A is for Arrival – Welcome to Parenthood!
Welcome to Parenthood!
Okay, I didn’t really expect a banner saying that when the Daredevil was born. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect about life with a newborn.
I prepared for pregnancy in as much as I read about the fruit the baby was the size of that week, and what to expect regarding my symptoms and baby’s development. I attended a couple of aqua natal classes, but I was too tired with working full-time and being pregnant.
And too hungry. Classes were right after work, and I couldn’t cope with the hunger.
I chose the ‘finger in the ears la la la’ method of preparation for the birth of my first. It was going to happen whether I knew anything about birth or not. The Runner and I attended the NHS four week antenatal classes, and I felt prepared with my pain management choices and everything that could go wrong.
I was lucky that no one amused themselves by telling me their birth stories where everything went wrong and they were in agony. Instead, I had lovely people, like my mom, who talked about birth as if the baby just pops out. I really hoped that would happen to me.
I did manage to attend a breastfeeding workshop at the end of my first week of maternity leave. I went into labour the next evening.
The Daredevil decided he was coming out ten days early.
Me, You and Baby
In all of the nine months, not once did I think about what it would be like to care for a baby.
Not once did I read a book about what I should do. Maybe it’s because I support parents with their parenting nearly every day at work.
I know all about parenting. I’m trained in three different parenting programs for goodness sake.
It wasn’t until The Runner and I brought home newborn Daredevil from the hospital, and we sat in the living room staring at the sleeping baby in the car seat that the penny dropped. We looked at each other and both thought ‘Oh. My. God. We know nothing about babies!’
And that I think is when my ‘Welcome to Parenthood’ banner appeared. It was at that point I think I truly became a parent.
The Runner and I spent a lot of time looking at each other, the silence of the flat after the noise and lights of the hospital was strangely deafening. We eventually decided if the wee guy was sleeping, so should we.
The next three days were a breeze. Apart from the agony of breastfeeding. I mean, crying every night because the pain was unbearable and the Daredevil fed for over an hour with just 45 minutes in the day, a few more hours ‘break’ at night.
And then ‘colic’ set in when newborn Daredevil was about ten days. It turns out it was food allergies and silent reflux, but let’s save that for another post.
Life was a whirlwind of sleep deprivation, breastfeeding agony, constant crying (newborn daredevil mainly, but sometimes me), and holding newborn Daredevil. He refused to be put down, like, ever.
I took pictures like this because it was such a novelty. The beautiful, peaceful baby look lasted all of ten minutes. Maybe twenty when we were lucky.
It was in the midst of this whirlwind where I wished someone had told me the truth about babies.
Mums are happy to tell you all about their births, but not what being parent is actually like. Why is that?
The Little Scientist was a totally different story. One I’ll share another time because I was a second-time mum then. Oh, what a different story it is. The baby bit was similar, but my reaction to life with a newborn was different.
I wonder if that has something to do with why we don’t talk about the realities of parenting? Especially newborns.
Everyone has a different bith experience, and a differnt knowledge base about babies, and all babies are different. But think about how differently we would feel if we were prepared for all that newborns have to throw at us?
I’m going to sign off now and give my big sleeping Daredevil a kiss to say thanks for making me a mum. Till next time!
What was your experience of being a first-time parent? What do you wish you’d known then? Post in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!
Expecting a baby and want to know what to expect once the baby is earth side? BabyCalm ‘Antenatal Workshop‘ and ‘Preparing to Parent Course’ can support you in the early days.
If you’ve had your baby, then the ‘Fourth Trimester Workshop‘ would be super helpful.