Calling out to new parents!
Despite all the love you’ll be ready to give and all the routines you may attempt to follow, it may be best to make your peace with the fact that your baby won’t really understand you or this big new world in the first few weeks after birth.
And things may simply not go as planned. Take my nursery chair for example…
I’ve always prided myself on keeping a nicely decorated home and at 40 weeks pregnant I felt that the nursery should just be an extension of that. So I bought a beautiful antique-style lounge chair for the nursery; it’s big and plush and it was going to be my dedicated feeding chair. Oh how I was going to enjoy sitting in my beautiful big soft red chair late at night feeding our boy, I was pretty sure I could even sleep in it – it’s that glorious.
And so there it sat in the corner of the room poised and ready for its first feeding session as we rushed off to hospital.
Fast-forward to the day we left hospital with out new bundle of joy. As we walked in the door as beaming new parents, our gorgeous sweet little boy dropped his smile somewhere on the front step and as you might say just ‘lost it’. I mean, he cried and wailed inconsolably for no apparent reason. The house clearly didn’t smell quite right, not like the familiar bleached essence of the hospital he just spent the first year of his life in!
Panic set in because there were no midwives to call for help with the push of a bedside button. What do we do, who do we call! After staring at each other blankly for what seemed like hours, my husband says ‘oh I know, feed him, yes feed him’.
Genius! Wish I’d thought of that myself.
The time had come for the feeding chair to reign supreme and shine with all of its beauty and feeding power… To the nursery!
We positioned ourselves but the wailing just seemed to get louder and the once delicately placed cushions were tossed across the room without a care to make way for baby and me. Wait. What. We don’t fit? The baby and I and the feeding cushion don’t fit in the nursery chair together, huh. Well I didn’t think I needed to measure the chair!
We jammed into the chair sinking deep into its softness, sinking so far that I couldn’t get baby to boob to feed him. Struggling to comprehend how this carefully chosen piece of nursery furniture just didn’t work, off to the kitchen we went to feed in a more practical all-be-it less glorious and boring chair.
And there we’ve stayed ever since.
A year on, I can now see that the chair was really a metaphor for everything that it means about becoming a new parent. You think you’ve got things worked out, planned and ready to go, you’ve read everything under the sun about parenting and visited every baby store in town, but actually you’ve missed the most obvious point: you can’t predict what your baby will be like, you just have to work it out along the way.
But this is OK. It’s OK for things to not go as planned with a baby.
I don’t regret buying my red chair, one day my boy will play on it even if for now it’s a great big red storage unit most days. My baby doesn’t care about the chair so why did I? I guess I had yet to change, grow and develop from the whole experience of having our first baby. I’d read a lot about baby needing time to learn about his new world but it didn’t occur to me that I also needed time to learn about our new world together as well.
Everyday life with a newborn makes more and more sense every day, and where some our daily plans might fail, we make-up for it with new routines as we go. Improvisation at its best. And oh how life has changed! It feels like a chapter has closed on an old life and a new one has started, but without me fully realising it. This book of life with a newborn is much like the ‘choose your own adventure’ story books, it has many possible outcomes and endings so get ready for the ride of your life, a ride with many great, unpredictable and special adventures along the way!
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