No matter how many books and articles you read, stories you hear, and shows you watch, no one can ever prepare you for motherhood until you experience it yourself – but it still doesn’t hurt to know. In this weekly series of interviews, Savoir Flair speaks to the region’s new moms, starting with Kuwait’s biggest fashion blogger (and mother to baby Adam) Ascia AKF. Scroll through as she reveals all, from her fears and breastfeeding tips to ignoring what those pesky BabyCenter emails say.
You question yourself constantly.
I mean this in the kindest possible way, but we overthink absolutely everything when it comes to how something will affect our child. I wish someone had warned me that, for the rest of my life, I will question every decision I make in regards to his well-being. It’s maddening.
Losing sleep is not as bad as gaining guilt.
When people found out that I was having a baby, the common response was, “Well, there goes sleep for the rest of your life.” I was prepared for the lack of sleep, the diapers, and his temper tantrums at the age of two. No one, however, prepared me for the guilt that I cannot seem to shake off whenever I do something not related to my child or work. I need a manicure? Yes, but I could spend those two hours with Adam. My friend has invited me to lunch? Yes, but I could spend that lunch with Adam. The only acceptable time to be away from him (in my guilt-ridden brain) is when I have to work. Anything more than that feels like neglect. It drives me insane, but I’ll let you know if that ever changes.
Every day is a complete test of your patience.
You’re confronted with two choices each time your child decides to fall to the ground and scream endlessly in public: you can either sit down and cry with him, or you can calmly stand around waiting for it to pass so that you both can get on with your lives. I mean, there are tons of other options, but those seem to be the two that my patience will allow.
Fevers are terrifying, and that’s okay.
Every single time that Adam has gotten a fever, I go into super-worried-mom mode. Monitor it carefully and just cuddle your baby, and it will pass eventually – even though it feels like the absolute end of the world.
If you plan on breastfeeding for a while, feeling touched-out is totally normal.
I wish someone had discussed this with me. I breastfed for a year and a half and, while it was the best decision I ever made, it means you’re being touched a lot throughout the day. You hold a baby all day – touching. You’re breastfeeding – touching. You’re changing diapers – touching. At some point, you just do not want to be touched anymore. Make sure you express that to your significant other before you lash out or avoid physical contact completely. Trust me on this.
Speaking of breastfeeding: please try to!
I was determined to breastfeed. I thought it was going to be easy-peasy. What could possibly be hard about something so natural, right? Wrong. The first six weeks were hard as hell. I cried every time he latched on because I had cracks, his latch was shallow, and and and… the list can go on. I was determined, and so was my husband. It finally became easier and I’m so glad it did. The truth is that you and your baby are learning together, so just give it some time.
Yes, everything goes back to normal-ish.
Without getting too graphic: no, your body is not ruined for the rest of your life. And yes, you’ll still be pretty darn cute after breastfeeding. It will be slightly different, but nothing like the horror story you’ve put into your mind. I promise.
Stop comparing your child to your friends' children.
They will eat, sleep, walk, talk, potty train, and learn the alphabet in their own time. Tell those BabyCenter emails to shut up, and just enjoy the stage that your child is in. Don’t compare your child’s development to those of your friends, or even mine, when you see them on social media. It’s the thief of joy, and the chief reason you’re stressed. I don’t know any high schoolers still in diapers so if Adam isn’t ready to potty train, then neither am I.
It’s totally normal to not want to see your kid after a long day.
Just hand him to your husband, mother, father, brother, or sister with the sentence, “If I don’t get away from him for five seconds, I’m going to scream.” Then walk away to get a cup of coffee and some sanity. Or something along those lines…
Maybe motherhood isn’t the most fulfilling thing for you, and that’s okay.
Motherhood is amazing. It’s so rewarding when your child smiles, when they’re happy, when they tell you they love you, or when they accomplish something you’ve worked hard to help them with. It feels like confirmation that you’re doing a decent job. But not every woman feels completely fulfilled in life by being a mother, and that’s okay. You’re not a villain for wanting to work and accomplish things that are a reflection of yourself, and not another person. That’s okay. And you know what else is okay? Being completely fulfilled by your role as a mother when nothing else compares. That is also okay. You are not less of a woman because you want to be a stay-at-home mom, having your day revolve around a little one. Every kind of mother is awesome. Go forth and raise kind humans – and just keep being awesome.