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Posted on 8 May 2017

12 Things Young Mothers In India Need To Know

"Normal" deliveries are difficult, talking about postpartum depression is OK, and brace yourself for a LOT of unsolicited advice.

Being a young mother comes with a lot of excitement, challenges and fear. BuzzFeed asked Indian mothers about what they wish they knew about the joys of motherhood and what they need to expect. Here were some of their answers:

1. Just because you cannot breastfeed your baby, doesn't mean you're a bad mother.

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"A lot of mothers feel that unless you have exclusively breastfed your baby, you haven't been a good enough mother. This is incorrect. My experience has been that as long as your baby is fed and you aren't going crazy guilt-tripping yourself, you and your baby are just fine." – Nidhi Sharma, 40, New Delhi

2. Bleeding after giving birth is totally normal.

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"So, I was never told by even my own mother that bleeding for so long after birth was a thing. I hated every minute of it, especially with epiostomy stitches." – Hasita Krishna, 27, Bengaluru

3. A vaginal delivery will not be the easiest to get through.

"I thought I was ready for a normal delivery but once I went into labour, I realised the gravity of the pain I was feeling. Everybody's threshold for pain is very different and it's OK if you opt for a C-section." – Gloria Mathew, 24, Silvassa

"I wish I knew that it really doesn't matter which way the baby comes out. That a vaginal birth doesn't make you more of a 'mother'." – Supriya Kurane

4. Feeling low or depressed after giving birth is a hormonal change you might go through and it's OK to talk about it.

"Feeling low or sulking postpartum is due to hormones. Your body undergoes so many hormonal changes that one can have a rollercoaster of emotions. It is absolutely OK to talk it out and seek help when needed, both in terms of handling moods and childcare." – Viyolla Mendonce, 28, Bengaluru

5. Be your own baby's role model.

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"Mothers should follow their goals and help their child achieve their goals. There is a life beyond your family and children. Focus on that. Use your savings for education and to travel the world and to gain maximum knowledge out of it. Encourage your children to do the same." – Chandralekha Deepak, 33, Bengaluru

6. Seeing differently abled children as different is not really helpful.

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"In India, we see a child as handicapped and hence, not perfect. We must be more sensitive about the questions we ask around differently abled children. Instead, appreciate or compliment such mothers and children for the effort they put in." – Purvi Thekdi Shah, 31, Bengaluru

7. Let kids be themselves.

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"I wish that parents knew that you have to let children be right from the early days, make mistakes, and learn, rather than doing everything for them and protecting them way too much. Let them fall, let them play in the mud, let them make a mess and clean it up too." – Parvathy Pothan, 28, Bengaluru

8. The first seven years are the make-or-break period, really.

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"The first seven years of a child can make or break the person. Be very careful how you treat your child during these years since it has significant psychological consequences throughout the child's life. They are the most important years of a person's life." – Veena Jayaram, 34, Mumbai

9. Allow your child to feel hungry before feeding them.

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"I should have known to wait for the baby to feel hungry and not go by the clock. I should have been told that it is OK if the baby does not eat as long as the baby is active and energised. I don't have to fret and fume and it would be a wise thing to feed oneself first and then the baby. This would have helped me control my own irritation and impatience." – Girija Nair, 43, Belgium

10. There will be a looootttt of unsolicited advice.

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"There is bound to be a lot of unwanted, unsolicited advice. There will be comments that the baby is too thin or that you shouldn't have gotten back to work so soon. Listen, smile, nod your head, and IGNORE. As a mother you have an intuitive understanding of what is best for your child. Go with that." – Trupti Kulkarni, Bengaluru

11. Don't hesitate to ask for help.

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"Don't hesitate to ask for help. Get help from your mom or husband. Hire help to cook and clean. We are moms, not superwomen, so no need to try to do everything. It's OK to make mistakes. It's a part of the learning process." – Gopa Chakrabarti

12. Make time for yourself. You deserve it.

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"I should have set aside more 'me' time and that's my advice to all new moms as well. Yes, it's awesome that you created this new life and you are a superhero for that. But, don't feel guilty about taking a couple of hours off to hit a spa or a gym. Superheroes need pedicures too, and sometimes more than others." – Amrita Mukherjee, Mumbai

In the lead-up to Mother's Day, join us in celebrating our moms all week. Because our ammas, ammis, mammas, and mums deserve way more than just a day. #MaaWeek

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