Thursday, July 02, 2009

Enjoy every trimester of your pregnancy

Your first trimester is probably one-fourth completed by the time you realise you are pregnant -- and that's a good thing, because the first trimester is probably the toughest, rich in morning sickness, acidity, psychological troubles (only in case you're worried about how life would change after you have a baby), and much more. But the moment you realise you are pregnant, I have a friendly prescription for you -- ENJOY as much as you can!

Some people would claim that life changes the minute you know you are pregnant and the stress and sacrifices begin right then, blah, blah... and it is definitely so for those with special medical conditions, but if yours is a normal pregnancy, then throw away such notions and enjoy yourself completely! That is the best way to spend those 8-9 months! And that is actually the right way to prepare yourself for the future too.

Life will undeniably change after you have a baby -- no movies for a while, a strict diet, irregular and sometimes no sleep, and so on. Some people think they need to prepare themselves for the post-natal situation by thinking (and moaning) about it right from the first trimester of the pregnacy. Others think they should be over-cautious while pregnant and miss so many things that after the delivery, they repent for having wasted those wonderful free days!

I feel you should let go and have a bash all through your pregnancy, so that once the kid is born you feel satisfied that you enjoyed the pre-natal days to the hilt and are then prepared for the little sacrifices -- which are after all temporary!
  • Do not overwork. Reduce your workload and reserve lots of time for sleep and enjoyment!
  • Go out as much as you can. Avoid travelling on rocky roads, keep away from two-wheelers and autos as much as you can, but travel safely wherever you want. Travel will be restricted a bit after the baby comes. My husband and I made so many trips to visit our parents, as well as explored so many new places in Bangalore. Similarly, I also went around a bit coming to Chennai for the delivery. Now, when I'm confined to home with the baby, I have lots of memories to recall and enjoy!
  • Don't forget to watch all the movies you want to. You can't go to the theatre with an infant, and even at home you cannot dream of watching a full movie at one go, without any interruptions. Vikram and I watched at least one movie every week, mostly on DVDs.
  • Eat everything you love -- this is the time to do so. Once the baby is born, you have to be on diet, to maintain your weight as well as to ensure that you do not eat anything that troubles the baby (gastric foods, etc) -- keep that in mind, and eat whatever you feel you will sorely miss after the delivery -- aloo bonda, masala paratha, kothu parotta, pitla, colocasia fry, whatever you love!
  • You can also eat out occasionally, provided it's a safe place. There is nothing wrong with eating out in a good restro/bakery you frequent, but eating pani puri in the road corner is a no-no. Similarly, it's safe to eat cooked food. Avoid raw stuff even in good restaurants. So, stay safe but enjoy yourself.
  • Write lotsa emails, make lots and lotsa phone calls... you might not have time even for that later. So, keep in touch with your friends and warn them that you might not be in touch for a few months later -- so that they don't think you have vanished into outer space.

Oh well, just do whatever you want to... don't keep brooding about not being able to do things after the baby comes... do it all earlier, so that you are prepared for the next phase of life, and all set to greet it with a bright smile and no repentance!

Disclaimer: If your doctor has adviced you not to do something, DON'T do it! Enjoy within the limits prescribed by your gynaec!

Note: The prescription also holds for men whose wives are expecting a baby.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Babies make you believe in God...

I have not blogged since the second trimester of my pregnancy... I was busy enjoying myself in other ways :-) But now, my baby boy, Tejas, has brought me back to my blog again. Watching him grow is unbelievably exciting! I have known writers feeling sorry for themselves after childbirth, saying they feel so dull doing the same nursing and cleaning routine over and over again, resulting in a mental block that prevents them from writing, etc... sorry, I don't feel sorry for them anymore... because so far my experience has been very different... it is so wonderful watching a baby grow, there are so many things to think and write about... the baby becomes the stimulus and the inspiration to write!

Anyway, coming to the subject of this post... I think watching a baby grow is enough to make even an atheist start believing in God, or at least the existence of some kind of superpower. I believe in God, and yet I feel excited and surprised at every development... I wonder: How does a child know to suckle from the minute it is born? Who teaches it to start looking around, to vigorously kick about, and to cry? Why do so many expressions -- from laughter to fear -- cross a baby's face when it is seemingly fast asleep? How does a baby suddenly learn to smile one fine morning? How does a baby entertain itself when nobody is around, and when it cannot read or even understand words? We sit and talk to a baby but it cannot understand us, yet it has the decency to smile and make us feel comfortable -- how does it know this courtesy, if I may call it that? How does a baby learn to swallow? How does it recognise its mother? How does it start acquainting itself with other people? How does it learn to move its limbs? Without words, without symbols, how is the baby able to make us understand if it is hungry, sleepy or unwell?

Well, the structure of a baby, its features, etc, may be programmed in us as genes, as we've learnt in our biology lessons? But when a baby does things exactly like its dad or mum or other close relatives, it still immerses you in immense joy, surprise, and inevitably the question arises -- how? How does a baby form habits so early -- my son for instance refuses to cover his legs when asleep -- he will kick away the blanket with an irritated look and then drift back to blissful sleep, he knows when it is time for his raisin juice and will not drink milk at that time, he knows what games each of the family members plays with him and reacts accordingly, and so many such habits... and he is just two months old!

My aunt was telling me about a recent research that proved that a baby can form habits as early as three days old -- they tied a toy pigeon to a hook above the baby; there was a string tied to the pigeon, the other end of which was tied to the baby's toe; whenever the baby moved it leg, the string was pulled and the pigeon made a sound. After three days, when the researcher brought the pigeon and tied it to the hook, the baby immediately started moving its legs up and down in the usual rhythm!

I keep questioning 'how', and despite being an 'educated woman' and despite reading so much literature on the subject in the Internet, etc, I am not convinced that it is just simple biology. I think there is a Power above all that. I like to believe in grandma's theory that God speaks to children and plays with them -- that's why they go into a trance quite often and laugh and play even when nobody is around. God teaches the baby the basic life lessons (and the complex lessons too, later in life!), He soothes it when it is scared, He helps the baby understand the emotions we show towards him - thereby forging the bond, He protects the baby from negative emotions and other scary things, in short, it is He who helps the baby to even start learning the things we teach him -- God stands as the first building block in the baby's life. I am thoroughly convinced. May He be with Tejas too!