This is a selfish post. I am writing this for myself so that in a few weeks time when I am learning to manage being a mum to my 2 big girls and to my new baby who will have joined us, that I can regain my perspective and reason. I have found that when parenting, it is really, really easy to get stuck in the moment. I know that a lot of weight is given to the positive benefits of living in the moment, but in parenting, there are times when we need to get out of the moment and take the 10,000 metre view, so that we can see where we’re going.
etc, etc, etc, we actually need to really, really know that this too will pass. Getting too caught up in the issue of the moment can push unhelpful buttons. We can too easily feel irked, irritable, helpless and angry.
When my eldest daughter was a newborn, she woke to feed every 1-3 hours and would feed for 60-90 minutes. During this time, I lived and experienced the true nature of relentless-ness. I thought this phase was what parenting was. I can even remember thinking that if I could reset the clock to pre-child, not remembering having had her and therefore not missing her, that I would do it. I was existing in a very reactive, in the moment phase, and I thought I was stuck in it forever. I was resentful of my husband who could still sleep relatively undisturbed and I was exhausted.
And then the sun came out. My baby moved onto the next phase. She slept and ate well, I began to sleep, we started to go out more, I could plan further than the next feed and I slowly began to be able to function as a mum and as a person. I discovered talk radio and audio books, so that I had company during the night-feeds, I made new mum friends or met with old friends also on maternity leave, I built a schedule of activities that we attended and I started going to the gym and doing driving lessons again. The first 6 weeks was just a phase, as are all of the ages and stages of childhood and parenting. This too always does pass!
And as I look back to that early first few months as a mum, I can see how warm and cocooned it was as well as being relentless. I can see how my world shrank for just a little while. And this will happen again this time too, but I still have all of the experience and all of the strategies I learnt before. My cocoon will be less cosy and my world will shrink much less this time, because the school-run still exists twice a day, my girls will still expect 3 meals a day and I know people and places to go with my new baby now. And I know that this too will pass, and just knowing that will make me appreciate the newborn phase whilst I’m in it, for I won’t be in it for long.
And so I will nurture, love and enjoy my tiny baby. He or she who still folds into the foetal position even when perched on my shoulder, who makes newborn mewl sound when he or she needs something, and who gets me up for night-time feeds and snuggles through the dark hours and will no doubt sleep like a baby through the daytime! He or she who wears terry-towelling sleep-suits and knitted cardigans, who has the softest little head in the world and the newborn baby smell. He or she who I will inexplicably wake moments before because we’re somehow still linked biologically although we’re now becoming separate beings, who I will have the joy of sharing with my loving husband; my excited, loving girls; my ever supportive and present mum and all of the family and friends I am lucky enough to be surrounded by. He or she who will look so tiny when their daddy holds them and even when her sisters place their hands near beside them.
So this is a message to me. As I sit here, 39 weeks pregnant with one more week to go before I meet our new baby, I have the perspective that sleep deprivation and change may rob me of when the baby is born. So I want to remind myself that this too will pass, that I will learn to manage all that is coming my way and that there will be good and bad moments but they will all pass. I want to remind myself to take the 10,000 metre view, and remember that moment by moment I am in the business of raising a child. Somehow, my other two babies grew and developed and have become a five and a seven year old. Not in the blink of an eye, but then I wouldn’t have wanted that. Because I have loved watching them learn, grow and become. And I cannot wait to meet this new little person and see who they will become before my very eyes. The adventure is just about to enter a new phase, because it always does.