Today’s post is something of a personal sort. As those of you who have been following this blog for some time may know, I keep my personal life separate from my blogging life, but for some reason I felt that how I feel may resonate with others.
Two of my closest friends recently found out that they are pregnant, and I am over the moon. For those of you who have gone through pregnancy, you know that it comes with a lot of emotional baggage. There’s fear, anxiety, excitement, pain, restlessness, and joy (just to name a few). I tried to calm my friends nerves by reassuring them and giving them the best advice I could have based on my own experiences.
Looking back, I realize that after I gave birth to Zuni, I had gone through the early stages of Post Partum Depression, also known as the Baby Blues. Why, you may ask, would anyone be depressed after the birth of their child? I’ll tell you why.
After the birth of my child, I felt a lot of judgment come my way.
I was judged on the fact that I didn’t have a natural birth, even when it wasn’t under my control.
I was judged on the fact that my son and I had a hard time getting the hang of nursing.
I was judged on the fact that I didn’t choose to exclusively breastfeed my son (“A mother’s milk is best for her child. You should do only the best for your child.” “Oh your baby sleeps through the night? You’re SO lucky! Mine doesn’t because I ONLY breastfeed him.”).
I was judged on the type of formula I chose for my son (“If you give him only soy milk then he’s always going to be lactose-intolerant!”).
I was judged on the fact that I didn’t lose all of the baby-weight right away (“You know, if you would have had a natural delivery and if you would have exclusively nursed you would have lost the weight right away!”).
I was judged whenever my son got sick (“He caught a cold because you didn’t bundle him up enough!” “He’s sick because you didn’t nurse him long enough!”).
The list goes on, but I think you get the point.
For a mother, the worst thing that you can feel is that you’re not a good mom. After the birth of my son, and after hearing and seeing all of these things, I felt like I was a terrible mother. I felt like I wasn’t doing the best for my child, and that my child would grow up not loving me. I felt like my child would grow up better without me.
I was lucky though, unlike many other women, that I had my husband to lean on. He was my rock through those emotionally grueling days. He was constantly giving me emotional, physical, and mental support through my times of self-doubt.
Looking back, I think to myself, “You were so silly! Why wouldn’t your child love you? You’re the first love he has known!” Of course, he doesn’t say “I love you” yet, but when he is feeling extra chummy, he goes from calling me “Mama” to “Mummy.” That is love- when you’re able to know what your child is saying, even before he/she learns to properly speak.
My advice to those women who are expecting, or who have even already given birth and feel like they can relate to this, is that be easy on yourself. You know your baby better than anyone else, because you nurtured that child in your womb and you have that connection. Sure, it’s hard, but a child doesn’t come into this world with an instructions manual. You will learn, and it may take some time, but please, be easy on yourself. No two parenting techniques are the same, and what may work for one family may not work for yours. So be easy on yourself. Love yourself, because your body is witness to the greatest miracle of all time- becoming a mother.
This post is dedicated to my two girlfriends who are going through the miracle of becoming a mother, and to my lovebug Zuni. He is the light and joy of my life, and he is the motivation behind my desire to better myself. This halwa, one of his favorites, is based off of a recipe from this lovely blog. I love this recipe because it uses milk to attain fluffiness, whereas most other recipes use extra oil/ghee/butter.
Yield: 4 Servings
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup water
- Pinch of saffron, optional
- ¼ cup oil
- ½ cup semolina
- 2 cardamoms
- ¼ – ½ cup sugar, to taste
- Sliced or crushed almonds or pistachios, for garnish
In a medium bowl, combine milk, water, and saffron. Set aside.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add semolina and cardamoms and lightly roast until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and slowly add milk mixture, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add sugar and mix well. Return to heat and cook for a little bit longer, until the semolina is cooked through and the milk mixture has been absorbed and the sugar has dissolved. The halwa should begin to separate from the sides of the pan. Add a few splashes of water if needed to fully cook the semolina. Cover, remove from heat, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
Garnish with crushed/sliced nuts.