Reflections on Almost Four Months of Parenthood

19 December 2011
When I was pregnant, I was so obsessed with reading about all the physical manifestations of the condition that I rather failed to pay enough attention to how things might be once Baby G was actually here. I laboured (pun intended; this was the only labour I experienced) under several misapprehensions, thinking I would finally figure out this problems of motherhood stuff that has plagued women for century. Now, I just want to laugh at my pregnant self and say "let me know how you that goes." 

Amongst other embarrassing erroneous beliefs, I wondered...

  • Why new parents moaned so much about lack of sleep when newborn babies slept twenty hours a day? I'd just sleep when the baby slept, every time. Problem solved!

  • How on earth could newborn babies produce all the laundry everyone complained of? Their clothes are tiny. I figured most parents were just way too fussy about washing their kid's clothes every time they wore them. I wouldn't make that mistake.

  • And why would a work-at-home parent need to put their kid in daycare? I'd get a bunch of writing and research done during BabyG's naps. Whoops, that's when I was going to sleep. Well, I'd work whilst BabyG rocked gently in a bouncer by my feet.

    I just want to laugh at my pregnant self and say "let me know how you that goes." It went. And it didn't go well.

    Firstly not all babies sleep twenty hours a day. That is a filthy lie. Some only manage twelve to fourteen, and when they do sleep it is all broken up. You try just drifting off to sleep with jangled nerves from four hours of comforting a fractious newborn - and with the knowledge that that baby could wake up at any time, probably in twenty minutes if their previous naps are anything to go by. Anyway that nap may be the only chance you actually get to have a shower and change out of the milk-soaked and sweaty nightdress you've been wearing for the previous eighteen hours.

    Which brings us to the laundry. I think BabyG has worn the same thing twice without it being washed once in nearly four months. Babies have no control whatsoever over any of their bodily functions, and are usually emitting bodily fluids from at least two, and sometimes up to five, orifices at once. Nappies leak, noses run, and the vomit. Oh god, the vomit. Everything in our house more pliable than cork - including soft furnishings, pillows, and all clothes - has ended up reeking of used milk. The only things which have a hope of staying clean are wondersuits I picked up at Vinnies, which BabyG shows a mysterious restraint about vomiting in. His Bebé pants, on the other hand, will be sicked up on before I've taken them all the way out of the drawer.

    And of course, I can't get anything done. It was actually a little easier when BabyG was a newborn. Now he's getting a little older, he gets bored if he's left in his bouncer without entertainment for any length of time. I could stick him in front of the TV, but I'm still at the stage of kidding myself I'm not the kind of mother who does such a thing, so the only option is to provide a constant repertoire of songs and games.The lack of sleep thing also makes it pretty difficult to concentrate. Volunteering and research is just going to have to wait a little while.

    I've made parenthood sound like a horrorshow of epic proportions in this post, I realise. It really isn't. But no one wants to read my gushing over the wonder of BabyG, and if I can laugh at my naivety, I hope someone else can, too.

    1. Oh dear. Isn't it funny when we look back on things we thought about a certain situation before we experienced them for ourselves? (I know I've done that many times). It sounds like you've got this parenting thing sorted though, and most importantly perhaps, your sense of humour has survived the journey! :)

    2. It's not the first time something hasn't been like I thought it was going to be. Above all I've learnt that sometimes there are no easy answers, you just have to muddle through.


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