By Laura Fawaz
TMO Contributing Writer
A man came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?” The Prophet said: ‘Your mother.’ The man said, “Then who?” The Prophet said: ‘Then your mother.’ The man further asked, “Then who?” The Prophet said: ‘Then your mother.’ The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet said: ‘Then your father.’
The moment you find out you’re pregnant, your whole world changes. You plan and prepare for the arrival of your baby girl or boy, all as your body is ever changing.
After 10 months of preparation and anticipating, I gave birth to a baby girl who came four days past her due date. Once our 7 pounds, 4 ounces bundle of joy entered this world, she was immediately placed on my chest. At that moment, as she took her first few breaths, she started right at me, wide-eyed, somehow, by the grace of Allah knowing that I was her mother, and that I was there to take care of her, God-willing, for all my years to come.
I constantly say that I’m so thankful that my husband and I are an aunt and an uncle to a combined 12 nieces and nephews before we were parents. There are so many things you can read about becoming a new parent, but nothing can compare to experiencing it itself. Getting helpful tips and advice from other parents was also beneficial. This helped us know what to do and what not to do when taking care of a new and delicate person. Since I was already familiar with the overnight feedings, the diaper changes, etc., it made it that much easier for me. Except this time I don’t have the luxury of giving the baby back to their parents so I can nap, it’s now all me 24/7, and my husband when he gets home from work.
There are so many things that I love about being a mom, but the absolute best is when she has her tummy time on my chest, and she’s resting comfortably. That bonding time, feeling her warmth is one that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
All doctors and nurses will constantly tell any new mom to sleep when their baby is sleeping, though any new mom will say that that is not realistic. While my daughter is sleeping I’m usually catching up on phone calls for her doctor, or from family members who want to come and visit the new baby, cleaning or washing clothes that this new small person seems to go through so quickly, or making food to keep up my strengths since I’m nursing. Trying to get anything done is a new talent that is harder than it seems.
I am a freelance photojournalist who set up my career schedule in this way when planning for the future of children, in order to have a flexible schedule around their convenience. With our emotions running all over, any comment about this, or anything else make us upset and annoyed. It’s one that no one will understand unless they went through it too. Just last week my sister Sarah, who has three kids of her own, and I were talking about this. Both of our husbands are involved and understanding fathers, who yes are also becoming new dads, but they can’t truly understand this feeling.
You always here about the pain and discomfort of pregnancy and childbirth, with the term “pregnancy brain” being tossed around. But I wasn’t prepared for all of these symptoms to be at their worst after giving birth. Of course the most painful part was pushing a baby out, especially since I chose to do this all natural and drug free. Though “pregnancy brain” has nothing on “new mom brain.” You will no longer have a real concept of time, not only due to your lack of sleep, but because you’re always checking the time to keep track of your baby’s feeding schedule.
My baby recently turned five weeks old, so I’m just starting to venture out a little bit; taking a photo job here, an article there, etc. Seems minor enough, but while I am trying to write this article, it’s 1 a.m. and I’m sitting in bed trying to sooth my daughter to sleep in my left arm, and trying to type this piece with my right hand, while using my body to hold her pacifier in place and rock her to sleep, all while hoping she doesn’t throw up her last meal.
Being hormonal is normal for all new moms, more now than during pregnancy. “Progesterone levels drop dramatically when you drop your placenta, and new mothers are in a very low hormonal state,” says Yvette LaCoursiere, MD, MPH, assistant professor and associate residency director in the Department of Reproductive Medicine at University of California, San Diego Health Sciences.
To add to the hormonal state is the lack of sleep. Everyone warns you that you won’t be sleeping, and they are not exaggerating. I remember one co-worker of mine whose response to me when she found out I was expecting was “congratulations … ha ha ha, you’re never going to sleep again,” as she continued laughing.
When I find myself smelling like spit up, sleepy, sticky, sweaty, and exhausted, I look to my baby girl and feel blessed to have a healthy baby to have and to take care of. God has blessed me with this trust of a person to look after, and it is sheer privilege that it is to know and raise up these precious little ones. Allah (SWT) has a plan for us all, especially for those to raise families in His path.
The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said heaven lies under the feet of mothers.
Editor’s note: the author’s views are her own.