This Is Impossible

Being a first time parent is an impossible task!

Learning how to hold a baby, how to feed her, how to burp her, how to interpret her crying, how to bathe her, how to comfort her…

How come they didn’t teach us any of this in school?

You may answer that we can’t learn this in school, because we learn from our elders.

But why does each person have their own theory and their own opinions? Who am I supposed to believe?

I am always stressed when I’m faced with something new and unfamiliar to me. I hate that all my preparation in reading and research has gone to waste just because somebody comes along and says otherwise.

And we have to follow because this is what the old people say, or because this is the practice of the ancients. If we don’t follow, we will be cursed to suffer in the future.

This broad spectrum of (sometimes conflicting) advice is very confusing.

I hate feeling confused. And with my personality, I feel terrible inside when faced with situations of conflict.

I hate feeling unsure of myself.

There is no consistency in the way we are handling our baby. One day we do it one way. Another day someone tells us another story and we are “taught” to doing things another way.

I hate it when people try to propagate myths or urban legends and try to force me to “practice” them on my baby.

I hate it when I am told off just because I don’t follow what they say. I hate being the only person in the room to see things with common sense.

I hate having to follow some traditions that are only ritualistic or religious in nature.

Why do we have to follow customs from our ancestors who lived in cold climates?

I’m not saying all things they say are bad. After all, look at how we turned out fine.
It’s just those things that don’t make sense. Like not allowing you to wash your hair. Or not allowing you to carry your screaming baby because you will spoil her

Or verbalizing curses upon her life by repeatedly saying to my baby that she is naughty and misbehaving.

This is something that is making me really really unhappy.

Sometimes I just want to scream, “This is OUR baby… why can’t you let US BE THE PARENTS!?”

“Sometimes when we talk to you, all we want is assurance that we are doing fine. I don’t want to hear that all I’m doing is wrong. I need your support, not another form of advice to confuse me further.”

“I know you are doing this to show you care for us, but this isn’t what we need right now. We already have so many things to worry about…”

Sigh… I better stop writing before I cry.

I think I’m suffering from postnatal depression (or the husband’s equivalent of this condition). I’m going to tell you more about that in my next post.

Photo: Ivar van Bussel

16 thoughts on “This Is Impossible”

  1. Guess it’s never easy when you’re first time parents and the whole world think they’re better parents than you guys are. Well guess what, they’re not. Nobody told them what to do, and they turned out all right (I hope!). Just as you and Poey Chin will too.

    At the end of the day, she’s YOUR daughter. She may be somebody else’s granddaughter, or niece, or goddaughter, etc etc etc, but being YOUR daughter trumps everything else.

    I’ve no doubt you two will make great parents.

    Adino: You’re right. We can do this.

  2. I agree with you that some traditions are far-out antiquainted and make completely no sense whatsoever. I sure ain’t going to follow some of it when it comes to my turn! LOL.

    Oh, and please don’t let others speak negative things about Rachel – the Asian culture (especially for Chinese) is that one must speak curses about the children or else they’d turn out wrong. Well, I’ve seen plenty of my relatives keep on calling their children naughty or “bad egg” or all those other names and when the child turns out that way… they pull their hair out and moan about why the child is like that when in the first place, they were cursing the child!

    Guess maybe the best advice I can give you for your situation is to do what seems in the best interests of baby Rachel, Poey Chin and yourself.

    Remember always that Rachel is a precious, beautiful gift from God. πŸ™‚

    Adino: This is what I’m afraid of. That the words spoken will plant themselves in her subconscious.

  3. I totally understand how you feel being a new parent. Follow your gut instincts and that is the best. After all, she’s your daughter. I will usually listen politely and smile, but will make the judgement call myself together with hubby on what’s best for our little boy.

    Dont worry, you will work out the kinks soon enough. Take care.

    Adino: Thanks for your advice.

  4. Hey, sorry to hear of your experience. I hope you and the elders not all under one roof, are you?

    Most of my friends have experienced the same struggle.

    The only one who escaped was a couple who moved to the UK for a few years and had their child there. With the absence of parents and in-laws, they didn’t follow any of the traditional practices at all. They and their children who are now teenagers are perfectly healthy and fine.

    Adino: One of them is, and I have to bear with it for one more week. Then we’ll be on our own. And I can take over again.

  5. Do you think books are more “trustworthy” in terms of advice? I think so. Personally, I don’t trust “traditional” practices because I think they are not usually scientific. So which one do you feel is better? Follow your instincts (I think humans should have them for baby nurturing).

    Adino: Personally I trust books more, but I don’t follow blindly what I read.

    I think traditional practices have their logic and reasoning. After all, if it doesn’t work, nobody would do it in the past. However, these practices may not be suitable or applicable.

    Sometimes I feel a hidden pressure that I am abandoning my Chinese ancestry roots because I am not willing to follow some practices. I don’t know if others have felt the same.

  6. HEE HEE HEE!! Welcome to parenthood. Throughout your entire life, you’ll be bombarded by ‘thoughtful’ advices and sage-like wisdom from ur family members, friends, (partpor) bloggers (like me!!!) and (shudders!) strangers!

    Ah…. You must now learn one new thing. One ear in, One ear out (EIEO).

    Nod and agree to disagree.

    Even the gwai-los here try very hard to teach me what NOT to do.

    If I listen to chinese tok and gwai-lo tok, I think I mati katak already!!!!!!!!!

    Sometimes, the chinese way works, sometimes the gwai-lo way works…you just have to find that balance and keep it in consistence. That way your lil Rachel will grow into a happy healthy bub! Remember that every baby is different, just like snowflakes.

    Really..learn the EIEO method..best method in the world! πŸ˜‰

    Adino: Sounds like the Old MacDonald method!

    πŸ˜›

    I don’t mind advice actually. I know they are given with the best intentions.

    But sometimes I just feel so down, it’s not advice I want. It’s understanding and support.

  7. Like Mott say, those things supposed to go in through your ear and immediately come out, without anything left behind
    ^-^

    Imagine, even at my age, my mum suddenly called me this morning, and tell me: your fengshui said for this month, your lucky colour is gold and blue

    Though I know she did it in good intention, but don’t you think that is really unnecessary? She know fully well that I will not believe in it for half a second.

    With that, you can imagine the tonnes of ‘advises’ she gave me for my kids. Needless to say, we followed none of it.

    Don’t worry. We all get through it and survive.

    For your daughter, if u need anything, u know where to go ^-^

    Adino: Ok, thanks. I know we will get through it.

  8. Hi Adino,

    Don’t worry.
    It is a phase that you have to undergo.
    Imagine that you can do the same to ur kids next time ( just kidding i know u wont )

    Just listen and.. yeah.. do otherwise which you and pc think is the best for Rachel.

    After she is YOUR baby ger πŸ™‚ u hav all rights to do what u think is the best for her. and Nvr doubt yourself I am sure all your study will put you through this practical test well πŸ™‚

    Jia you. ( if you dun understand this, ask your wife ) πŸ˜‰

    Adino: Thanks for your support. Still waiting for you to come and see baby!

  9. deja vu hahah!!! giv you one tip, i found it really useful during my confinement…install a lock on your bedroom door and politely say, Good night! lock your door for the night. and if they still dont get the hint and start knocking, you are asleep wot… “mutt doo theng mm dou. lalalalalala”

    Adino: Hehe… good idea!

  10. I have the same experiences. I guess we just need to pick those useful advices and ignore those ‘legend’ advices. Some advices are true enough, but not all.

    Cheer up! I m sure u can handle it, sooner or later!

    Adino: Thanks!

  11. There’s a story behind every old wives’ tale. The sad thing is people never grow out of these beliefs even when they are proven wrong. Nobody should dictate how a child is to be raised but the parents themselves.

    And heaven forbid anyone who’d dare tell me NOT to wash my hair after delivery!

    Adino: I totally agree. But then, some small part of me wonders if we as new parents know what we’re doing.

  12. What I do is >> I agree everything they told me but I just follow those make sense, I’m the one who makes decision after all! No problem brother, life is like that!

    Adino: That’s a good principle!

  13. Still got long way for you to go lol.. That’s just a small baby.. you still got many years to go lol…

    Adino: Many years ah? I’m learning to enjoy each step of the way
    πŸ™‚

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