A suckling infant. PHOTO | NATIONA suckling infant. PHOTO | NATION
By NAIROBI WIFE

Once your little one is out and you have gotten acclimated to the situation that you are a mother, you have to get used to making changes to your life and routine.

When your stay in hospital is over and you are handed your little one to take home, the real work begins.

At the hospital, our babies would be taken away daily to be bathed and cleaned and all we had to do was feed them and change dirty diapers. On the last day before we were discharged, we went and were shown the process of giving our tiny, squirming babies baths and how to care for the umbilical stump.

And dressing them once they are clean is another hurdle you will have to jump. Once you get home, that is all on you. Your back will hurt, the baby will cry but you will have to do it.

In addition to that, you will be forced to become a personal manicurist to your infant. I feel like a surgeon, the level of expertise I have for cutting only nails and not skin, only the most skilled can match me. In short, no one else will want to do those jobs.

SLEEPING POSITION

Your relationship with your baby-daddy will never be the same. Did you think that when you were pregnant that you couldn’t get any more tired, irritable and difficult to be around? You were so wrong!

Once the baby comes, your relationship with your partner will definitely change. Time alone together will be slashed as a little person will be constantly in need of your attention.

You will be so focused on the baby that even having adult conversations may be difficult. And when your child finally nods off for the day, you will be too exhausted to want anything more than just a cuddle and a full night’s sleep. Oh, plus your libido will drop. That won’t help things.

You will never feel rested again. Somehow, no matter how much you sleep, you will still feel tired and sleepy. My baby started sleeping through the night at six weeks. She would nod off at 10pm and rise at 6am, but I would wake up exhausted. How or why? I may never know.

Finding a comfortable sleeping position is a task. When one is pregnant, one is advised to sleep on their left side. You cannot sleep on your stomach, for obvious reasons and sleeping on your back not only leaves you with a feeling of suffocation but is also dangerous for both mother and baby. So getting comfortable is difficult.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

The discomfort extends beyond pregnancy when you’re trying to catch forty winks. I had missed rolling onto my stomach and as soon as I tried it, I realized that it wouldn’t work. My huge sore breasts would ache if I tried and leak if I ignored the pain.

When I had the baby, sleeping on my back proved difficult because of two things: one, the C-section wound was still fresh and fears of it opening up were very real. Two, the aforementioned engorged breasts felt like a heavy load on my chest. I still find myself sleeping on my left side.

You might not be hit by the awe-inspiring, love at first sight for your baby. Sure, you will love your baby more than anything else, eventually, but the feeling won’t necessarily come immediately you lay your eyes on your child.

When I first saw my daughter, I couldn’t understand what was happening. I can’t say what I felt was pure, unconditional, unadulterated love, but it was awe. As our attachment to each other grew so did the love. Don’t feel bad if the feelings don’t kick in right away.

There’s a common saying, “…Kulea ndio kazi”, which means that pregnancy is easy, bringing up the children is where the work is. I finally see the wisdom in this utterance and continue to look forward to the challenges that will be presented to me as my daughter grows up.