yourself too and take out some me-time every day, but don't grieve too much if you have to turn down invitations or outings. Years on, when you reflect back on your life, you will never think about the movies you missed, the plays that went unseen or the coffee date with friends that never materialized. Instead, your mind will take you those precious moments with your little ones who helped you realise that you were stronger than you thought and that you had within you compassion which led you to care for someone so selflessly.