Aakriti Dhungana Agrawal

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Published On: December 22, 2018 11:24 AM NPT By: Aakriti Dhungana Agrawal

‘First-time Mom’ Experience

‘First-time Mom’ Experience

As a 29-year-old married woman, who married her love, I am happy. Being married for two years, we finally decided to have a baby but the road wasn’t easy. I have hashimoto thyroid, a condition which I have been dealing since my first menstruation. In order to conceive a baby, I had to go through check up, take medication, lower my TSH level. We were determined and everything in place. After a few months we were told we can finally conceive and following that month, I was pregnant. Never had I thought I would conceive so early.  

After having the baby, like many women I was on the verge of having postpartum depression. Well it’s a major thing to say and I know the term for what I felt maybe different but this is what I would always think. I had a c-section which was inevitable even though I wanted a normal delivery. I had major breastfeeding issues and I still have which lead me to formula feed my baby. For one month, with all the energy I had, I tried to nurse the baby. But to my sadness, the baby refused to latch and no matter what diet (Nepali diet) I had I wasn’t producing enough milk. So I decided to stick to formula feed the baby. Many including my mom and so many women especially looked at me with my wide eyes and questioned my efficiency as a mother; just because I could not breastfeed. The point is I felt that not being able to breastfeed is even more difficult than being pregnant. My decision of not breastfeeding wasn’t my choice but it was bound to happen to me.

During this entire process of being a mom for the first time and wanting what’s best for my baby has caused a stir in my life. Wanting to satisfy my own personal wish, I have been criticized behind the scene just because I am not an experienced mom. In the era of Youtube and Google, I search for all my problems and questions over the internet but this did not seem to go down well in the society that we, as a Nepali, have been brought up into.

After facing a number of such personal problems, I came to the conclusion that women can never really understand another woman’s journey. Yes, we talk about being equal to men. But let’s first empathize with her. I also understood that I am not alone in this journey; even though I have family and backup support, I am still alone in my journey to raise my boy. I have understood that no matter how many good things I want him to have; I will always be criticized for doing so. 

My story is not only about my incapability to breastfeed. It is about how our society torments us for making the decision that we take. Since my postpartum till now post three months, I have been dealing with this emotion that I am incapable and wrong. But I also console myself saying that’s the way our society works and I have to tolerate it. Let’s face it. We, as mothers give birth.  Once we do, we are anyways undervalued, ignored and criticized. When we talk about the western world, we see how a husband and wife go hand-in-hand raising a child. That is so independent. Here, in our society, a newborn gets divided between his mother and others. They want him to be raised just like the way we were raised 30 years back. No matter how modern we get with our clothing and lifestyle, the mentality is still the same. Instead of women supporting women, we criticize them and put them down.

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