Sailing through Crisis as New Parents

A dear cousin of mine is going through a rather rocky beginning for his parenting journey. His son’s head, owing to its size, was stuck in the passage for a bit longer than ideal and had to be helped to come out. But that trauma led to an incapacity in the child to cry or breathe. He had to be immediately rushed to the nearest Neonatal Hospital and has been admitted there every since.

I clearly remember my phone conversation with his wife from two days before where I stressed on how important it will be for her to hold the baby immediately after the delivery and to be very confident about initiating the breast feeding bonding as early as possible. Tonight, as I type this post, we are already sitting at more than 48 hours without breast feeding or without mother’s continuous presence around the baby. Infact, the baby has a pipe in the nose for oxygen and a couple or needle pricks already.

I shudder with the thought of putting myself in my cousin’s shoes. The times are already testing for any new born to come out in a world arrested by a pandemic. The movements are restricted, the rate of infection is so high and the baby is so vulnerable. And to top that all – such a serious birth trauma experience for your little one.

For a second I tried to imagine myself to be that mother – lying there with a sore body, feeling the pain of a fresh delivery with no sight of the child around. I want to jump out of the bed, run to the other hospital, shout out at the authorities demanding to hold my little new born son in my hands. And finally, when the authorities do succumb to the chaos that I have created, I get to feel my child, in a feather touch embrace, with the selfless love that only a mother can radiate and secretly whisper in his ears, “Son, hold in there, I am right here! Waiting for you on the other side of this glass. I am letting you go in there, not because I love you any less, because you are too precious to lose.” Tears roll down my eyes, as I let them place him back to his spot on that sterilised bed.

I am done with this imagination when I start to think what empowers a mother through such testing times. It is an inner strength, a resorvior of untapped energy and willpower. Every mother faces some or the other crisis. Not always this extreme and I pray for a Never for Anyone. But, when the child is so young and fragile, every crisis is serious crisis. I remember when my little one was newly born, I would never let him sleep in the cot or ‘ghodiya’ alone. The reason being – having over read on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and having a kind of phobia or anxiety around it. Being a new mother to a tongue tie child, there was hardly any time to sleep with all that cluster breast feeding. And to make that worse, there were these pangs of anxiety that would wake me up to check on his breath. That was one hell of a time, always living in the fear whether this one will pull it through. And what if he doesn’t?

But, life is always testing. And always so to say unfair and unpredictable. As a parent, our prime responsibity is to rise above the situation to get an objective view and to breathe properly. Why I stress on breathe is because breathing makes the process of thinking clearer. Our child should never sense our fears or anxieties to the extent that we pass it on to them. That will simply make things worse than ever. Hold the child in an embrace that is reassuring. But before that, take a couple of deep breaths and ensure that your breathing doesn’t reflect the chaotic state of your mind. And then you see, the child will feel assured and peaceful. In spite of all the cyclones in your head, the sea will always look calm to the child. For something as simple and as annoying as Colic, I have experienced this thing work. The minute I panic, the crying gets worse. Then no Colic Aid, no Chamomille works. It is only when I have taken a minute to compose my self and held him back again with the confidence that all is well, has he also settled back to normal. Ofcourse, the rocking and walking worked as well. But nothing works if the child can sense your racing heartbeat.

So mothers, I know you are overworked and sometimes it seems impossible. But staying calm and staying positive is the only strongest weapon cum shield that we have been gifted to protect our precious ones.

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