So there I was: newborn daughter on my chest, and, despite a little pain, blissfully, off-my-head happy.
Then my husband went home for the night and the lights went out on the ward, and I suddenly worried: ‘how the hell will I ever have a shower again??'
This is a guest post from Rachelle Sananes, mum of Willow and blogger at Unlikely Mummy.
I momentarily considered leaving baby next to the bed to slip off to freshen-up, but realised I needed to accept that brushing my teeth was now a luxury.
With all the joy you get from parenting (and trust me, this is the part that people brag about most, THE JOY!!) you also acquire a ton of anxiety - feelings that, prior to giving birth, I certainly had never experienced. With every milestone came a little ‘scary first’ that almost sent me over the edge every time!
The first bath
I’ll never forget that feeling that if I even dared attempt to remove that tiny sleep suit from my daughter I would almost definitely cause her some serious harm. So, like any logical new parent I decided damage limitation was the only possible route. The heating went on, the towels went onto the radiator, the bath water temperature was checked with all available body parts, until eventually I went for it and DUNKED baby in the bath.
Then my eyes batted from baby-bath-towel-bed, baby-bath-towel-bed, wondering how I could possibly get baby from bath to towel and on the bed without any injury. All the while delicately dodging what can only be described as a plastic peg, attached to the leftover umbilical cord. The deep fear as I try to avoid knocking it off like an old scab on a schoolkid’s knee...
Don’t let this experience beat you!! We’ve all been there.
The first outing
At first, the fear of a crying baby in a public place was too much for me to cope with. So I packed enough equipment for a world leader to invade a small country. I clearly remember the questioning look my husband gave me as I insisted that the walk to the corner shop justified taking all this ‘stuff’. The ‘stuff’ that I had just spent 2 hours neatly piling onto my pram.
What the hell did he know anyway?’
The first look of judgement
I couldn't decide which was more offensive: the look from a fellow parent, who should have had my back, or the one from the non-parent, who I reckoned - on my no-sleep diet for the first six weeks, had no right to have an opinion at all! There is truly nothing worse than trying to be one of those ‘fictional’ mums that get it right all the time, so don’t try and certainly don’t be hard on yourself when you don’t get it right.
Your baby crying in the middle of coffee shop for no reason, other than he or she wants to, is not your fault, and that coffee shop will have seen that situation many times before you got there. The dummy I relentlessly picked up off the floor and put in my mouth…. totally normal, although my mother-in-law never thought so!
Now, I just try to remember every single one of us mums was a new mum once. And ‘that smile’ from a passerby, that’s not sympathy or mocking, that, my friend, is a silent nod and them saying “you’ve got this”!
So my sincere advice is don’t let the ‘scary firsts’ scare you into making them your last!
* Read more of Rachelle's mum stories and adventures at Unlikely Mummy.