I couldn’t breastfeed because…
I had to have a c section because…
I let her do that because…
I decided to do it that way because…
As a parent, I quite often find myself explaining my decisions or circumstances to others. Sometimes unprompted too. So why is that? I think it’s because I’m used to questions and judgement. Sometimes direct and pointed, and other times perhaps merely perceived.
I was at the doctors for my sick baby with my toddler in tow, her hand in a cast. She had undergone surgery on her finger the day before, going under general anaesthetic. It had been an exhausting 48 hours for all of us and the baby was totally congested with conjunctivitis. I had barely slept, likely hadn’t had a shower or any breakfast. I had scored an appointment with 10 minutes notice so had to wake the sleeping children and get them dressed in record time and bundle them into the car. We made it. A few minutes late but we made it. The baby was checked and then I had a question for the nurse about Jessica’s cast. I was on auto pilot so it was a bit surreal as I uttered the following words: who is best for me to talk to about post natal depression?
“What do you want?” This is something I’ve found myself uttering to my baby at all times of the day and night. It comes off a bit harsh, so I try again: “I don’t know what you want” or “Mummy doesn’t know what you want”. Because I don’t. I have no confidence and find myself feeding him every 2 hours during the day because I have nothing else in my toolkit. Sometimes I correctly guess that he’s tired. And so to give him the relief of sleep, I need to feed him and rock him to sleep. Oh and he needs to be on me and have his dummy. Often though he’s overtired. Poor little guy. Sometimes it’s fine. I have nowhere to be and nothing I (really) need to do. But now at 12 weeks, the ideas of things I could be doing are piling up in the ‘yeah but you can’t’ pile.
Nothing in life has prepared me for this.
I’ve gotten this far in life using strategies, problem solving skills and resilience to deal with all sorts of situations.
I usually figure something out through trial and error, or learning by researching beforehand or watching someone else do it first.
At work, I communicate and collaborate with others and apply my knowledge and experience to come up with the best outcome. I use best practice where applicable.
But motherhood, this is different. Continue reading
I started Learning To Crawl was because I was trying to figure out becoming a parent for the first time. I learned heaps along the way, but that’s not to say I’ve got this sussed! I’m still learning all about myself, my daughter and my partner. As any parent of young children will tell you, shit changes all the time. You get one thing sorted and the next challenge pops up. With lots of heartwarming stuff in between. In April next year we’ll throw a newborn into the mix. So here’s what I’ll do differently this time…
I didn’t think we’d get to go away this summer. Jessica has been unwell with her viral wheeze. Since leaving the hospital a couple of months ago, she’s been waking up wheezing and requiring the spacer 2-3 times a week and waking up in general every other night. I have friends who were kind enough to consider us when booking accommodation for two nights (an extra room just for Jessica). Continue reading
Becoming a parent has brought many new experiences: childbirth, early mornings, unconditional love and singing the same song 12 times in a row without the aid of alcohol. One of these new experiences is the previously hidden (and overwhelming) community of people who have opinions about how you raise your kid. I’m slowly growing a thick skin to it, but boy did it blindside me when I was starting out. I’ve written before about pre-baby Steph and how naïve she was. But this is different. It’s all very personal. Continue reading
A new colleague asked me the other day to tell them a bit about myself, and for the first time in my life I was at a bit of a loss. I shared about how I’m a mum to a 13 month old and talked about our little family. And that was it. I mean, that’s heaps and it’s wonderful but it’s also very different to before. Prior to becoming a mum I had hobbies and interests that I could quickly and enthusiastically identify. Not any more. I get the impression I’m not alone in feeling this way. We become parents and lose ourselves in the magic, privilege and responsibility and all the trappings it brings.
It’s different to what you imagine
Put most of your preconceived ideas about what parenthood is like aside. Reality will hit like nothing you’ve ever experienced!
OK, not to scare anyone, but holy shit! How do families all over town, the country, the world do this on a day-to-day basis?! I found the first six months particularly challenging. I think there needs to be a huge celebration at that point – because if you can get through that, you can get through anything!! Continue reading