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Thai-Indian women candidly share their ups and downs during their postpartum months

by Aiden

The unanticipated fourth trimester!

By Nina Phitchitsingh

I was inspired to write this piece as the postpartum period was very difficult for me. Never in my life had my body been challenged so much. There were so many unexpected and demanding (yet astonishing) things, from breastfeeding my baby 16-20 times a day, coupled with pain from an intensive surgery, and the notorious, unforgiving lack of sleep. I asked four new mothers to share how they overcame these months postpartum. One common theme resonates: we do not know how we did it, but we did. 

Roshni Srikureja

Nothing and no one could ever prepare me for the postpartum period, no matter how much research I did. After my water broke at 3am followed by long hours in labour, I was completely spent! I am now four months postpartum and I haven’t slept for more than a three-hour stretch. I have now adapted, and I’ve concluded that my body must be performing miracles daily!

It felt like my spirit was split into two parts: one was completely elated and in awe of my son, the other was beyond exhausted, frustrated and hormonal. I had gone from 10 hours of sleep to almost zero. In the first month, I was somewhat paranoid and would check if Kyrav was breathing every time he slept, feeling all the new mum feels. 

My mum and MIL were champions. They came every day to bring milk-producing foods and essentials I needed at the time. I ate everything and anything that promised to establish a good flow of breastmilk, as Kyrav sometimes needed 3oz per feed as a newborn. We were worried that we might be overfeeding our son, but our paediatrician soon assured us that there’s no such thing. 

On day 45, I developed a mild fever which served as a reality check for me to get some real rest and rely on the support system that I have at home, which consisted of my husband and nanny. It took us a month to build trust and rapport with our nanny who we now love and cherish. Eventually, we started working together as a team where I would get three hours of uninterrupted sleep for two stretches a night while my husband kept watch.  

The rest is history. I wake up with a smile every day. I am completely and utterly in love with my boy. Motherhood is so beautiful and I am extremely grateful for my dream team at home. Breastfeeding is a definite highlight, where we share a sacred bond and sometimes pass a few smiles during the act. Today, Kyrav is a happy 7kg boy, exclusively breastfed at four months, and his mama is so darn proud! 

Roshni Sachdev

Breastfeeding started off really well, and then took a turn when Nyla was about two months old. Unfortunately, Nyla wasn’t gaining the recommended amount of grams per day and had dropped in her weight percentile. I sought help from a lactation nurse at MedPark and eventually decided to exclusively pump and bottle-feed, as well as supplement with formula. When all of this happened, I was devastated. Pre-baby, I had always hoped that I would be able to breastfeed and nurse for as long as possible, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do so for as long as I had planned or expected. Initially it made me feel flawed and imperfect as a mother, but as time passed I gradually was able to accept that I would not be able to control everything (or anything at all) through this journey and that as long as my baby was thriving, happy, and healthy that was all that ever mattered.

My husband Dave superseded all of my expectations from the very first day at the hospital. He sat with me through all of it as I learned how to breastfeed, helped me to the bathroom post surgery, repeatedly told me that I’m an amazing mama who is capable of anything, and especially capable of raising our beautiful daughter. He does all of it too – diapers, feeds, baths, her nails, and is my go-to person for swaddling! Doing this without Dave would be impossible. He’s a devoted, doting Dad and we love him so much.

In the beginning, the most difficult part for me was grieving my social life and parts of my previous identity before becoming a mum. The easiest part has got to be loving Nyla. Loving and protecting her comes instinctively. I have never experienced a love so unfiltered and profound, and watching her grow is our biggest joy.

Parveena Khanijou

39 weeks and five days of anticipation finally came to fruition when Inaya Pasricha made me a mother on August 29th. But along with a mother, she added more identities to me than I could have ever imagined: a teacher, a nutritionist, a nurse, a chef, and a human pacifier, to say the least. As any new mother, my postpartum experience, too, was both beautiful and challenging.

I was filled with love and excitement to welcome my baby into the world. With my own mother by my side, along with the number of books and Instagram posts I read, I knew I was ready to tackle parenthood head-on. I had my tools ready: the Snoo, a smart bassinet that automatically responds to a baby’s movements and soothes them back to sleep; and the Baby Brezza, a formula-mixing machine that made bottles at the perfect temperature. But despite being mentally and logistically ready, it quickly became apparent that no amount of preparation or conversations with friends and family can truly equip you for the sleep deprivation and anxiety that comes with becoming a first-time parent.

While being so involved with the newborn at all hours of the day, it is easy for new mothers to forget to take care of themselves. I was lucky to be surrounded by loved ones who provided me with more support than I could have asked for. During the postpartum period, although difficult, it is important for mothers to prioritise self-care through proper nutrition and reasonable amounts of exercise. Above all, I had to remember to be patient with myself, to take every challenge as an opportunity to grow, and to recognise that babies are resilient, so it is ok to make mistakes and to be less than perfect.

With Inaya almost eight months old now, having a (flexible) routine in place has really helped with relieving my anxiety around navigating parenthood. And while we’re still enjoying getting to know each other, I’ve come to realize that Inaya was not adding new and countless identities to me, she was simply teaching me what it truly meant to be a mother.

Julie Gulati

After giving birth, my body went through a lot of changes and adjustments, and it was overwhelming at times. I experienced tiredness, sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, weight fluctuations, and breastfeeding difficulties. Juggling kids with all these challenges only added to the exhaustion. But I found that with some support from my partner, family, friends, and other mums, I was able to get through these challenges.

To overcome them, I made sure to get enough rest and ate a nutritious diet that would give me more energy and support milk production. I also took it easy and avoided any strenuous activities that could slow down my C-section healing process. Some things that really helped me during this time were a belly wrap and an excellent breast pump (I found that the Spectra brand was especially comfortable and easy to use). 

For any new mums out there facing similar postpartum challenges, I want to encourage you to stay strong. Your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to ask for help. Remember that your body will take time to recover, so it’s important to get adequate rest and take care of yourself. Managing your time well and staying organised can also help you juggle the demands of motherhood. Don’t worry if things are not going according to plan; be flexible and adaptable to changing situations as your baby’s schedule can change frequently.

While it may be tough at times, remember to take a moment to look at your baby’s adorable face. It’s a reminder of the incredible joy and love that being a mom brings, and it can help put everything into perspective. You have found your purpose in life, and you are truly blessed.

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