It’s hard to believe, but eight years ago, I was a brand new parent and I had a brand new newborn. So much has happened since then, we have gone through so many life changes and she has grown so much, but I still vividly remember the day we took her home after two days of her being in special care, which was eight years ago today.
I remember feeling that total overwhelming sense of love, and a realisation that the universe had somehow shifted. I also remember that feeling of “Oh c**p – what the hell do we do with this tiny thing now!!. I remember how clueless we felt as parents and how we thought we would never know what our baby wanted or needed, but somehow we quickly found out feet and she taught us to respond to her needs.
I get to relive that feeling regularly with the clients who come through my antenatal classes. I always say to them, that even if they go on to be parents again, there really is nothing like the first time you are a new parent, and that overwhelming sense of love, amazement, awe and responsibility coupled with complete and utter exhaustion and feeling like your body has run a marathon and can’t go any further.
In those early weeks, it is really common to not be sure of what your baby needs, and worry whether they are eating and drinking enough, sleeping enough, warm enough, cold enough, happy enough… the list goes on!
All I can suggest you do is trust your instincts in those early weeks and listen to your baby. They know what they need. They will tell you if they are too hot or too cold by crying or turning blue/red!! They will also let you know when they are hungry with their feeding cues, and communicate when they are tired too by rubbing their eyes or giving a low moan. Be kind to yourselves and realise that it is an adjustment for all of you – but you will get there… everyone does, even if it’s at different times to others going through the same thing.
Now eight years on, we face a completely different set of challenges each week, and this has changed as our baby has grown, and with each new challenge we are learning together as a family, and finding our way together as a family. Sometimes it’s about the journey not about the destination, and we are having so much fun in our journey as parents. Admittedly there are highs and lows – but that’s all part and parcel of parenthood right!