Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Becoming a Mother

Being a mother is sometimes hard. And there are times when I feel I'm going insane amidst the baby's crying and the clutter in my room. It makes me marvel at one obvious thing. There are so many people in this world, hence, so many mothers. And they could cope with everything!

Of course, there's always a babysitter. Or even two. Maybe three? Ohkay, if you insist, make it four or five, maybe even more.

But my partner and I decided to raise Aza on our own. Despite the hardships that we've encountered so far (I needn't go into the details, I might encourage or even discourage some people) we still stick to our opinion. We will not relinquish our responsibility in raising Aza to a 'professional'.

Most parents I know encourage others to have babies. I don't know why, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they love to laugh behind their backs, thinking, "They'll encounter the same difficulties!" followed by diabolical laughters.

It's not a pretty picture. But it can happen.

When I first became a mother, I was exhausted. I felt numb. I followed the baby with my eyes, my partner right beside me, unable to voice a coherent sentence. I could hear the baby crying. I saw the nurses (there were seven or eight of them IIRC) measuring the baby, cleaning him, dressing him. Then they handed me the baby.

I wanted to cry but couldn't. To see a new life nearby, emerging from my womb. It was a weird experience. I felt like my soul was outside my body, seeing everything with another perspective. I still remember some tiny details. A cross with Jesus Christ crucified in it. I loathed that horrible thing. It reminded me of my pain during my contraction and the anguish that I felt. The green rubber sheet on top of my bed, soaked with blood and sweat. The chill that engulfed my body. The black jacket that my partner wore. The doctor saying that she was surprised that the delivery was quick and smooth, despite the fact that it was my first labor. The black and gold clock on the wall. The smell of antiseptic.

I know I should be thankful. Other mothers were not as fortunate. Yet I didn't feel like that in the morning after. I felt stiff and uncomfortable. The fever had subsided but I found it difficult to rest. I only slept for about half an hour or so. When the nurse handed me the baby, I tried to take a bath but couldn't. I couldn't even stand! With horrendous efforts I finally managed to sit, trying to nurse the baby.

I simply lost my appetite. I felt weird. People came and go, congratulating us. I sought solace in opening the gifts. In trying to read a book a dear friend gave to me.

I've always loved gifts. It's that simple.

When we got discharged from the hospital, the frustration materialized. I couldn't breastfeed the baby. I had to pump my breasts and let the baby nurse from the bottle. I was overwhelmed. Changing the nappy, bathing the baby, feeding then burping him, cleaning every crevices of the baby's body. All were new experience. And I had to face them all at the same time.

Now as time passes by it gets better. A friend of mine, Yureana, told me, "When the baby smiles, all the troubles will seem like minor ones. Trust me." I was skeptical at first. But now?

It's so true, so true.

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