Hey new parents,
How are you doing?
I don’t know if you’ve had a baby, been through an adoption process, surrogacy or another way but I do know you’ve waited a while to have your own baby in your arms. I know you’ve dreamed of what that moment would be like – half scared and half excited but either way you would have had many dreams about it.
You would have prepared yourself for being tired – maybe comparing it to working night shifts or having very little sleep after a night out but I don’t think anything can prepare you for this can it? I know I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t ready at all!
When Emma arrived I thought I understood how tired and emotional I was going to be. I was wrong – I didn’t understand that the tiredness wasn’t just about lack of sleep but its also about lack of rest, lack of time to switch off, lack of time to do anything but take care of your little one and a total and complete state of exhaustion. Mother Nature is cruel at times and this is one of them – she doesn’t let you sleep when you are pregnant or waiting for your little one to arrive and then when the baby is finally here you aren’t able to sleep then either!
But I’m here to say its ok. It does get better. If your little one is anything like mine she might not ever sleep properly and you’ll adapt to that – suddenly four or five hours straight sleep a night will become a good night or if you are really lucky you might get one that doesn’t have a faulty sleep programme and you’ll get to normal sleep again.
It does happen though I promise.
It’s ok to feel overwhelmed, it’s ok to cry and it’s ok at times to feel cross. In fact its normal to get cross – why wouldn’t you? If anyone else screamed at you for 6 straight hours you’d be pretty cross so why should it be different now you are a parent?
It’s ok to just want to walk away, in fact its sometimes the best thing to do. If you have a choice between shouting at your baby or putting them in a safe place (cot, moses basket or on the floor) walking away and leaving them to shout for a few minutes while you get some space then always chose the walking away option. Ask any parent and they will tell you they have done it and some of them will tell you in hushed tones like its something naughty or they are bad. They are not bad, I am not bad and you are not bad – you are just human and don’t like being screamed at.
It is not normal to act on these feelings of anger. If you feel you cannot walk away then call someone for help – your partner, your health visitor, your friend or your neighbours. Anyone but please please please ask for help. No one will judge you and you will get the support you need but first you must ask for help.
But the thing to remember is that this is it. Every moment is a first and a last moment that baby will have. You get these precious moments just once with your little one – yes the 2am wake up’s will happen often but each one will be slightly different. Somewhere in those moments there will be a time when your baby looks at you with total trust and that’s the moment to treasure.
Remember the moment when your little one smiles for the first time, remember the moment you figure out how to make your baby laugh and remember the following 6 hours when your try to make them do it again. Remember those first moments of trying to crawl or those first words / noises – there is a big likelyhood you won’t be able to forget the first words actually as they will be repeated over and over again for the next few months! Remember when they say Mummy or Daddy for the first time.
It does get easier, it does get better and at some point you’ll either forget these first few difficult months, remember them fondly in a rose tinted haze or remember them all to clearly but be so proud of yourself for getting through them.
Welcome to the club and take a moment to give yourself a mighty pat on the back for making it this far and reward yourself with a nice hot cup of tea.