If there is any one single event where the whole world comes together to acknowledge the strength of a woman, it is usually in the birth process of her child.
While the father is backslapped “well done!”, grandparents are congratulated, the nurses wipe their happy tears of another safe, healthy birth, and the doctors sign off their newest patients, the mother smiles a Mona Lisa smile knowing that her trials and tribulations are just beginning. The first two years are heart-warming and gut wrenching at the same time as she adjusts her entire life (yes, even toilet breaks!) around the new love of her life.
In a series, appropriately named Letdown, photographer Anna Ogier-Bloomer documents what the first two years of motherhood look like.
The calm in this adorable photo of the baby and the mother passed out (finally!) surely took at least a couple of hours to achieve. Getting the baby to nurse is not as magical and sweetly emotional as we watch in movies. Having nursed the baby, it takes a while to wind it and then settle it down, only to have it probably scrunch its face in disapproval again. By the time the baby expends its energy and decides to grab a shut-eye, the mother’s more than ready for a nap herself.
Some babies want to be held all the time. They fret as soon as they are put down. All those hours at the gym building upper body strength definitely comes in handy now! Don’t be shy about asking for help! Have a family elder come around for a few hours if possible. New mothers learn very quickly not to turn down an extra pair of hands around the house.
Lactation is not a photo for the cover of fashion magazines unless those magazines suddenly decide to get real about motherhood. Most mothers find it challenging to get the baby to even feed. Overwhelming is definitely the emotion on both sides of the spectrum.
If you are going back to work immediately, the breast pump is your friend! Have your nanny, husband/partner, friend or relative be aware of the feeding times. Let them already establish a bond with your baby, so that feeding time does not become fretful. In the photo here, although the baby’s eyes are curious you can tell that it trusts the person holding the bottle.
A woman’s got to get some sun! Do not shy away from asking for some time away from your baby, even if only for half-an-hour. The full extent of exhaustion tends to hit new mothers only when they finally step away from all baby-related things for the first time. Think of it this way – if the mother is not well, she isn’t going to be in a position to ensure her child’s well-being.
Nipple butter is the invention of a very wise soul! The lactation period can lead to bleeding, and hurt nipples from constant nursing attempts. New mothers may find that their breasts are engorged during this period.
The sheer energy that new mothers spend on ensuring the baby’s well-being may run them down. If mummy’s sick, baby’s sick too. And cranky! Eating and taking care for two does not end with the birthing.
But now and again, you will find some Instagram-worthy memories that you will treasure forever! The baby with your mom, or with its father. It’s almost enough to make a bleeding nipple worth it.
Hallelujah! The baby’s finally latched on to the nipple without a fuss, and will be sleepy again, soon!
Get pumping that milk for the next feed, and keep it ready for grandma or nanny so that the baby can be fed before it starts fretting. If the mother has not been into details before pregnancy, she will definitely be more detail-oriented once the baby arrives. So much to remember and keep ready!
These photos give you an honest look into what the first two years feel and look like, but every mother who has passed this stage recalls the magic of bonding with the little one, which is unmatched in the later years. Make enough memories to last you a lifetime with your little one. Soon, mothers lament, they grow up too soon!