Even before you are brought into this world, once people know you are a boy or a girl, the planning starts. What you’ll be dressed up as, what toys you’ll play with, you’ll be daddys’ little girl or mommys’ big boy.
Family, society, your surroundings and you as a person define who you are and what you will become. Over time, these definitions, decisions, changes become embedded in you and then one day, when you become a parent or decide to become one, the cycle starts repeating itself.
My husband and I decided early on that once we got married we wanted to start having kids. But the decision to have a child is not an easy one because you start thinking of the commitment you need to put in; and I don’t mean the finances. You need the commitment of time, your alone time, family time, your spouse and your time alone with your child, developing your child’s social skills, his or her education and the list goes on.
So we decided to have a baby and I thought I’d share my personal experience of how I welcomed advice or otherwise. My pregnancy wasn’t rosy all the time but during that time, I started thinking about how I want to raise my child. From watching my friends and relatives treat and raise their children, signing up for different parent newsletters and websites, downloading iPad applications, I became adamant to learn what I could about early child development.
What books, people and applications don’t teach you is the development of love and patience for your child. In my opinion, you learn this early on in your pregnancy, for women in particular. A bond is created with your child. This bond begins differently for every woman; some when they find out when they are pregnant, others when they see the first ultrasound, others when they hear the first heart beats, some when they feel the first kick.
As a first time mother, I faced challenges of commuting and working whilst pregnant, I went through my third and final trimester of my pregnancy during the peak of the summer time, and most of all, getting over-advice from people. Yes, there is such a thing as getting over-advice.
What people will not tell you is that you need alone time with your child once he or she is born. To learn and understand what each cry means and when he or she is fussy, it stands for something. Instead what you get in our community is people telling you what to do and what not to do all the time.
I think more than the pregnancy itself and more than being tired and commuting; the over-advice must have been the worst thing I experienced. It is not the fact that your new born wakes up every few hours crying to feed or be changed or needs cuddling, but the people who want to constantly be in your face. I am sure there is a silver lining in wanting to advise new moms but in some cases it comes off as over bearing and very frustrating. Each mother is different from her pregnancy to her delivery to her recovery and so are the needs of each newborn.
What our society needs to learn is that they need to be supportive by showing they can and want to be there for a new mother but also to allow space for a new mother to relax, sleep, bond with her child, and allow her to ask the questions instead of forcing advice down ones’ throat. Just like how everything else has advanced, a lot of things that may have worked 30 years ago may not apply in 2012 and what I may know today on raising a child, might not work completely another 30 years from now.
I am grateful for having an understanding family and especially friends who have become new moms themselves in the past year or so because we fall into the “new” generation who want the best of both worlds. The wisdom of the past combined with the advancement of the present. I’ve learnt that sometimes just breathing and nodding your head followed with an “inshallah” works wonders and then walk away and you do what’s right for you and your child.
Aida has more than a decade experience in the communications, and mastering ceremonies field, she worked in private and public sectors, and now heads the Stakeholder Communications in Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing in Dubai. Aida was a columnist in few of the local newspapers, a TV co-host of a community talk show, and cofounded with friends a community platform: “Promise Of A Generation”.
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