When I told everyone I was expecting my first baby they all said ‘it’ll be the hardest, but most rewarding thing you’ll ever do in your life’…little did they know what was to come.
I’d smile, hold back the sickness that a green apple (because for some reason my growing child only accepted red apples) was about to bring, and think that there couldn’t be anything harder than dealing with all the symptoms of pregnancy. My clothes didn’t fit me anymore, I was constantly tired but couldn’t sleep and the heartburn was indescribable – and my daily life went on. How naïve.
However, I now find myself muddling through parenthood, basically making it up as I go along, whilst the world around me is in chaos with a pandemic virus upon us.
So with all the free time that cancelled baby groups and activities can afford me I am going to write a series of blogs about my journey into parenthood and the crazy world we live in.
Whilst we now find ourselves in a strange situation where we no longer see or interact with others as we used to, I have been reflecting on all those visitors and the face to face support we had just weeks ago as new parents.
There are many lessons to be learned when you become a new parent. The very first being that you should always accept help.
In the months leading up to the birth we were possibly a tad over confident and politely thanked those who offered help, without really thinking we’d take them up on their offer.
Our family and friends were all absolutely overjoyed when they heard that we were expecting and as the months went on, the excitement ramped up. We knew they would all want to meet him as soon as possible and kind of worried about being inundated with visitors and the stress hosting can bring – however, it turned out to be the best thing ever.
It was my husband who phoned round the family to tell them that our son had just been born. We decided against letting people know that I was in labour to stop people worrying, travelling too early and because we really didn’t know what was happening (see previous blog.) Within 16 hours though – which included a night’s sleep, a four hour drive and hospital visiting hours – my parents were holding their new grandson.
I was discharged from hospital within 24 hours of the birth and therefore my husband and I travelled home with the newest member of our family without having had any real sleep in the past three days. What followed was a whole night of crying and trying to keep each other awake so we could attempt to settle our son (who, to be fair, had already had quite a traumatic 24 hours himself.) All it took was a quick message to the family WhatsApp at 5.30 am stating we had been up all night and my parents arrived at our front door within half an hour. They swiftly took their grandson (and their grandcat) and sent us off to bed for a few hours. They could have had superhero capes on.
Thankfully we have not had another night like that since.
In the following days and weeks all those people who had been so excited to meet the baby, also made sure to take care of us parents too. Those who came offered to pick up shopping for us, make tea and coffee for us and even in some cases brought us hot meals.
HOT MEALS. There is nothing better for new parents than cooking for them, or bringing them takeaways or food shopping, and I will forever be grateful to those who did that for us and will endeavour to return the favour to anyone I know who has just had a baby. We ate a lot of lasagne and pasta in the weeks post birth.
In those early days it can feel like you are on a merry-go-round that will never stop. There is a continuous cycle of washing, sterilising, changing nappies, expressing milk (will come to that on a future post), holding, feeding, washing, sterilising…etc, etc. Remembering to feed yourself is the very last thing in your mind.
However, only five weeks on and we are in a much better place and have even occasionally sat and had dinner at the same time without interruption. If it wasn’t for that earlier support and help, we’d never be in this position.
You learn how to create less washing (leave nothing lying within a metre of the changing mat for a start – little boys can wee a fair distance!) You also streamline your feeding routine and get to know your little human and what they want, when. For those of you a few months behind us – accept help and it will get easier!
It shouldn’t take a nationwide lockdown to show us how important social interaction is and how often we support each other without realising, but it has. It is something we have all taken for granted. So whilst we are all staying at home, drop those you would have seen regularly a message and ask them how they are – you might just make their day.