No one told us it would be like this! Misled, not warned, kept in the dark, let down.Why did no one let us in on the secret of just how tough the first weeks are with a new baby?
A quest then to right the wrong, but not overwhelm or terrify the soon to be newbie parent. How to make becoming a parent sound appealing without over indulging in a portrayal of early days parenthood as a candy floss haze when in reality it can feel like being caught in the eye of the storm.
Here is the road untravelled. Fear of not knowing if things will get better, how long, when, why, how and what to do. It is a new and foreign land of questions without clear answers. And from the moment that beautiful little being comes into your world, you just have to keep peddling in your new role, no stopping by the side of the road to sit on a bench, take a breath and enjoy the scenery, before you travel onward, just keep going hoping you are making the right choices, uphill without any idea of how to use your gears. Hell not even a moment to refuel!
But don’t be confused, this is not a speed cycle race, this is a slow long distance event, take it slow pace yourself, get to know the terrain. Ask questions on your journey, use others knowledge to help you understand the landscape, but be cautious make sure you take your chosen route. Trust your instincts, if it feels right it probably is. Getting lost is part of the fun, there are no mistakes just diversions.
Night time becomes another world as a new parent. Babies are primed to wake regularly as their in built’ cave man’ body clock tells them it is safer to wake and let mummy and daddy know they are still here, just in case they forget. But, night time as a new parent feels like being left alone to find your way in the deepest, darkest wood. Your senses are heightened to every noise and murmur, you whisper your fears to each other, hoping you will take the right path and that morning will come. Don’t worry like all woodland creatures gradually you will develop night sight! You will find your own little routine and know the different calls from your baby.
Breastfeeding the biggest skill you will probably learn after writing and learning to drive. ‘Cluster feeding why didn’t anyone talk about cluster feeding or growth spurts whilst we were pregnant?’ Would you have heard them if they did? The most important message anyone can share with a soon to be parent is not to sit at home alone finding breastfeeding hard, ASK FOR HELP! It may not be the magic wand but it may help shed a little light, help understand why it is normal. Babies do so much growing in their first year, if an adult were to take on similar amount of calories we would be drinking about 9 litres of milk per day. Its hard thats normal shout the HELP word!
And then after a few weeks when the euphoria has subsided, the sleep fog wraps itself around your head like a thick bandage that dulls the senses. When people visit, too much noise overwhelms you and the twittering of friends without babies makes you lust for friendships that have shifted and that presently don’t understand what it is to have little or no sleep (no it is not like a night out clubbing and a hangover!) a sore front bottom and bruising and nipples dripping milk. And bam there it is………………..Will you tell them? Will you tell them every day that they are pregnant, full of excitement about the candy floss world they are headed to. Will it help them to know? Will what you are going through be the same? Will they even hear you? No because that is how the human race carries on.
For the bump on board brigade focus is on birth, just get there safely and cross to the other side. Surely that is the hardest bit right? The hours surrounding birth, the window that passes and brings you into the light is your priority pregnancy focus. Truth is birth thrown into the bigger picture, is done in the blink of an eye, it is the blow of the whistle to start the game!
So not to overwhelm was the quest. So if the early days starts with the whistle, suddenly before you know it the whistle blows again and you can sit back and think wow that was a tough game but we are through but you still need to train every day as there will be more games to follow.
Looking back at how far you have come and what you have learnt as a team, might be one of your strongest tools. Stop a moment think of all the hoops you have jumped, how to do nappies, poppers on baby gros, knowing that funny bird noise is just what they do, where you both fit in your new team and then suddenly without warning……….the SMILE!
The smile that melts your heart and makes it all worth it, just when you were ready to throw in the towel. Then the smiles turn into chuckles and the chuckles into rolling over and before you know it the dawn has risen and you didn’t even know it had been night time (other than the four times you rose from your bed.)
And then the fantastic news, your friend, your sister, your brother, tells you they are pregnant, so exciting! And so the cycle begins. Shall we tell them, will it help them, will they hear it? You know what, I think they will find their way, we’ll just wait.
And so a baby arrives and the battle cry ‘No one told us it would be like this!’ I know Welcome to the club.