Nkiru Ehi-Ekome on Coping As A First-Time Mum

After two kids, I am amused sometimes when I relive my experience as a first-time mum.

My first delivery experience wasn’t exactly a fantastic one. I had laboured for 12 hours, although I was induced. I stopped dilating at 8 cm and my baby was fast getting distressed, hence, an emergency Caesarian Section was carried out to save my baby and I. I was finally discharged the 6th day.

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I cried a lot and fell into annoying moods but it was easier because of my husband. I told him whenever I had such feelings and he talked me through it and generally made me feel better, albeit short-lived. I was pressured because I kept thinking that I was responsible for a new life now. My body had changed, so had my hormones. I was struggling to understand my body and its changes (lactation and all) while dealing with the pains from incision, yet had to care for my newborn. It was a tough time!

My cousin, who had stayed with me a month before I put to bed, was still around up until a month after my delivery. My mum joined us a few days later.

With Alexia, my first baby, the baby blues set in when my mum left. I cried like a baby and at some point, Alexia and I had simultaneous bouts of crying – it was a sorry sight and I felt so helpless. My husband and mum however assured me that I was going to be fine.

My sister-in-law was also of great help. As a medical doctor in Canada, I would call her at all times and ask all sort of questions on how best to handle my baby. “First Time Parent” by Lucy Atkins also became my companion, and where I needed to know more, Google became my best ally as I looked up everything and anything.

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With Zoey, my second baby, I didn’t have anyone around but I was fine because I had learnt.

It’s pretty easier when you have someone around, otherwise, you just got to be a super woman right after birthing, which is a tall order. You also need to know your baby. Don’t get upset when your baby cries. Try to figure out why he’s crying and restrain from rushing to feed. The baby may just need a massage, be wet or just need attention.

For the first few days, you need to understand your baby’s sleep pattern, bearing in mind that it changes, so you’d be prepared for it. Be ready for sleepless nights and don’t lie down to breastfeed at night. It’s better to sit up so you don’t sleep off and choke the baby.

In addition, be smart and proactive. Attention to detail is not only important in our CVs but also with taking care of our babies. Have a loved one or someone you can talk to around at all times, especially when mood swings begin to set in. Self absorption is dangerous as it may lead to hurting oneself and/or the baby.

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Lastly, relax! Getting enough rest curbs the stress and equips you to embrace your new life as a mother and be the best you can.

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