Earlier this week we posted a beautifully illustrated* image with some pearls of wisdom for new parents on Instagram and it proved to be one of our most liked and commented on posts.... and it led me to thinking about what little gems you would pass on to yourself as a new parent if you could go back in time?
For us personally, we had a fairly traumatic first time experience. Our little boy decided (for no good reason) to impatiently want his way out 2 months early. Born at 33 weeks - he spent the first month of his life on the outside in a neonatal intensive care unit in a little perspex box. The first few years of life with little Fin were exhausting and passed in quite a blur (we also had a baby girl born 18 months after Fin - with no drama this time!) As many parents know - having 2 under the age of 2 can be physically exhausting. But the mental exhaustion of constantly worrying over Every.Little.Thing. was almost worse.
The sleepless nights - coupled with 'should his poo look like that?' (Don't google it - call the HV and you'll learn as you go what the norm is) 'sleeping too quietly... is he still breathing?' (Yes now get some rest and take time for yourself) 'is he getting too used to being rocked to sleep every night?' (Probably - but don't worry or compare yourself to what others are doing) 'Do all new parents feel like this?' (YES) Why am I feeling like this when I'm sure I should be so happy (There is no right way, just your way, and ask for help if you need it)
It's all so strange and new.... and fabulous and passes in a supersonic blur - so get comfortable, hunker down, make your nest and remember that there is NO perfect. Use social media as a help, but if it feels like a hinderance in any way, get rid of it. I'm SO very relieved that I didn't have Instagram or Twitter as a new mum. "Comparison is the thief of joy" is a quote I often go back to.
And of course these feelings and validations are just as relevant for large age gap parents, older first time parents, fifth time parents or adoptive parents as they are for younger first timers.
Take your time
Learn as you go
Take it easy on yourself
* amazing illustration by positivelypresent