I can’t believe that it’s already been a month since Aiden has been born. In that moment our life completely changed in so many ways, but I can say that it’s worth it, but also has been one of the hardest months of my life. I don’t think that any amount of reading, preparing and conversations can prepare you for the way that becoming a parent can affect you.
You spend 9 months imagining and preparing for this little person to enter your life and once they do, life is turned around completely. The moments following are some of the most challenging moments, both mentally and physically, however also the most rewarding and fulfilling. It’s surreal the moment they hand your child to you. It’s a moment of disbelief that YOU made this child and that he/she is yours to keep and raise and hopefully mold into a decent human. Talk about responsibility.
This past month has been a learning experience. I think most people go into parenthood with pre-conceived notions of what it will be like. Media shows parenthood to be this simple walk in the park of cute, sleeping babies (which they are…sometimes, and pretty much never at night), perfectly clean homes, easy & pain free breastfeeding (think again…it’s hard), and so on.
Each person’s experience differ, but the following are the few bits of advice I have:
Be prepared to be flexible – That first month is pretty much dictated by baby, and that’s okay. Just go with it. There’s no point fighting it because at that point you and baby are both learning this whole new thing. I know that I went into this with certain ideas of what I would and would not do. I’ve already reneged on more than a few things and I’m sure as time goes on there will be more.
Sleep when baby sleeps – Everyone says this…but honestly do it as much as you can. You never know how the upcoming night will go and you’ll really regret not sleeping that extra hour when you’ve been up between 12-6am with a fussy baby. Those dishes will get done, laundry washed and house dusted…just maybe not today, or even this week.
Get over bodily fluids – You will be spit on, pooped on, peed on and leak everywhere before it’s over. The sooner you get over being grossed out by it…the easier life will be.
Ask for help, and accept help – If you need something ask. People aren’t mind readers. And when others offer help…accept it. It’s amazing how refreshing an hour to yourself can be, so take up people’s offers to watch the baby for an hour or two, and accept all offers of free, prepared food.
You know your baby better than others do – Everyone loves to give advice. Listen, but don’t feel obliged to do everything others say. They mean well, but sometimes people get diarrhea of the mouth and don’t know when to just stay quiet (however, I do recommend listening to your pediatrician, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and research your options).
Don’t take anything personal said between the hours of midnight and 6AM – I had a close friend tell me this the other day and it’s true. You and your significant other are both in this together, but sometimes after four nights of little sleep and three hours of a crying infant, tempers can flare. Being angry and resentful will only lead to more issues in the end. Make sure to keep communication open.
Lastly, give yourself a break – Being a parent is hard. Suddenly you’re thrown into taking care of a human being that is completely dependent on you and sometimes you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself at the same time. Everyone always said that it gets easier, and it does. It’s only been a month for us, but I can tell you that each day gets a little bit easier than the previous day. And even if it isn’t easier, those baby snuggles make each and every day worth it.