How To Survive the First 3 Months of Motherhood

How To Survive the First 3 Months of Motherhood

The secret 4th trimester

During the first month of my firstborns life – I thought my life was completely over. Don’t get me wrong. I was utterly obsessed with him and felt like I had a renewed purpose. But I felt that was my only purpose. To be a mom. I lost myself – I lost the will to be an individual. I wanted to solely be a life source for him. But what I eventually came to realize – is that in order to provide growth to another life – one must continue to grow themselves.

In those desperate weeks of trying to get him to gain weight and literally surviving off of an hour or two of broken sleep – I was gifted a book called “The Happiest Baby” by Harvey Klein. The book revolves around the tenet that baby’s are born three months early. It is with this belief that Klein tries to explain the necessity to enforce “the fourth trimester.” Meaning, for the first three months of your child’s life you must attempt to recreate a womb-like environment. This means, whenever they fuss – implement the magical 4 s’s – swinging, shushing, sucking, and swaddling. By mimicking the womb like environment you may be able to create … The Happiest Baby.

I tried and tested Mr. Klein’s theory and let me tell you it most definitely works. But, it also sets you up to continue these four behaviours well into the child’s first year of life. Hence the reason I rocked my son to sleep until he was about two – not easy fitting a abnormally long boy onto your 5’3 body three times a day, everyday, on a rocking chair.

BUT- here’s the clincher, the newborn phase is all about survival. You must be able to survive in order to care for your offspring. And caring for your offspring is all about just getting through the day, and then the seemingly endless night.

You love them with every fibre of your being, but motherhood is also a desperately lonely and sometimes trying task. It can seem absolutely impossible to soothe your baby at times. It can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Torturous almost – sleep deprivation can literally kill you after all.

BUT – to get through those first months, here’s he secret to survive – you just do what you got to do. You survive through any means necessary no matter what anyone else has to say about it. You must do what’s best for your child and for yourself – to save your sanity.

But here’s a few more tips I have discovered to be helpful in addition to the 4 S’s.

1. Trial and Error

2. Self-Care 

3. Setting Goals

4. Perspective 

Trial and Error

Baby’s can’t communicate. So unfortunately, all you can do is guess what’s wrong when the baby isn’t the happiest. You try feeding, burping, diaper change, or putting them to sleep. Those four things are their basic necessities. Usually, if they’re bothered- you can settle them by addressing one of those issues. So just keep guessing and trying until you succeed. Until the next hour that is … lol.

Self-Care

I’m not going to sugar coat it. I let myself go with my son. I looked like complete garbage for about six months. And then I looked like I belonged in the recycling for the other six months. I only began to care about my health and appearance after he was a year old. Then I joined a yoga class and suddenly I got my groove back. I grew my hair out once again (never do a drastic physical change when pregnant – you WILL regret it) and I pulled out my makeup bag after allowing it to collect dust for the better part of the year.
This time around, with my daughter, first I get her and my son dressed – after feeds of course. Then I get myself ready – I’m not contouring and curling my hair everyday, but I do apply a tinted moisturizer, draw in my brows, and change out of pjs – which is a big win considering I don’t put much effort into my appearance if my moods not right. But that’s just the thing, even getting ready can improve your postpartum mood.

So don’t stop caring for yourself! Another mini tip is to splurge on some extra hair or skin care products at the end of your pregnancy so you can feel pampered during the few moments you get to apply them in the first few weeks of baby’s life. It seems silly but when even taking a shower becomes a luxury you will appreciate a rich creamy moisturizer on your face at the end of the day.

Goals

This one is crucial. Always, and I repeat ALWAYS have something to look forward to. You cannot get through the first year without setting both big and small goals. The small ones should first and foremost be to survive the first two days, then two weeks, and then two months. It’s a suggestion someone mentioned in passing and I didn’t get it at first – but deep into our first month I get it. You can’t think big picture at first. You just got to get through the first 48 and take it one step at a time after that. Your body is a wreck, hormones out of whack, and without the right support system and mentality you will crumble. Short term goals help you keep perspective for he long term. Which is why you must also set long term goals. For me, I decided in the first few days of my daughters life that I would come stay with my parents once baby was 2 weeks old for about 2 weeks. Envisioning the extra space, help, and change of environment kept me going. It helped me look forward to better days. Set goals for the first month then every few months. Don’t be afraid to take on new projects which keep your brain going. After all, I did write a work of fiction during the first year of my sons life and now I’ve started the new project of journal blogging (mostly on Instagram). There’s no rule that says maternity leave means leaving all aspiration behind. If you keep perspective, you can survive and you can do it all.

It is with the teachings of that wonderful book I read, and these small lessons I have stumbled upon during many moments of desperation that I have been able to keep going, and doing my best while doing so.

Motherhood is a challenge. Don’t let anyone make you think you’re being melodramatic or weak. Just do what you need to do, and accept all the help you can along the way. Your mind, body, spirit, and offspring will thank you for implementing these teachings – trust me 🙂

Life with Two Kids! 

Hi! guess whose back…

A very sleep deprived, loopy version of me! So this is going to be short but I just felt like I had to get some of my thoughts and feelings out there. Life with two kids is like being on that tilt-a-whirl ride where you feel like you just about get your footing and bearings right and then it spins you around once again.

It’s definitely been a balancing act, but I’m blessed enough to have help and it just makes me feel that much more in awe of all the women who do it without any.

I spent the morning browsing through my literature page on Instagram. Clicking through readings, interviews, and other book related appearances. I kind of can’t believe this summer consisted of so much excitement regarding my novel. I feel like all the courage and confidence I had came from my daughter (who I was carrying at the time) because now I can’t imagine being that candid and brave.

I’m so glad I have no regrets regarding book promotion during the summer even though it was exhausting doing so while being pregnant. There were plenty of times I just wanted to throw in the towel and call in fat and pregnant but I just kept going because I didn’t want to look back with any remorse.

I wanted to feel like I did myself and the book justice since I knew once baby was here I wouldn’t have any time to devote to that project.
I look forward to picking back up where I left off but in the meantime it’s all about legos, monster trucks, and baby snuggles in between.

Thanks for sticking by –

I’ll be back in full effect soon enough. ❤️

A Community of Bullies

In recent years, the Indian community has begun to realize the delicate vulnerability of the childhood stage of one’s life. It’s when our self-esteem, mentality, and personalities are rapidly developing. The important thing to note, is that the utmost influential factor of the development of each of these traits – is a parent’s influence.

Ever notice how it a staple of our community to speak without thinking? This becomes especially true when an adult is addressing a child. Verbal abuse isn’t even considered abuse – it’s just the manner in which most Indian parents “parent.” Children who are misbehaving are degraded in the most aggressive and demeaning manner. It’s common for parents to call their offspring unpleasant names, comment on their physical appearance on the daily, and equate misbehaviour with poor character. If their children aren’t shaping up “on paper,” they’re told they’re terrible human beings.

Forget worrying about what this does to their self-assurance and identity formation. There’s much too strong of a emphasis on how a child or teen appears in the public eye. It doesn’t matter what’s going on behind closed doors or in the inner workings of a child’s psyche. All that matters is that the parents appear to be raising a stand-up kid.

Just from personal anecdote I can describe exactly when and where my self-esteem plummeted. I was born as a very fair and “cute” baby. I stayed that way until about 5-years-old. Then I began school, my nutrition took a hit, and most importantly, I began to play outdoors for longer periods of time. Unfortunately, as my pigment changed (due to increased sun exposure) – so did my self-esteem. But not because I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw, it’s because the adults around me didn’t like what they saw anymore. Their attitude toward me was tangibly different. I just didn’t know what I had done to cause the change.

They would turn to my mom and say, “she used to be so cute, what happened?”  I would hang my head in shame wondering what I had done wrong to go from being celebrated as one of the lucky “white ones” to receiving pity for now crossing over to “the dark side.” 

The Indian community places an unhealthy amount of emphasis on a child’s appearance. Don’t believe me? Just put on a few pounds and notice how many people will comment on your changing waistline. However, if you were to ace a test or master a new hobby, typically no one would bat an eye. The negative is always pinpointed and positives are swept under the rug.

Something needs to change in the way we communicate and raise our kids. How can we stop them from being schoolyard bullies when that type of behaviour is engrained in the very way they are raised? In fact, it is how they’re raised – through verbal threats, taunts, and expressions.

Be careful of how you speak to your kids and allow others to speak to them. Nothing grinds my gears more than when someone comments on my son’s weight, or other physical attributes – it makes me want to go ahead and pick apart all the things wrong with that person’s face.

Imagine throwing it right back at them – I used to be that vocal – but now I think I’ll teach my son to do the fending for himself. After all, it’s rather character defining to be able to learn of the way you can “woo” an easily swayed community or be shunned simply by the manner in which you respond to their adult bullying.

Sajjan’s Fall From Grace

This morning I woke up to a video of the Canadian defense minister Mr. Harjit Sajjan. At first, it’s unclear what is going on in the video. Through bleary, half shut eyes I tried to make out what was going on in the video. I thought, oh dear, was he caught engaging in some promiscuous act? My heart sank, thinking, what has this man done to be caught on social media – what is this act that will cause him to fall from grace? Then I saw him flicking something out the window, “okay” I thought to myself – is he smoking? That would most definitely be something a lot of people would get “up in arms” about considering he is a “Sikh” man – because all Sikhs are otherwise oh so commendable.

And then I suddenly burst out laughing, when I realized that the horrendous act the individual recording the video felt he needed to whip out his cell phone and launch a verbal attack on the minister for was ….

Eating cherries. The minister was sitting in some suburban area of Osoyoos, BC, enjoying some fresh British Columbian cherries – and flicking the pits out the window.

Okay, I get it – it’s a act of blatant disregard for whoever’s property they were landing upon, and it just didn’t look all that professional. But for heck’s sakes – I can’t help but wonder why we as a community get our sh*ts and g*ggles from watching others in vulnerable positions.

The man making the video is pretty much high off this discovery as he excitedly and aggressively attacks the minister. Ever take a walk down 128 street in Surrey, BC – you know what you’re going to see? You’ll see individuals spitting, picking their noses, belching, sometimes inebriated, sometimes arguing with one another – and generally acting in a socially unacceptable manner. Don’t believe me? Just read this article I wrote about “Surrey’s misbehaving elderly.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The man wasn’t caught doing something horrendously out of character. He made the innocent mistake of disposing of fruit in a way I am 100% certain all apnay have done at some point in time, justifying doing so by saying it’s biodegradable. And yes – he’s a minister, so he has to behave with a certain air of professionalism. But while he’s in his car? By himself? I suppose he didn’t think so many Indians were out to get him. Just desperately waiting for a slip up in order to “oust” him as this hypocritical monster.

Look at the big picture – you finally have a representation of your culture and heritage in the public eye. No, not in movies, not in television, in the Canadian parliament. So what in the world is wrong with your judgement that you want to attack the man like piranhas? Why not leave that to people of other cultures, some of whom I am sure despise seeing a man with a turban and a beard at such a high standing. But who needs to wait for them to bash the man’s reputation? We have internal internet bullies and inverse racism to do the job.

Pat yourselves on the back Indo-Canadians, you sure should be proud of your dire desire to dethrone this man from making those of us with some perspective proud.

The Lit Life | Ep. 04

Here is the latest episode for The Lit Life Podcast. If you enjoy listening to “against the grain” viewpoints and care about issues like racism, stereotypes, and hypocrisy in the Indo-Canadian culture — then have a listen!

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New Podcast Every Thursday!

The Lit Life | Ep. 02

On this episode of The Lit Life I discuss lazy Walmart auntiya, what it means to be called a “sh*tskin,” and what my personal goals for the next little bit are and what I hope yours will be.

Click here to listen: http://youtu.be/KuwG8TjpHYs

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The Lit Life | Ep. 01

In this Episode: Learn about who Amrita Lit is, what the novel Chasing Kismet is all about, and what you’re in store for if you subscribe to this podcast! It’s time to get L I T in a whole different way people…

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The Strength of a Mother

My mother’s always worn a black trench coat
They were a vast contrast to her creamy white skin
Which was a source of both pride and dissapointment
Proud that she looked like one of them, dissappointed that she resembled none of us
But her heart and soul belongs to her own
Replacing aspirations with obligations
To secure a house into a home
Giving each of the pieces of her heart a place to belong
Selfless service seldom met with gratitude
Her teachings pour into every aspect of my attitude
Thank you mother for all you give from within
Because I know there’s scarcely anything left
From which you can pull, when times get hard and your patience wears thin
The eternal and everlasting
Love of a strong poised Indian woman
The shield of her coat
Keeping in the warmth
Closing out the cold
Providing the sanctuary, required even as you yourself grow old

Airline Arrogance – What really went wrong?

This post is in regard to the video circulating around of the man being dragged off the overbooked United Airlines flight – you can bet your ass race played a factor in the manner in which he was removed from the flight.

All too often there’s this assumption that minorities will just submissively accept whatever is expected of them without a challenge. Typically because that’s usually how things go down.

I’m an advocate for people who are dubbed as “dippers” or “freshies” because it is these people who subconsciously think people who are “white” are some how superior and not meant to be challenged.

Think back to times when you were gone somewhere with your parents and they were always afraid to “do the wrong thing” or “disrupt the status quo” that’s because they automatically assumed the RIGHT way of doing things was set by people who belong to the majority.

So many times I see entitled individuals who “speak down to” ethnic minorities. Heck, people within the South Asian community do it too.

Keeping on track with speaking of airlines and improper conduct; I recall flipping my lid at one flight attendant when I overheard her telling a fellow passenger (who was clearly born and raised in India) that the beverage Coca Cola was bad for his kids teeth. Would this flight attendant dare challenge a white passengers request for some Coke to quiet his kid at the butt end of a gruelling 14 hour flight from India to Canada?

Of course not.

But she found herself entitled and exercised her advantage of being a westernized “brown girl” to tell the guy how to parent because he must somehow be in the dark about the unhealthy nature of Coca Cola.

Guess what nitwit air hostess chick – sometimes you just pacify your kids and give them what they want full well knowing it’s not the best thing for them just for a God forsaken moment of peace and quiet.

Feeling entitled and superior to someone because of their ethnicity or appearance is straight up racial profiling.

And just the same way the police statement released by the department to which those officers who dragged that DOCTOR off the plane just had to include the fact he was asian in their “official statement” you can bet their assumption and expectation of him to be submissive and afraid played a role in their violent attack.

Anyway – rant over. Moral of the story, stop judging people by what they look/sound like. Pull your heads out your asses and understand no ones better than anyone else.

For the “dips” — don’t be afraid of people who so excitedly tell you off when you’re in the wrong line up, facing the wrong way, or doing something else “the wrong way” in public.

And for the enablers within their own culture (the ones who feel themselves to be better than their own) stop thinking you’re superior just because your parents came to Canada at a certain time. That very well could be you with the thick accent, screaming kid, and desperate need for Coke or whatever else would placate your kid and get you through a overseas flight with small children.

Just stop judging one another and acting like douches. Okay? Okay! 🙂

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Have a wonderful week everyone!

The Balancing Act

As you all know I recently released my South Asian Fiction Adventure novel titled Chasing Kismet.

Along with many messages of congratulations and praise, also came a few offhand snide remarks along the lines of, “oh WOW I can’t believe this is actually good!” Or “did you seriously write this all yourself?”

-__-

Over the last few years I have developed a thicker skin than my insecure young adult self had (dang, when did I leave the YA zone)? And I’ve learned to take the negative with a grain of salt just as I don’t allow the rave reviews and soaring sales get to my head. Because no one falls quicker than a person whose head gets too big to carry, or someone who just can’t phase out the haters.

None of that is what I really want to talk about here, though. What I really want to explain is that there was no magical shortcut way for me to have produced this book and have something to forever be proud of.

Really – what it took was a big ol’ balancing act of keeping all my priorities and responsibilities straight. It wasn’t easy “keeping all my ducks in a row.” And that’s why they weren’t most of the time. Usually, when you take on too much – certain things suffer while other aspects of your life flourish. The secret to keeping it all together is learning what to put on the back burner and when to switch it up before you totally eff up the “lesser of your pressing priorities.”

For me, what I have to balance is my professional obligation to my husband’s family business, my role as a mother, my personal writing goals, and taking care of myself too.

Now I won’t lie – if I’m kicking ass at one or two of the things mentioned above, I’m usually sucking badly at the rest of it (typically my personal health and appearance takes the biggest hit).

But I still consider it a win if my son’s happy and fed, and if I manage to stay on top of my office work on a weekly basis.

But if you step back from this all- and really think about it, it’s quite funny that men never really have to struggle to find a balance between personal and professional aspirations. Usually, they’re one in the same and quite in sync with one another. For some reason only women have to conjure up some serious inner strength and mental stamina to pull off this seemingly impossible balance act called – having a family AND a career.

The ultimate responsibility of child rearing DOES always fall upon a mother, so any hopes, dreams, and aspirations outside of that role, usually fall by the wayside unless you try your ass off to make sh*t happen.

If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it all work. I knew from a very young age, pretty much at the age of 11, when I read my first real novel “The Underground Railroad to Canada” that I wanted to have my name embossed onto a glossy cover one day too. The immortal lasting effect of literature was something that just mesmerized me. As did my passion for wanting to create social change, or atleast sparking the mind of the individual who would do so.

So there you have it, a dream was born – one to be a real, actual, “big time” author.

Of course it took longer for me than most to publish this book and I have by no means “made it” in the world of literature. Not to
mention that having a child does throw your whole existence for a loop, and of course I faced countless instances of fret and worry about how I would be viewed as a married woman writing fiction about taboo subjects in my culture – but once you release your own demons, there’s nothing holding you back.

All that’s left is to put your pen to the paper, or in my case fingers to the screen, and let your heart bleed out your truest desires until your dreams become reality.

Purchase Chasing Kismet here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1540886131

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