Editor’s Note: If you are alone in the USA and wondering whether you will able to manage the delivery of your child single-handedly then don’t worry. Many women have gone through this before. We bring you stories of some here.
Manage But Don’t try to be Perfect – Ansuya
I think it depends on the individual, and her abilities. Bathing a baby is not the most difficult thing in the world. I had no experience with babies, and still find them a little scary (well, a lot scary, if I must be honest – I prefer creatures that can talk), and I was able to figure it out from research beforehand, and a watch-and-learn lesson from a nurse during the regular three-day stay in the hospital post-birth.
Generally, are you a take-charge kind of person who is prepared and organized most of the time? Or are you easily overwhelmed, and do you look to others (husband, mother) for help and support when you are facing challenges, like studying for exams, moving house, etc.? Having a baby can be a very stressful time, but it really depends on your definition of stress, and how you like to solve problems.
In my experience, managing by yourself can be done. If you forget about keeping a perfectly clean house, take care of only you and your baby (forget your husband, he is expected to take care of himself completely and help you and the baby out as much as he can), and accept help from all those who offer it (no one will say they want to help if they don’t want to), then you can probably do it.
Let people bring you food, watch the baby for a few hours while you sleep, or do a load of laundry for you. Make a list of things now that you normally may handle (bills to be paid, salt in the water softener, changing the furnace filter) for your husband to take over for a few weeks/months.
You won’t be eating gourmet meals every day, and you won’t get much sleep, but if you keep things simple, you’ll survive. You’ll be stronger for the experience, too – it’s quite exhilarating to find your power as a woman and a mother by taking care of things yourself.
Barring serious health conditions for you or your baby at childbirth, regular every day chores will be manageable. There isn’t much you can do to mess things up. There’s no magic or mystery to taking care of a baby. Babies are born all over the world every day in far less ideal conditions than we have here, and they do just fine. As far as I know, bathing (dressing, feeding, carrying, rocking, singing to, changing) a baby “the wrong way” is hardly ever fatal.
Breastfeeding may be challenging at first, but there are lactation specialists at the hospital, and organizations like La Leche League that can help. I would suggest having a plan in place to get breastfeeding help before your baby is born.
I think you are very considerate to be thinking of your mother’s comfort. It is a harrowing journey, getting here by flight, and I like how practical you are about her health conditions. At some level, you will end up taking care of her a bit (it will be daunting for her to be in a new country, new house, and new culture, with a new baby, all at the same time) and this should be taken into account.