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The joy of motherhood

Published:Wednesday | April 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM

After having my son Zane, my conversation with mothers changed. It was like joining the new 'motherhood' club. I keep hearing a common word from almost every mother, 'joy'. One mother told me that you never really know what joy feels like until you are a mother. Yes, it is a joy.

However, as the popular Jamaican expression goes: "if yuh want good, yuh nose haffi run." Raising children involves a lot of hard work and sacrifice. I would like to advise new mothers or soon-to-be mothers to be prepared for this very special privilege.

Baby's pointed head

So how does it begin? Your baby is born and the doctor or nurse hands him or her over to you. This little human being is beautiful but why is his or her head pointed? Sometimes babies delivered by vaginal delivery or even Caesarean section may have pointed heads. This is called moulding and occurs as the baby's head shapes to fit through the birth canal. The baby may also have caput or swelling of the scalp.

If you decide to breastfeed, it might start out a little harder than you expected. Your little one may want to be fed as often as every hour. You might feel a slight stab of pain in your nipples every time the baby latches on. You might also worry that your milk supply is insufficient even though, more than likely, it is enough.

Night-time exhaustion

At nights when you are exhausted and want a good night's rest, your bundle of joy may have other ideas. He or she may have you up hourly. Sometimes, you will wonder if you will make it through another night but your baby falls asleep in your arms and you are sure that you have the most beautiful baby in the world. Then you are able to do it all over again.

How can you navigate the sometimes rough waters of new motherhood? Be prepared! During your pregnancy, expand your reading on breastfeeding and caring for a newborn. Take classes in these areas if you are able to. Get help! If possible have extra hands to assist you with household chores, especially during the first few weeks. Sleep at any opportunity presented even if it means giving up television watching for a while.

You might get a little more tearful or irritable than usual. This can be normal if it happens shortly after the baby is born but goes away within two weeks. But if symptoms last longer, visit your physician. It is possible that you may have post-partum depression.

Dr Monique Rainford is a consulting obstetrician and gynaecologist; email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.com.