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Nkechi Busari-Okoro: Being a New Mom! Things Nobody Warned Me About

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As a first time mom, nothing prepared me for the experience of having and caring for my own child. I had toyed with the idea once or twice, it came to me as something I could handle as I had other areas of my life, I guess. Not even the pregnancy and baby care websites I had subscribed to prepared me for the labour pangs, the teary experience of seeing a new human being made of a hundred percent of me and a hundred percent of my husband; the sound of his loud cry, the joy of the feeling of escape – escape from the discomfort that came with pregnancy (little did I know that I had escaped into something more challenging!). Nothing prepared me for the feeling of accomplishment that I had. To me, I had achieved a new feat, I had created a family. My own perfect little family.

No one warned me about:

Sleepless nights spent feeding or cuddling baby. In the past, I could sometimes sleep for up to twelve hours on Saturdays and still wake up tired.

Restless days spent hanging on to your sanity.

Baby’s stomach upset which started just less than a week after he was born, up till about three months after.

Bouts of baby’s post-immunisation fever and tantrums.

Dysentery baby had developed a while later. I guess it was the formula, I’m not sure.

Even what a paediatrician called seborrheic dermatitis!

Wads of cash spent and still being spent.

If you had a baby in the abroad, you know the struggle flying thousands of miles back home with an infant. A nice little Nigerian woman had to save me when we were in transit. Another lovely lady held my baby for some hours, so that I could eat and catch some sleep. She must have seen the exhaustion in every part of my body.

As for my body, it had changed. Breastfeed or not, your breasts change. They’ll no longer be as plump as they once were. If you’re like many of us, you’ll most likely develop stretchmarks on your tummy. Mine came when my pregnancy was already about eight months gone. Why evils? I had consistently rubbed on my stomach a mixture of shea butter, coconut oil and bio oil; but they came nonetheless. I genuinely thought I had dodged that bullet.

The bulgy stomach. I’m sure I had had one of the flattest midsections on the block. I lost a lot of general body weight after delivery of my baby, but this midsection, I attest, is the most stubborn. I’m still working on it. Laziness will just not let someone shine.

They say one’s hair falls off after they’ve had a child. I guess mine did; or maybe it fell off because the hair do I had on had been there for a while. Anyway, when I got back, I tinted my hair to a mild burgundy colour, more of my hair broke; then I ran to Jamaican black castor oil my sister got. It revived my hair.

My mind. I’ve certainly not experienced anything as personally emotionally challenging as having a baby. When I was a newer mom, I’d just sit and cry for no reason. I had to let out all the stress somehow. The nurses and the articles said it was the pregnancy hormones and that it was normal. I was moody some of the time. There was no longer “me time”. There was now a human right in my face, waiting on me every time and I was fully responsible for him. When he slept, I’d squeeze in a few minutes of sleep too. Otherwise, I was on my own…

Nothing indeed prepared me for the deep love I feel for this child; the pure unadulterated love. Nothing prepared me for caring genuinely for someone other than myself, in the most fiercely protective, most defensive, most possessive way. Absolutely nothing!

Photo Credit: Jbrown777 | Dreamstime.com

Nkechi is a lawyer, writer, entrepreneur and new mum. She seeks to make sense of the world around her by research and writing. She shares her thoughts, experiences and insights on her blog - girlchatwithkech.blogspot.com where she blogs about lifestyle, motherhood and inspiration. Follow her on twitter and instagram at @kech101.

23 Comments

  1. Marlee

    March 17, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Oh is there nothing sacred anymore. Showing a baby like this to the whole world is so not right. Children have rights please. They are human not toys.

    • Pink

      March 17, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      It’s her baby, she can show him all she wants! Miss child right activist. Smh
      To the writer, well done mummy. You’re doing a great job!

    • Idomagirl

      March 20, 2017 at 12:59 am

      What’s wrong with the picture?

  2. Baby gurl

    March 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    This made me drop a tear. Can’t wait to be a mummy too. I’ll bookmark this. To add to my mummy chronicles collection. Thank u.

  3. A.d.e

    March 17, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Im pregnant at the moment and just last weekend i asked my mum why people pay so much attention to praying for one right after one gets married and no one actually prepares new wives or aspiring mums the psychological part of being pregnant or caring for an infant. I guess no one can actually teach you this aspect of life until you experience it.

  4. Sul

    March 17, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    It really feels like u took an excerpt from my life right now..i had a baby barely two weeks ago n u already know girrrrl!!! All dis unexpected thangz got me dabbing mah forhead…as in its not easy!!!! Ive had to re adjust to soo much n my me time jst went poof..lol i hvnt cried yet but ill probably get der in a month..sigh! But d love though..its soo strong…der r all diz family arnd babysitting fr me and still if i dont see him for a second i begin to worry..lol im lovestruck n sleep deprived all at once. Smh…Im definitely gonna cry in abt a month!

  5. john

    March 17, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Nothing preparedme for the feeling of accomplishmentthat I had. To me, I had achieved a new feat, I had created a family. My own perfect little family…..ssshhhh or feminists will tell you that is not an achievement

  6. Ememobong

    March 18, 2017 at 5:39 am

    As far back as when I was a little kid, I have always wanted to be a wife and mother. I will be 40 this year so hopefully it will happen this decade. Kudos to all the happily married and single mothers out there, it ain’t easy. ?

  7. Nkechi Busari-Okoro

    March 18, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Thanks guys!
    It’s a daily challenge that we win daily!
    @Marley, it’s an internet photo.
    Thanks Pink.
    @Baby gurl, oya take tissue to wipe that tear.
    @A.d.e, maybe I should do an article on that one. Women are STRONG people.
    @Sul, you should cry right away, lol. You’ll probably feel better after.
    @John, lol
    @Ememobong, *hugs*

  8. Nkechi Busari-Okoro

    March 18, 2017 at 8:32 am

    THANKS BN!!!! ???

  9. Cheryl

    March 18, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Well, am an expectant mom right now and itz my first. A times, I feel so scared and most times I cry myself to sleep at nite. Hubby is far away in another country and being with my family, itz not so fun as my mom would always shout at me anytime I complain of pain or being weak. Sometimes, I ask myself if am ready for dis, and hubby doesn’t help issues either. Am tired. My hope is just in God. I pray he sees me tru.

    • Eniola Shokunbi

      March 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      Oh honey. I know just how you feel. When I was pregnant with my first, I returned to England to have her, left my husband in Lagos and was at moms. She just was so annoying in the way she showed concern without emotion. Honestly it was draining. It took me getting really mad at her for her to check herself. You are particularly sensitive right now cos your hormones are everywhere. You will be fine. Stop crying, you are going to be a mom and nobody can take that from you by God’s grace. If you can’t get through to them, shut them out and focus on you, pray, read, rest, get ready for your precious little one. Know that your baby is happier when you are happy. You are almost there and it will all be worth it soon. Wish you safe delivery darling.

  10. Ola

    March 18, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    A lot of women go into postnatal depression after having a baby. Here in the U.K. They always keep an eye on new moms and also give a lot of support to help overcome it. I remember when I had my baby, I did a C section and I was struggling with breastfeeding. The breastfeeding team will come to the house about 3 times a week just to support me and the baby. It was a great relief. It’s so much hard work with joy, love, pain, cries and laugher.

  11. Helen

    March 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Well, Nkechi, you nailed it. Motherhood just showed me that I can’t do all by myself.
    I have not gotten over the pain from Oxytocin induced labour, to the pushing out of my adorable Gianna. Have I even recovered from Exclusive breastfeeding? Let alone having to adjust and take care of my husband.
    I hail,all women who manage a home without help and still balance with work.
    Wooo, I don’t even know where to start and stop. God bless us women oooo. It is not easy.

  12. Ako Martha

    March 18, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    No one prepared me at all.. I would jump up from my sleep at the slightest noise even when it’s not the cry of the baby. In short, after birth I was half asleep and awoke at the same time almost all nights?????..not easy to fully sleep as before .see eh, the feeling is out of this world. I had a C section, but once I heard the cry of my baby all the pains vanished. It’s such a mystery that we can’t fathom even if we try to. Thank God for some of us who have support systems. For those who don’t have, you will have to learn and do everything on your own. God will guide you all the way.. I can’t forget that moment when I had to bathe my son for the 1st time (My mum did so for a week)..grabbing him on his fragile armpit, making sure he doesn’t slip off your hands… Gush… It’s such priceless moments….God bless every woman in search of the fruit of the womb…. It’s a wonderful feeling

  13. Nkechi Busari-Okoro

    March 18, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    @ Cheryl, the tiredness with the pregnancy is normal. Just enjoy it. It all gets better, amen.

    @Ola, I agree with you. In developed countries, they do a lot to help the mother stay healthy. I had a community health worker visit me the day after I had my baby to ensure that I knew how to breastfeed. She even scheduled two follow up appointments with me. The nurses at the hospital had already given me A LOT of resources on ppd, anxiety, domestic violence, childcare, child safety, safety while driving, newborn help line, and a host of others. I was really grateful.

    @Helen, thanks. I couldn’t lactate until about 5 days after. My baby had to survive on formula- En famil. This was completely unplanned for because I had been team exclusive breastfeeding (because of all the benefits attached to it). But formula-feeding didn’t turn out so bad. My baby is perfectly healthy now. Maybe the breastfeeding thing has been over-emphasized to the extent that mothers who aren’t able to breastfeed (for whatever reason) may begin to feel inefficient.

  14. Dammy

    March 18, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    I can relate with the stretch marks too. Lol. Mine came in at 36 weeks. I also tot I dodged a bullet as well. So evilllllll ?????. As for the sleepless nights ???. God is my strength. Thumbs up to us women. May God continue to strengthen us. Amen

  15. Merci

    March 19, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Just hang in there! I can totally relate. Its get better with time, just focus on your healthy bundle of joy, ask for help/ support, share experiences too, you will be grateful. Babies grow up so quickly, so will the phases easen up. You will be fine.

  16. CHERYL

    March 20, 2017 at 10:22 am

    OH Wow!! am a 1st time mum too and i must say, nobody prepared me for most things i am experiencing, like hausa ppl will say “gani ya fi ji” it ius best experienced than being told, d sleepless nyts, post immunisation days, teething period and all, and ohh my buldging tommy, i always tot i had d best body ever, cos i didnt add weight at all during and after pregnancy, alot of ppl commend my slim frame even after birth, but my “used to be” falt tummy has reffused to go down, imagine a very slim person with a big tommy, but in all, looking at my baby gives me soo much joy and forgets any “coma”. for those lookin up to God for this wonderful gift of God ( marriage and children) God in his infinite mercy will grant you all ur hrt desires. thanks poster for sharing

  17. Ebony

    March 20, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Its truly a feat. I remember when i told hubby i cant wake up midnight to do anything oo because my sleep is very precious to me. Now i am a guru at waking up at odd hours of the night from the slightest cr. the funny part is i wake up with plenty action and energy sef. Mostimes i tap my self on the back to congratulate myself mehn

    • Meme

      March 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Haha bless your soul!! @ patting yourself on the back. It is something I would do . I cannot wait to meet my baby!!!

  18. Onyi

    March 22, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    So many things to learn about motherhood. Lovely peice sis.

  19. Mrs. Amah

    April 7, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    I was one of those who refused to be google-crazy while pregnant — I decided to make my pregnancy experience wholly my own and not feed off tales from current moms. Of course, I lucked out big time during my multiples pregnancy, had zero health issues. The first few months after birthing were tough, especially given that I was known to love my beauty sleep but I quickly adjusted to my new way of life. I understand post partum depression can set in but I refused to let it by surrounded myself with positivity, family and my loving supportive husband who shared the sleep deprivation with me and knowing I had to be strong for the lovely gift of twins bestowed upon me. In the end, having 2 smiley faces greet you every morning makes it all worth it; I will do it all over again in a heartbeat. If our fore-mothers could do it (with 7 or more children, bless their souls), so can we (with our 2 or 3).

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