Movies have ruined millennials. The montages of the hassled yet content mother is
embedded in our subconscious mind. And that is what we expect from life too. But
motherhood can be mind-numbingly boring, especially in the first few months when there is nothing but cycles of feed, burp, repeat. The daily drill leaves no time for anything else,
sleep included, yet we are bored to our wit’s end.
“Managing expectations for life after childbirth is not something we had been taught ever and definitely no pregnancy or baby book warns us of.”
Here are 3 departments where we need to manage our expectations and
definitely curb our enthusiasm!
- The thanklessness cycle:
We have started off with golden stars in kindergarten and gone on to receive appraisals as
employees. Being a new parent is the world’s most thankless job. This glitch in the system of getting no appreciation or remuneration for such hard work is sensed and perceived but not vocalized by parents who toil after their newborns. You need to appreciate each other on behalf of the baby. Mothers need it more because they are the primary caregivers. So Dear Papa, if your self-assured partner suddenly seems needy after becoming a mother, that’s because she needs you to appreciate the effort she is putting into looking after your child. Be sure to listen to her problems and offer solace in the form of some appreciation as often as you can to keep her afloat.
- Sexual non-concordance:
This term simply means your body and mind aren’t on the same page. For example, your
lubrication may be fine but you are not able to get into the mood due to preoccupation with the baby. Or you feel aroused, but your body does not come on the same plane as your mind and does not physically respond. Aside from physical reasons such as fatigue and lack of sex hormones, the mind is always thinking about the baby and one doesn’t get to fully relax. Women stop themselves from entering the realm of arousal just because they fear that they might get interrupted during the act by the baby. The brain is working overtime and finds it hard to slow down enough to want relaxation and recreation. It will take time, foreplay, cuddles, and a lot of flirting to overcome this hurdle. Daddies gear up to court wife 2.0.
- The illusion of romance, spontaneity and butterflies:
This is one of the biggest pitfalls of this generation. Our brains have grown feeding on
fodder from unattainable romances in movies and expect the adrenaline rush that we first
had when we were dating our partners. Parenthood is the mighty adrenaline crash where all
the excitement from pregnancy ends in the grungiest anticlimax ever. Becoming a parent
anchors you to life. There won’t be fireworks to end your happily ever after but there will be
projectile vomiting and blowout diapers to clear up in the after credits. I wouldn’t say romance dies after a baby comes into the picture. It is as alive as you want it to be, but it is
funnier and more familiar and less heart-skipping-a-beat kind. It would be wise to expect
monotony, routine, and sameness and take comfort in knowing you now belong to a family
that your partner and you created together.
Dr Farah Adam Mukadam
Dr Farah is a family physician based in Bangalore. She is the author of the bestseller Newborns and New Moms, an urban woman’s guide to life after childbirth.
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