It was four in the morning, and I was woken up by sharp pains, and I knew my prince was arriving. After about 6 hours my boy was yelling from the bottom of his lungs as he greeted the world. After the push, I thought that was the hardest part. Woe unto me, here came the nightmare of the afterbirth.
The post-natal information is very scarce, and I believe it essential for preparing the mother on how to cope with the new changes that come with welcoming a baby. If it was emphasized as necessary as the information about pregnancy and births is, then I think it would relieve many especially new mothers a lot of pain. After delivery, many mothers suffer from postnatal depression because they are not prepared on how to handle the stress that comes with a baby. I was going nuts, and I never thought I would survive this period.
I remember having to wear cotton wool and had the heaviest blood flow of my life. Uncomfortable fluids were coming out of my private parts for about three months. No one ever told me about this uncomfortable experience.
Then came the stitches that I had to clean with warm salty water. Boy, did they hurt! It was painful, and I had to clean it three times a day religiously to avoid an infection. Going for a long call was a nightmare. I couldn't squat because of the stitches, so I had to do this halfway standing. I was advised by the nurse who attended to me during birth to always go to the loo whenever I had a long call to avoid constipation which would lead to my stitches rapturing and would be stitched up again.
I remember there was this day I was hanging my baby's clothes and I started staggering like a drunkard. I was sleepy and fatigued; this was contributed by sleepless nights as my boy would wake up when I wanted to sleep. It went from sleeping all night to almost having no sleep at all. I later learned that I should sleep when the baby is sleeping and avoid doing chores at that time as I had earlier believed or told.
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When growing up, I saw women give babies breast milk whenever they cried. When I became one, I tried to use this trick to calm my angry boy, but sometimes it didn't work. I came to learn babies can cry because they are feeling warm, cold, they are wet, or their stomach hurts. This, you can imagine, only made him scream even more when I tried to feed him with the milk when he was wet. After I did some learning, I always checked for anything that would cause him discomfort and not necessarily thinking it was hunger.
I came to understand that you have to learn the art of burping after feeding. My boy suffered from the stomach gas problem before I mastered the art of burping him. I call it an art because you have to learn how to hold the baby to have a successful blurp.
I think this calls for health attendants to start giving information to mothers on how to cope with their new roles as mothers and mechanism of combating stress during this time.