Things I wished people had told me about parenthood

This is the first post in a series of posts about parenthood. I am a new mother to a now nearly 5 week old little boy. It’s the first child my husband and I have had. I have no idea if he’ll be the last or if the patter of his brother’s or sister’s feet will follow in the future. The thing is that there is a lot of conflicting advice out there and we’ve both found help in forums and websites and wanted to give something back. I plan on doing a series of posts with things we’ve learnt along the way to share our experiences with others. People do tell you things about parenting, but I wish people had actually sat me down and really told me some things beforehand to drill it home.

Children are hard work.

It seems obvious, I know. My husband and I had a strong relationship before our arrival and I can genuinely say that our son has tested that nearly to its limits. Thankfully the whole experience has made us stronger as a couple, but we wouldn’t have survived without teamwork. I have full respect for all the single parents out there and parents that have very little support in place.

In a short period of time, our lives have been turned upside down and we have a screaming pooh cannon to plan around. We were sleep deprived and my body was physically trying to recover from childbirth and the mild complications I experienced. I knew that it would be emotionally hard, but I had not prepared myself for the extreme emotions my husband and I experienced. There will be times where you question if you made the right choice and other times where you feel confident and able to deal with this little creature that is entirely dependant on you.

That mess of emotions that you’re feeling is completely normal. You will question everything you’re doing and will have some low points with those highs. It’s ok to feel the way you do. Don’t beat yourself up, you can only do your best. Some people may experience more than a little of the “baby blues” and may become depressed; there is so much help out there if you experience this, there is no shame or stigma behind getting help if you think you need it. I cannot stress this enough – speak to your GP, midwife, health visitor or anyone you feel comfortable talking to. You don’t have to go through it alone.

Five weeks down the line, I look back and realise how far my husband and I have both come. Our son has already changed so much; we can sometimes get four hours sleep in a block! We’ve learnt what his cries mean and feel so much more confident in being able to manage him and how he can fit into our lives. Dominic is also learning about us, our faces, our voices and our routines.

Things pick up and become easier with time, it just seems like forever when you’re at the beginning of the journey. Take time out to look back and reflect how far you’ve come. I know it’s a cliche, but I can actually now understand what people mean when they say that kids grow up so fast. It may be hard, but try to focus on today.

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