The fourth trimester - week 3
Hey! Hey! It’s already week 3… and I am starting to recover. In fact, how much I have recovered in the last 2 weeks is amazing. In fact, the last few antibiotics are done with. The midwife visits are slowing down. And I can almost get out of bed without my strange contraption! Life indeed is starting to look up!
Week 3 is when the husband went back to work. And Week 3 with a newborn is when I stepped out of home with the buggy to meet my NCT mum group. The first 10 days definitely seemed long and never-ending back then but looking back it seems like it was gone in a flash.
When I did step out, I wasn’t confident if I am honest. I had paraded around the world by myself for my job and travel but parading with an infant was no joke. Also when I say I made amazing progress physically, what it really means is that I could stand up and walk. At snail pace! But getting out for a cuppa and meeting the other babies was fun. And my mum's group definitely enjoyed the company of the youngest member. I was nervous but I did it and my friends helped me building up my confidence as a parent - I can take care of my baby. Didn’t seem like I could till 2 minutes back! Once you realise this, you evolve as a person - you exude confidence of a whole different level. It’s the sort of confidence that says, “Hey! I can take care of the work project, but more importantly, I can take care of human life when it’s so tiny and fragile!”
Week 3 also ends with the baby naming ceremony in our culture. So, in spite of crazy hormones that were up and down, we hosted a tiny meal for family to celebrate our new arrival. He obviously was blissfully unaware, and wanted to go back to his next nap as soon as he had his milk and a soiled nappy. Only to be woken up if pin drop silence didn’t prevail! The lack of sleep was still not doing us much good. And with the husband having to go back to work and the hormones parading through my blood, and me catching a round of cold my mum intervened.
From that point forward, for the next few days, the baby would be in mum’s room and this is where I feel that Asian cultures are so very supportive of new parents and newborns. They don’t expect you to bounce back up immediately. They don’t expect you to be amazing at your new role immediately. They don’t even expect to be thanked for their help. That is how it is done anyway. That is normal. I grew up with my grandma looking after me most of the time, and so did most of my friends. And I was glad that I could embrace my Indian culture which just asked me to put my feet up and relax! Well, as much as you can relax when you hear your baby crying, in the middle of the night, even if he is not in the same room. But hey, I was doing FAR better than most of the other new parents and that was already a win.
Need some sage advice? Ask for help! I understand why you don’t want to - it makes you vulnerable, and that’s one that hurts the ego. But if there’s one thing that I have learned in my corporate career, it’s this - vulnerable leaders are the most charismatic of the lot. You don’t need to have all the answers. You don’t need to be solving everything. Just make sure you ask for help because as a new parent, you need it. And as a society, if we want a better future, a stronger generation to pass the baton on to, an amazing workforce who are secure in who they are, we need to become better at supporting new parents.
This article is a part of a series by Sudeshna Sen. Sudeshna heads up a team in her corporate career and runs The Abundance Psyche to help ambitious professionals navigate their career dilemmas. Take the Quiz to get a step closer to your dream career.
All opinions published on this blog are the author’s own.