I wrote this letter when I was eight weeks postpartum back in 2012.
Dear 37-weeks pregnant me,
I remember that when the photo for that week was taken, I was so full of joy and excitement. I didn’t know what awaited me, except that I was oh so looking forward to meeting my little man.
I also didn’t know that barely a day after the photo was taken, I would go into labour. Nor that my prayed for labour never happened.
Eight weeks on, I am older and wiser. My life has been taken off its hinges and spun 360 degrees around. It hasn’t settled yet, no, far from it, but at least I feel more or less like myself again. And looking back at the time when I was still pregnant, I wish somebody had told me what I am able to tell you now.
1. Enjoy pregnancy
I was fortunate to have a pretty smooth pregnancy and despite some of the aches and pains, I have tried to stay positive and happy. I loved every moment of being pregnant and if there is one thing that I do regret about the early delivery of Aidan, it would be that I never did enjoy more of my pregnancy.
So treasure that bump. Immerse in every hiccup, every little kick that the baby delivers from within. Sing to baby, dance with him. Imagine and daydream of your life with him.
You will miss being pregnant.
2. Enjoy couplehood
You wouldn’t believe how much parenthood can transform your relationship with husband. It’s been eight weeks and our marriage, while intact, has definitely changed. There are so many things I miss about being just us: going out on a whim, watching a movie together, chatting about politics and other topics not related to baby, sharing details of our day, watching telly together while having our dinner. If somebody had told me that I would give birth to Aidan at merely 37 weeks, I would have done more, luxuriated more in being just the two of us.
At the same time, I am grateful that we made the decision to have a little Hong Kong holiday last December. There were lots of lovely memories and it will forever be a trip to remember.
(Funny how things always happen in Hong Kong for us.)
3. Be open to help
Back then, I was adamant that I could handle everything by myself after birth. How wrong was I, how STUPID, how NAIVE! In the end, I was a complete wreck and right now, the dreadfulness of the first four weeks have become hazy to me. Selective memory, I say. Motherhood is tough shit and the lesson that I have learnt is to never say never to help.
4. Be firm but flexible
The one thing that I love about me is that I research to death and then make my decisions on how I want to lead my life. It’s a strong trait and something that has guided me through many tough times.
I was insistent on hypnobirthing. I was insistent on going drug-free during labour. I was insistent on many things.
We all know how that panned out.
So yes, we can hold on to our beliefs but we cannot be blind to other options as well. Always go with the flow and do not cast decisions in stone.
5. You WILL fit into your clothes again
Honestly, that should be the least of your worries. Right now, I can squeeze into my pre-pregnancy bottoms. There might be an extra kilo here and there but it’s not a big deal. You CAN afford to put on a bit of weight.
Don’t fret. You WILL don those gorgeous frocks again, sooner than you think.
6. Wear your eye bags with pride
You won’t look the same anymore. Those eye bags that you have been desperately wishing away your entire life? THEY WILL GET WORSE.
But it’s okay, if it means that your little man will get all the goodness of the breast milk that you can offer. And nursing is NOT forever. Enjoy it and forget about how shitty you look.
(There’s always Botox.)