I had my daughter and first born via C-section. It was a painful time for me. I tried asking pertinent questions to my experienced cousins and family members about the pregnancy process. It failed to a certain level but I was glad for the limited info given. I also was privy to firsthand experience, but that is never the same. Taking care of your own child and your cousin’s children are 2 entirely different things.
When I had my first born I had to deal with a fever she developed on her first night outside in the real world. I noticed it and brought it to the nurse on the ward, who called a pediatrician to look after my child. The doctor recommended I strip her and leave her with nothing more than a vest, pampers sock and hat, letting the elements cool her down. She then informed me that in a hot climate I didn’t have to cloak up the baby. There went my ‘teaching’ of fully clothing her. She always, from that day forward, sported vestand sometimes hat when necessary.
Another accomplishment was breastfeeding. I saw it in movies, and I saw my cousins doing it, but I had no clue how to and what it felt like myself. The nurses tried. When I say tried, they molested me by taking my boobs and tying to place in my baby’s mouth. My shame was gone a long time now and I just sat still waiting on ‘something to happen’. It didn’t so they suggested I squeeze the milk into bottles (they provided) and feed her. Again, I had no clue how this breastfeeding thing had to be done. This I did until I got home. When I was released from hospital, my cousin did the same thing but a little worst. She stuffed the nipple in my daughter’s mouth and told me not to remove it under no circumstances. I felt a pull on my nipples and the pain became lancing in my tummy. I asked if this is how it supposed to feel. I got a resounding yes. So from that day until she stopped nursing, I continued bearing the pain as it meant she was ‘feeding properly’.
The other thing I had to deal with was bath time for her and myself. This was 6 months into her birth though. How did I do this as I didn’t have anyone around to leave her with? This was in her rolling/crawling stage. (What, she is my first and she was a little spoilt). I didn’t have someone to suggest anything specifically so I started taking our baths together. I would sometimes, strap her in the child support and bathe. I did this until she could walk.
One other and last thing I had to deal with is her navel string. This one was tough. I saw the nurses bathe my baby in the hospital. They showed me how to bathe her and clean the area where the umbilical cord used to be. After 1 week I was told that it should be healed and detached. It was not yet. I was panicking just a little as I cleaned the way I was taught. I called my aunt who told me the way she learnt to clean the navel area.
Each time I had to deal with something I felt like I was a disappointment as a parent and mother. I truly felt like I should have known some of these things before having my child. I felt like these are things women should be sharing with each other. These are not things you read in any book that explains motherhood. You do not read about cleaning the navel correctly/incorrectly. You do not read about how breastfeeding should feel. You definitely do not read about how to clothe your child in specific climatic areas.
There were other things I encountered while caring for my child from birth until now. Most I learnt on my own. Others I was informed about after she made her way into the world. I am absolutely grateful for the help I got. The questions answered helped a little and I am thankful but in reality, there are things you learn on your own. You learn to love for your child in a different way. Care in your own style. You learn ways to hug them to sleep, or a particular way to sing them in a soothing way. There is nothing like holding your own child in your arms after giving birth. I will say this, it is also very scary the first few hours. You now have another human to care for until you or they die.
Thank you family, thank you friends and thank you my daughter for making me a mother. Let’s continue this journey together as you grow in grace.
Develop your own skills as a parent.
CONTRIBUTOR: Angel Harrt
Mother of 2 and writer of love, life and living
Author of "My Big Fat Book of Poems" found on Amazon