Joyful Beginnings is a health communications campaign to raise awareness on Postnatal Depression (PND), and the importance of partner support, to achieve mental well-being in young parents.
A premature baby is tough, resilient, and courageous – all in all, a miracle rolled into one small being. We met up with Shub, a strong mother of a strong preemie miracle, to hear about her biggest challenges after giving birth.
I have 2 kids and I have been always a working woman.
For my first kid, I had doubts whether I was really ready, physically and mentally, for the responsibility. On top of it, it was told to me by my gynae that it’s going to be a difficult pregnancy and anything could happen. And indeed, it became too complicated later on and I gave birth to my daughter early. She was considered as a 26-week preemie with a birth weight of only 850 grams. We had no time to celebrate and NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) was our home for around 2.5 months.
So the biggest challenge after her birth was the struggle to save and cherish this precious baby. We were absolutely unclear about her health, milestones and future at that time. (It was really a) very difficult period!
However, luckily she proved to be a Miracle child. With the best medical care, she caught up very well and after 2.5 months, we brought her home as almost a full-term child. As a mother, I was constantly under stress because each day in NICU bore good and bad news, and it was very difficult to cope as a new mother. I used to sometimes wonder whether I would slip into depression. But my husband was rock solid and stood by me. My parents and in-laws also rallied around us with utmost care.
Regular monitoring of my daughter’s health and milestones, getting our queries resolved by visiting the paediatric frequently and praying to God helped calm our nerves immensely to overcome this biggest challenge.
When my elder daughter turned 5 years old, we decided to have another child and thus a sibling for her. Questions cropped up our minds – Are we ready for another child? Can we cope up with additional responsibilities? Will it affect my job? And so on.
When our boy happened, the biggest challenge was how to manage both kids. We were in dilemma about how to take care of both with equal love. Will the elder daughter feel jealous and neglected? Will the responsibility of 2 kids take its toll on our relationship as husband and wife? I had lots of doubts in my mind because I am the only child of my parents and had no clue about siblings’ fights and love.
It was a tough balancing act for me. 2 kids, home, office, hubby – Wow! But then again, if you have your support system in place, then it definitely gets easier to manage everything. Parents and in-laws took turns to visit and help us to take care of the younger one. Special mention to our helpers (too). They are truly a very big support.
At the same time, my husband and I focused on our elder daughter because she went through the biggest transition. For first few years, this elder apple of your eyes enjoys everything alone – parental love, toys, and all other perks of being the only child and then boom!!! One tiny baby who cannot talk, cannot do stuff by herself suddenly barged in the home and (she became) all too overwhelming.
Once our son started growing up, things became better. They started playing together and we tried a few things like planning activities that they both love, giving them their sibling time and letting them handle their conflicts and so on.
I wish to encourage all women that nothing is impossible for us. We have the unique ability to recreate another life and that makes us the strongest!
There will be challenges and the journey won’t always be smooth. We have to be prepared for it. With a little bit of planning before and after the birth of a child, a lot of burden gets reduced.
Talk with your partner, family and friends. Express freely about your feelings and let them know about the physical and emotional changes that you are going through during pregnancy and after childbirth. They are our biggest support and there is no need to hold back to seek help from them.
As a mom, of course, you will provide the best tender love care to your child but don’t forget to look after yourself. Food, exercise and mental well-being of yours is the most important too.
After all, if you are happy, your entire family is happier.
Shub, mom of 2 children, writes about parenting, lifestyle and food at www.rainbowdiaries.com. Follow her at @shub_sg on Instagram to catch a glimpse of her life with her two wonderful children!
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