Monday, 2 June 2014


After her return home, three to 10 days after childbirth,  a  woman may become increasingly isolated particularly if it is her first child and if her  relatives  live at some distance. Because of high cost of land ,houses and rent, most young couples have to live in the newer suburbs of cities where transportation  may be inadequate and shopping may not be easy too.
This isolation is intensified as she realizes that she has to cope with mothering a new and unpredictable baby whose need fill her day and often by night. Even those visitors who come to see her give her conflicting advice, and if she seeks medical advice, she has to wait for about one hour for a five minutes consultation. Her isolation and feeling of strain in trying to cope are intensified if her partner is uncooperative and leaves most of the household chores to the woman who  is already over-burdened. No  one has told her during her upbringing  nor  her  pregnancy that mothering   is not an instinct but has to be learned. No one told her that she will have to adjust to her role;  that of been a mother, responsible for a small, dependent baby. She had expected motherhood to be instantaneously joyous, but she found that the joy was often less than the tears and feelings of inadequacy.
At  unpredictable hours, the baby asks to be fed, needs to be changed and cries. Crying may be a demand for food,  for changing or for cuddling  which is needed for its development. But it is difficult to distinguish in the first weeks between a hunger cry, a discomfort cry and a cry for mothering. Faced with the problems of learning how to mother her infant, she lacks sleep and becomes increasingly exhausted. In her exhaustion, she wonders if  will ever be able to be a good mother and why is it that she lacks the ability other women appear to have to cope with the small, selfish and continually demanding  infant.
Any  sexual feeling she may have is dampened by the depression, and this in turn aggravates her anxiety as she worries about her husband's feelings towards her.  Her anxiety and depression worsen and can last for weeks. She is in the' crisis of parenthood'.

1. Remember that the period of adjustment is short, and that each day you and your baby will learn to know each other better.
2. In the first weeks, you may find that you have to feed your baby every two hours , but by six weeks,  the baby would have established  its feeding pattern.
3. If your baby cries too much at first, you can be sure that it will cry less as time goes on . And a baby that cries because it wants to be cuddled and to see  and hear what is going on around  it  is likely to be a more interesting and intelligent child.
4. You can go on doing the things you have to do and still cuddle your baby if you buy a baby sling.
5.If your baby cries  a lot at night,  wanting food or company, bring it into your bed and let it  sleep with you, warm against your breathing body.
6.  If at times you feel guilty because you think that you hate your baby for demanding so much from you, do not worry. You do not really hate your baby and the hostile emotion was only a brief reaction to your tiredness.
7. In any crisis, it helps  to have a sympathetic person with whom you can share your problem. If you have a close relationship with your spouse, he can care for the baby and relieve you of some of the household chores. He can help  change diapers and be generally supportive so that  you can have more time to rest.
8. If you have relatives who can help you care for the baby or who can relieve you so that you can get out of the house for a while, do ask them to as this will be very helpful.

* In schools and at home, education for parenthood should be part of the  curriculum for both boys and girls. The course should include discussions of the emotional and psychological changes which occur during pregnancy and after as wells the physical changes which occur so that women can build up confidence in themselves as mothers, and so that men can learn that as fathers they have an important role in helping their partners during the period of adjustment to parenthood.
* In the prenatal months, expectant mothers and fathers should have the opportunity to  learn about adjusting to parenthood so that both are involved in the process and both understand that supportive help is needed especially by the new mother.
*Mothers  must remind themselves   that their feeling of inadequacy are shared by large numbers of other mothers and they are neither alone  nor abnormal.
*There should be  centres in the community where  mothers can meet and share experiences and obtain confidence from more experienced mothers and helpful counsellors.

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