There are so many instances in life where we venture out blindly hoping that we make it through. A new job, buying a new car, getting married, buying a house…the list goes on. Sure, we do our research, but theory and reviews can not prepare you physically and emotionally for all you are about to encounter. The same is most definitely true when you have a baby!
I wanted to write this post before it became too much of a distant memory. It’s so crazy how time moves so quickly and babies change so frequently. One phase is soon forgotten as the next challenge begins. There are so many books out there on parenting and you could have read every single one of them, but I guarantee that not one will fully prepare you for the unknown adventure of being a parent.
With both of my daughters we started life with a minimum of 10 days in hospital being cared for 24/7. And it wasn’t just any old care, it was expertise. There were midwives, nurses, and doctors on call at the flick of a switch. I remember my first night in hospital with Poppi and I just couldn’t get her to settle. A midwife kindly suggested I checked her nappy. Lo and behold, there was her first poo! All the things we may take for granted now are so new and daunting the first time they are experienced. Having Awena in the neonatal unit meant that her care was impeccable, but also incredibly routined. Her feeds and nappy changes were at certain times and she just got on with it.
Needless to say this absolutely went out the window when she arrived home. The three hourly feeds became on demand as she was so sleepy not having tube feeds to fall back on, she didn’t have enough at one feed and would soon be crying for the next. Those early days felt bleak and the nights and days all ran into one. The only difference was that one was light and the other dark. I couldn’t understand how a baby that was so chilled in the hospital could be so un-chilled at home.
Awena has a good set of lungs on her and she made this very clear. The guess work began. Is she hungry, tired, wants a cuddle, needs a nappy change, needs a burp, is unsure…who knows? I didn’t. In therapy, we talk about something called attunement. It is truly amazing how over time the mother does become more in-tune with the baby and its needs. And this seems to just happen. There is no one to teach you what your individual baby’s cry means. You learn that for yourself. There is no one to teach you how your individual baby likes to be held. You learn that for yourself. There is no one to teach you how it makes you feel when your baby cries. You learn that for yourself.
And these are just the baby days. But isn’t that what makes parenting exciting? Isn’t that what keeps us engaged in the process? We can’t just settle. We have to keep learning and our kids are the best teachers. So as we continue to head into the unknown let us not ignore their whispers but allow them to teach us to be the best parents we can be. Not an easy lesson to learn!