Where to begin? What a wild ride. I’m not the the craziest or most adventurous person I know, but having a child is more insane than anything else I’ve ever experienced.
We brought Keira home from the hospital feeling pretty confident after spending 2 nights under the watchful eyes of amazing midwives. Little did we know what we were in for over the next 2 weeks.
The fact that it has even been 2 weeks is astounding. We have learned what no parenting book can ever rightfully describe and done so with minimal sleep and questionable nutrition. And yet it’s so simple. Little humans need to eat, sleep, poop, repeat. And that’s it. But how should they sleep? How much food is too much, is there such a thing as too much? What if I’m not able to nurse? Will formula do irreparable harm leaving her with severe learning disabilities for the rest of her life? That is a joke – I know the answer to that one and am not judging any parent. How could I? We are all just flying by the seat of our pants.
The truth for us is that those first couple of days you question why you gave up your peaceful, easy life. They are hard. And then you look at this beautiful, little person and know exactly why you gave up your old life. We are still having moments like that, but they are much fewer with more space in between.
Keira decided that she didn’t want to sleep on her own and still doesn’t want to. The image in my head is her sleeping in our bed at the age of 5, while every sleep expert we hire at the cost of hundreds of dollars/pounds per hour berates us for just not doing “X” (insert rocking, proper night time routine, proper sleeping attire, proper crib, not crying it out, letting her cry it out leading to attachment issues and on and on). The good news would be that we could stay in our 1 bedroom flat, which has slowly been converted to a giant nappy changing station combined with drop zones for strollers, laundry, clothes, and the Amazon boxes that keep arriving daily as we find another trick that will get her to eat, sleep or poop more efficiently and effectively. In order for her to sleep, we have to hold her and she knows the instant we put her down that we have abandoned her. I’m sure this will change, but when you’re going through it, it feels like this is forever. We are grateful that she sleeps because I know that is not every new parents experience. And her kitten noises, snores and other gurgles are unbelievably adorable. Don’t get me started on the dreaded hiccups though that arise just as we are trying to feed or she’s just fallen asleep.
Feeding takes up most of the waking hours, but the feeling of being able to feed our little girl was one of my greatest accomplishments. It’s not as easy as what our pre-natal classes taught us and when you finally turn the corner, you feel like you’ve climbed Mount Everest or figured out how they get the caramel inside a Cadbury creme egg. I can’t wait for the moment where she’s more efficient and I feel more comfortable leaving the house to feed.
It’s interesting the things that feel like major milestones. Leaving the house has become a test. How long can we stay out for, where are we comfortable going, will she be relaxed, what do we take her out in (sling, stroller, bunny snowsuit)? Our first venture out was to take our laundry to dry down the street on Day 7. Never have I been so excited to do laundry.
What we’ve learned is that all the work and stuff to figure out is worth it because she is absolutely the cutest, sweetest little thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. The unknown and self doubt can be crippling. The tears are always lurking just behind – both tears of frustration and elation. And the joy is like nothing you could ever experience. Just like anything else in life – we get to choose how we experience this time. Phil and I have chosen to be so grateful to have a healthy, adorable little girl, because really nothing else matters. And all the advice that just creates worries that we’re doing something wrong, can quite honestly just be shoved. There is no right way. The only thing she needs is love and she is getting loads of that.