Being a parent is a magical thing, it really is, but bringing a child into the world, whether you are a mother or a father, is intense. We’re by no means experts on the subject, but here are some pointers that helped us manage the first few weeks of our babies:
Don't aim for perfection
We’ve seen the adverts, we know how this is supposed to work. We gaze adoringly down at our newborn as we breastfeed with ease in the comfort of an immaculate house with shining clean hair and beautiful clothes. But for some reason it wasn’t like that for us, or for many of the people we know. If you manage even one of these things you are miracle worker. So go gently, do what you can and give yourself a pat for every tiny achievement. Also remember: We can help with the clothes.
Put yourself first
Someone once said to us ‘Put your own oxygen mask on first’ and it’s only recently that we have realized the importance of this. If you don’t look after yourself then you won’t be able to look after anyone else, so see looking after yourself as a vital prescription that you have to take – it’s not selfish, it’s self preservation.
When your baby sleeps, sleep. Don’t use this precious time for cleaning, or doing washing, or anything else, use it for rest. You’re looking after a tiny human and that is hard work, so rest when you can. Everything else can and will wait.
Ask for help
We were adamant that we didn’t need any help with our babies. No, no I don’t need your delicious home cooked meals kind relative, I’m very happy to cry as I exhaustedly prepare something myself while trying to simultaneously feed my child. It’s daft really, not sure why we felt we had to prove we were Wonder Woman. Anyhoo, if you’re offered the help then it’s sensible to take it. Practical. The logical thing to do.
Spend time with people you love
Each day will bring a new wave of emotions, and the best way to handle them is by being with close friends and family. Reach out to the people who can read you best. Your mum will see you reaching for the coffee machine and pack you off to bed while she babysits. Your best friend will bring over your favourite food and hold baby while you tuck in. Take the help that’s offered and stay connected to your tribe.
Feel the wonder
In amongst all the poo and washing, give yourself the occasional moment to bask in the wonder of what you are doing. Whether you gave birth yourself, had a surrogate, adopted… However you came to be a parent, you are loving and raising a child and that is no mean feat. Every day is an achievement. You are doing a brilliant job.