I have been very ranty and giving out a lot of late and have been told I am too self- deprecating (!) . So here we go, something I learned to be very good at.
I enjoyed the newborn stage with all my children. With my first child it was a mix of awe, panic, sleep deprivation and wonder. With my second it was just as wondrous but we worried way too much about making sure the first-born wasn’t excluded . When my third was born, I was fully relaxed and I enjoyed that time even though it was chaotic with three children under four but I know with all three of them I put unrealistic expectations on myself and I got stressed or worried about things that I really shouldn’t have. Then came the new one who is now four months old and finally I mastered the fourth trimester.
Granted I had some luck on my side, her birth was awesome and I think as a result of that everything in the first couple of weeks just fell into place. The high after she was born lasted a lot longer this time, every day, I wondered would the bad crash and all the hormonal tears arrive but they never did, life was easy. I had no physical side affects, no physical recovery and feeding was completely problem free and remains to be. Luck has definitely been with me this time as well as experience.
I don’t think she knew she had been born for the first ten or so days of her life. We took a lot of baths together and she would curl up in the bath with my hand under her head and sleep, every so often moving her hands and legs around slowly. She looked like how I imagine babies look like in the womb. She slept a lot the first ten days, I watched her sleep some of the time and I slept some of the time. Her brother and sisters held her tiny hands and she was kissed a lot.
Real life resumed but for the first time I said yes to absolutely everything that was offered. People brought food, friends and family helped out with the school runs. Some days I got dressed and went out because I wanted to, some days I had to. Other days I got back into bed with her. I done what I wanted most of the time. When my other children were born, I turned down a lot of offer of help, stupidly. I think I thought I had some point to prove, that I could manage or something ridiculous. I could manage this time too but jesus help is brilliant, I said yes to everything that allowed me more time to sit on the couch with the baby or lie on the couch with the baby or sit and eat all the food with the baby on my lap. I didn’t quite conquer the whole sleep when your baby sleeps but I definitely conquered watch box sets when your baby sleeps and eat more food when your baby sleeps.
I also learned to just say no this time to things I couldn’t go to. I remember having a complete meltdown in my bedroom a couple of weeks after one of my babies was born. Trying to express, trying to find something to wear, trying not to cry because actually I didn’t want to attend a party I had said I would go to. I have learned that friends will understand if you just say no I can’t make it. No excuses just no and that has made things easier.
I also learned ,out of necessity, that I can just leave the house with the baby and a nappy and a muslin. We have hardly used the pram yet at all this time, we just carry her everywhere. She is tiny. This is fine.
The husband looked after me a lot. He came home from work and cleaned and cooked and done everything. I think our maternity leave is ok in Ireland of course it could be better but its ok but we really need paid paternity leave. Someone needs to fix this. The husband didn’t get enough time to sit and just look at the baby like I did.
Just everything this time has been stress free and easy and really just lovely. The only difficult part was naming her ( she had four different names and was six weeks old before a final one was decided upon, I am not proud of this) Some of this comes from me being older and having more confidence in myself and a lot of it comes from experience. I am a little sad though that it took me four goes to fully get this stage right. I am loath to give parenting advice because I vary from good to average to pretty damn poor at parenting depending on the day but I do wish I could go back and tell the me of 8, 6 and 4 years ago how to enjoy the newborn stage fully because its goes so fast.
I would tell myself to forget about other people expectations and advice, I would tell myself to lie to strangers when they ask is it your first baby and to say its my fourth. When you tell people its your fourth baby, they don’t give the advice so much, its deadly. I would tell myself to just sit and look at the baby, count her eyelashes, hold her tiny fingers, have more baths with her, say yes if people want to feed you, say no if you don’t want to go somewhere, don’t stress and worry about what;s going to happen after maternity leave because it wont change any circumstance, don’t be the only one to watch out for pnd and know if happens it can be fixed and just be still and be kind to yourself.
In some cultures it is common for the new mother to have a period of time after giving birth to heal and rest and do nothing. Mothers or mothers in-law move in with the new mother to help her with her baby and ensure she gets to rest. Now, I love my mother and mother in law greatly but we would kill each other if we had to live with each other but I love the idea of the new mother having to do as little as possible. I am going to make a much bigger effort in future to offer to help anyone I know who has a baby, I think everyone should do that more. Just drop in food or offer to help with a school run or buy them something just for them. I am very grateful to everyone who done this for me this time and I am so grateful for my beautiful, perfect baby. I am very fortunate. Bring on the next stage, my last newborn experience rocked.
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