You know before I gave birth I always used to hear people say ‘selamat berpantang’. I never really understood why they said that. I assumed they meant something like happy holidays..boy was I wrong. Pantang or confinement was sort of horrible.
After giving birth I was allowed to rest for a short while in the labour room. I immediately fell asleep from exhaustion. The nurse came in and told me I could move to the ward, but I really didn’t feel like moving. Not that I had a choice. My pelvis was still in a funk so I really couldn’t move and it took me all of 15 minutes just to get out of the bed. and then just standing up to get to the wheelchair i almost passed out, my head was spinning and i was seeing blurry and blacking out. Probably my low blood pressure or something. They gave me some Milo and I asked for more. Milo always makes it a lil bit better. I was too weak too hold Eesa, so the nurse wheeled him in his cot alongside my wheelchair to the ward.
Coming to the hospital I wanted to be placed in the first class ward, because I wanted Shafiq with me. But the ward was full, and so we went to the regular ward. the whole day i was sleepy and sore all over. I still couldn’t move so it was heartbreaking when Eesa cried and i couldn’t even move to pick him up. Shafiq couldn’t be int the ward with me to help. I felt utterly alone and helpless and scared. The nurse came by and rattled on about changing the baby’s diaper and i was suddenly so overwhelmed and distraught i burst into tears.
It was like all of a sudden, all this new stuff, these new responsibilities were dumped on me. Not to say I dint know what i was getting into, but i thought at the beginning that i’d have some kind of guide or help to get me going, not all of a sudden be expected to know everything. I guess i was in shock or something. Being a mom is all kinds of terrifying.
Alhamdulillah that night we were able to move to the first class ward and Shafiq could stay with me. Alhamdulillah alhamdulillah alhmadulillah! i don’t know how i would have survived that night all by myself, with the baby crying and me not being able to move. We were held overnight because I still wasn’t able to pee, so we couldn’t be discharged. the whole day went by and i still hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom even though my bladder was really full. they had to do an in out procedure to empty it out. The next day was the same, except this time, every time i tried to stand up to try and force myself to pee, my bladder sphincter muscles would just give way. Zero bladder control. In the end the hospital decided to hook me up with a catheter and sent me home on day 3.
Ummi never did any kind of pantang since she gave birth in Canada, and mostly alone. So my pantang period was pretty loose too. I couldn’t handle wearing socks (panas gila tau tak) and i ate almost everything.
Honestly I don’t know how people manage doing the whole pantang shebang. Where do they find the time? maybe their babies sleep more, unlike Eesa who refused to nap in the day at all. I mean, I could barely find time to eat, let along tangas tungku urut pilis mandi herba etc2. The only good thing about my catheter is that i didn’t need as many potty breaks.
The thing that was hardest to deal with in the beginning was breastfeeding. Eesa cried and cried and didn’t want to sleep even after nursing all day. It doesn’t help when the people around you keep saying you’re not producing enough milk and therefore force you to eat 24/7. my appetite was really low..i even vomited several times after forcing myself to eat eat eat. I grew pretty tired of everyone forcing food down my throat too. Another thing they kept saying was “you have to be happy, stay positive” which is absolutely hard when you’re overwhelmed and terrified and suffering postnatal blues. I did end up supplementing Eesa with some milk from Munira..It’s the only time I ever saw Eesa have a milk coma. Sad that it couldn’t be from me, but as long as Eesa is happy and healthy i guess.
The second hardest thing to deal with was missing my husband. We used to spend most of our time together, and suddenly it all evaporated with me being preoccupied with the baby. No more spontaneous dates, hanging out, cuddling etc.
I spent the first 2 weeks basically in tears. Overwhelmed with everything. To make things worse, Shafiq came down with a really bad flu a week in so he had to stay far away from me and the baby. I’ve never felt so alone in my whole life. Support and even just the physical presence of your loved ones around you are so important in these times. Hats off to all the single mothers out in the world
But in between the loooooong hours, of course, there were precious moments, gems and heart melting smiles with my lil boy.