Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Surviving the first stages of parenthood

It doesn't matter what you read, who you talk to or how many classes you attend, nothing can truly prepare you for the rollercoaster ride you embark on as a new parent.

I'm only 9-months in but have soared, dipped and loop-the-looped more times than I can count. I've been so joyful I've cried, I've been so exhausted I've wept, I've been so amused I've thrown my head back and laughed so hard my neighbours heard. It has been fun, crazy, rewarding, amazing. And as I near the end of my first year as a mum, I've been thinking about the stages I've survived thus far...

I was thinking: I know I'd be feeling euphoric if I wasn't so tired and overwhelmed, so I better plaster a smile on my face so everyone knows I'm happy. Is that gorgeous little bundle really mine?
I was saying (to the midwives): "What do you mean 'sleep'? How can I when he could stop breathing at any moment?! Are you really going to let me go home with him all by myself, with no midwives to help with feeding in the middle of the night?!"
Survival tip: Learn, love, don't be too hard on yourself and sleep when the baby sleeps. Yep, that old chestnut. I decided I needed to clean, bake cookies and paint my nails when the baby was sleeping, but next time around I'll be favouring the pillow over housewife duties.

Me 200,000 hours old, my baby 1 hour old

Stage 2 - LOOK AT ME!
I was thinking: It's getting easier, and I'm actually doing this! I still have time for showers, cooking, cleaning and book reading in between the feeds and nappy changing - am I missing something?!
I was saying (to everyone via Facebook, 20 times a day): "Look at me, breastfeeding like a pro in public and coordinating my nail polish with the pram to walk my baby round the block. And look at my baby, sleeping through the night at such a young age and reaching all his milestones early."
Survival tip: DON'T. No one likes a show off and now you've attracted an audience to watch while you do a plunging looping corkscrew!

At the races, as you do when you have a 3-month-old and you're in Stage 2

I was thinking: OK, so I've had the occasional weekend where I barely slept but I've never neglected myself this badly. Just a couple of hours sleep a day in however many days is really starting to catch up to me.
I was saying (to my husband): "Why can't you do the breastfeeding?" "I don't know how much longer I can do this for" "I just need some me time".
Survival tip: Thankfully this stage went quickly for me, and just when you think you're going to fall asleep standing up, the baby gods smile down upon you and allow you a full nights rest. You'll wake up with dewy skin, clear eyes, no headache and feel like you could conquer the world.

No more weekend sleep-ins

I was thinking: Finally! This is what I had imagined motherhood to be like. The chubby hand reaching up to touch my face, his big blue eyes looking trustingly into mine, the little games he plays with his toys, the uncontrollable giggling. Oh the giggling. The days of picnic playdates and lunch by the beach with my little boy stretch endlessly in front of me. Bliss!
I was saying (to my friends): "Isn't the world amazing, aren't children so precious, don't you just love motherhood!" "When and where shall we meet up?" (I started Latte Mum in this stage, can you tell?!)
Survival tip: Enjoy every moment.

This moment is perfect

Stage 5 -  HEAD SPIN
I am thinking: Whoa, where did my newborn baby go? I've woken up to a toddler standing in the cot, with a mouth full of chompers, a head of hair and a cheeky personality. He's even discovered likes and dislikes, and, his voice.
I am saying (to the bambino): "Be careful with that" "yes, mama and dada" "good boy!" "nooooo, give that to mummy" "what are you getting into over there?" "weeeeeee weeeeeee weeeeeee!"
Survival tip: Please, tell me!

My cheeky little boy (on the right) with his mate Harrison
Stage 6 - to be discovered, and I just can't wait to see what's round the corner!


  1. Loved reading this - it made my day! I'm so glad that everything is going well for you. I think that your tip a few weeks back - about how we should first of all sit down for 'me' time while the little one is asleep rather than doing chores immediately - has been a winner of a survival tip :)
    I have to say that I'm glad that today you didn't mention your new fear of your own mortality; this is something I've discovered recently too, and I'm trying to block it out!! :)

    1. Hi honey - so glad some of my ramblings are making sense and proving useful! The fear of dying is such a funny one for me, some days I'm like "oh, I get it - I'm just supposed to try and be a good person, be around people I love (and that love me too) and do the things I enjoy" other days I just can't stop lamenting about how short life is. The good news is, this crazy journey we're on has more ups than downs and you'll be going upwards again before you know it. Hope all is well with you and the little one! xox

  2. A lovely read Mel, so honest and heartfelt.x


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