Before I had children, I was a nanny and a midwife, I had even done prenatal classes while I was pregnant, so I could feel like a real first time mum. So what was there that could surprise or stump me when it came to my own children? Lots! It turns out. Nothing! No amount of training or caring for other people’s children can possibly prepare you for your own beautiful, joyful, complete chaos.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was better prepared for this life changing forever shift than most people, but there are still a number of things I could not have known or prepared for…even if you HAD told me.
I know everyone harps on about it all the time, but seriously, until you have experienced the severe, ongoing, continual sleep deprivation of children you cannot be prepared for it. Even when you think it has finished, it is simply a ruse to lull you into a false sense of security before it all starts again.
It does not matter how many you have changed in your life, your own children are designed specifically to challenge you. While your kids nappies don’t smell as bad as other kids, it often is where it ends up that is where the challenge lies. I will never forget the night I got up to feed my eldest in the middle of the night. I naively placed him on the doona to “quickly” change him. He promptly vomited over his shoulder (off the towel directly on the doona), weed on his face (and all of his clothes, including the new nappy) and projectile pooed on the wall behind me.
You can’t tell me males cannot multitask!
Time moves differently when you have children, as in you feel you have done a lot in a short amount of time when in fact you have achieved very little in a very long space of time. Its frustrating and confusing for at least the first 6 months. After the first child, your expectations simply diminish, regarding what you will be able to achieve and you leave a lot more time for simple tasks associated with your children.
You become just a little bit obsessed with how your child goes to sleep, how often they sleep, when they wake up, how they wake up and how often they are up of a night time. I read every book and tried every method to encourage sleep, to sleep the “right” way, to get the right amount of sleep. What I have learnt in the years since – is that children are individuals, we have maternal instincts for a very good reason and that every book says something different for a reason. Each child is different, they are going to sleep differently. Trust your child and what you think is right.
Nothing quite prepares you for the change. The joy and the fascination of having this small, beautiful human being with you. A little human you created, you carried and birthed. A little human, solely reliant on you. This in itself can be a terrifying and daunting prospect, but at the same time, it brings so much responsibility, so much happiness and so much joy to my everyday life. The little things, my youngest child’s giggle, my eldest child’s inquisitive and ever growing and evolving questions, my unborn child’s kicks and movements.
As terrifying and daunting as pregnancy, childbirth and parenting can be, it is also the greatest gift, the most satisfying job and so completely worthwhile, even in the hardest moments.
Do you want to know more about the immediate postpartum period and how you can enjoy it rather than fear it, check out my PostBirth classes, designed for brand new mummas and their babies.