“I feel like I’m batman and have the entire Gotham city dependent on me,” chuckles Anjali. She’s a mother to a nine-month-old and is grappling with early parenting issues.
“There’s feeding, bathing, playing, and sleeping. Oh yes, and the mother-toddler classes! It’s like I’m everywhere all at once,” she adds.
Can you identify with Anjali? Are you in the early years of parenting when everything is just so new? Knowing that you’re not the only one will definitely make you feel better.
Read on to know four common issues that most new parents face in the early years of parenting.
1. Postnatal Depression
Feeling tearful? Can’t explain why you feel low all the time? Exhausted? Overwhelmed? Well, these are the symptoms of a condition called postnatal depression.
Most women suffer from it because having a baby is a major physical and psychological change. Men also suffer from it even though they don’t physically give birth. Many don’t know how to deal with-since they can’t recognise it.
It’s not a disease!
“Unlike popular belief, postnatal depression is not a disease,” says Dr Rashmi Rai, a Mumbai-based gynaecologist.
According to her, it’s a condition recognised under clinical psychology, but in layman’s terms, it simply implies the mental and physical adjustments with the new baby.
Experts believe that having a baby is a huge task and it’s okay to get hyper about it at times. “Babies are not easy. Nobody promised that they would be,” she adds.
Just like stress
“It’s a common issue faced by parents in the first year of parenting,” says Dr Rai. She explains that anxiety about how to go about taking care of the child clubbed with expectations from oneself lead to depression.
“It’s like stress, kind of. Just like you have work stress, you can have stress about parenting or being good at it,” she adds.
Talk it out
“The best way to deal with this situation is discussion. Talking to other parents who have children the same age as yours is a great way to recognise if you are overdoing it. Basically you get to know if you’re depressed or not. Plus, it’s a great stress buster. It’s a good way to learn from each other,” Dr Rai concedes.
2. Lack Of Sleep
“I could do anything to get an hour of uninterrupted sleep.”
Heard the statement before? Used it?
Ask any new parent and you will hear one or another variation of this expression. New parents are all sleep-deprived.
It starts with breastfeeding (since babies don’t get the idea of a single dinner!), then bottles (which of course the oh-so-tired-you have forgotten to sterilise), followed by (because the tummy is too full for comfort) the diaper change, and finally (to make toilet training a success) trips to the washroom.
Sumita here, (whose request for an hour’s sleep), has a double whammy! She’s a mother to twins. She says that ‘walking around like a zombie’ is a passé expression for her. “My condition is beyond all definitions of deprivation ,” she says, giving me an I-could-sleep-leaning-by-a-pole kind of a look.
Children’s sleep problems are one of the major issues that parents deal with in the early years of parenting. And nothing can prepare them enough for that. You can set a proper bedtime routine-massage, bath, and feed; or take professional assistance to minimise the problem.
Continued sleep problems adversely affect children. They get cranky and even lose appetite. Basically, it affects their growth. Naps sort these issues for them and also give parents time to let their guard down.
3. Lack of know-how
Varsha is on Skype. She’s holding Vihaan up towards the laptop screen as if he were a laboratory sample, held for close inspection.
Her mother’s voice interrupts the display, “It’s not chicken pox silly, it’s just a rash!”
Varsha sighs with relief, puts the lab specimen down on her lap and smiles dotingly at him.
“You just have a rash, mamma was so scared,” she says to the 10-month-old and finishes the conversation with her mother.
New parents, especially those who are living away from family, have an issue I like to call ‘being confused!’
They are confused about everything that is happening with and around the baby. One cannot blame them! It’s not easy to know how to bring up a child if you haven’t done it before. It’s experiential learning, since one-size-fits-all can’t be applied to parenting.
The only solution for this one is to follow your gut and learn as you go.
RELATED: 10 Things Not To Say To Your Child
“How do I know her bowels are moving?” asks an exasperated Riya.
“Ma’am, she’s doing potty and that’s how you know that her bowels are moving,” her doctor responds, for the umpteenth time, trying hard to sound serious.
Her 15-month-old does not have fixed potty timings and Riya believes that she’s not feeding her right. Besides, she has the strange notion that her baby’s bowels are not moving.
The doctor has been subjected to endless questions about laxatives, although he thinks that it’s a normal ‘baby’ problem and nothing to worry about.
Do you also feel like Riya at times?
Food and nutrition is a huge issue, especially for new parents. They are not sure about what works and doesn’t even though there is a lot of expert advice available. Since good nutrition is not a choice but a necessity, parents have a tough job at hand.
The way out:
The solution for new parents is a simple trial and error. Try every nutritious recipe that you can get your hands on-the sources are many. Then gauge what your child likes the most.
If there is a possible allergy, get a test and remove the doubtful ingredient from the diet plan. Go slow and feed the child at regular intervals. That’s it, you’re sorted.
Oh yes! There’s another issue too—the herculean job of getting the food into their mouths. Well, that’s another issue for another day!
What were the issues you faced in the early stages of parenting? Share one with us in the ‘Comments’ section below.
Image Credits : Harsha K R
90% of a child’s permanent foundation for brain development occurs in the early years according to Rauch Foundation. An overuse of gadgets can only stunt this growth and cause a negative impact on the child’s overall development.
If your child is spending more time swiping and scrolling, instead of interaction with the real world, you need to act before it’s too late.
Find out if your child is being meaningfully and positively engaged by taking this simple quiz.