Apologies for the huge gap between posts. I have been extremely busy fumbling my way through parenthood. Matilda turned 6 months old on Thursday and I have been thinking about returning to blogging from a place of being slightly more sane.
The topic for tonight is COMPARISON
Women in particular are guilty of this. Our media and trashy mags parade ‘who wore it best’ in our faces on a daily basis. Incredible transformations and clickbait articles make self-criticism a kind of self-deprecating crack for the 21st century.
Celebrities post baby bodies and gorgeously coiffeured hair and fabulous “the baby just fit into MY routine” attitudes certainly made me feel less than great. As a new mum with stretch marks resplendent across my stomach and hair that at best was brushed weekly, I felt like a failure. Post-partum hormones hey?
However the inner critic was harshest when it came to comparing Matilda. The constant stream of “my baby does this…” and “oh doesn’t she do x y or z?” was relentless both in my real life and online.
I worried that she didn’t sleep enough, cried too much and wasn’t doing what she SHOULD be doing. I feel guilty thinking back on this. Matilda was perfect and, as babies are wont to do, developed at her own pace. I feel sad that I spent so much of her first few weeks hurrying her along.
So my advice? Unwarranted perhaps but given with the best intentions.
Place expectations to one side. I think as adults in a fast-paced modern world used to living by deadlines this is much easier said than done. Whilst in the womb, we allow our babies the time to grow. Once born we expect so much of them. Their universe grows exponentially and every experience is new and overwhelming. When she cried during the night, it wasn’t to annoy me or because she was in some way ‘faulty’; she just needed reassurance that her constants (Karl and I) were there. When she woke every time we sat down to eat (seriously… plating up was basically an alarm clock) it wasn’t done as an initiation of fire into parenthood. She had a need or a want.
She had no other way to communicate her needs. Once I let go of my expectations, it became easier. She found her own routines and she led the way.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Mainstream media and social media are such a falsehood. The happy bonny babies posted all over your Facebook (and yes, I am just as guilty of this as the best of them) had a meltdown 30 minutes prior. We cherry pick the moments to share. But, all babies cry. All babies wake in the night (some more often than others) and all babies want love and affection. They have moods just like we do and most importantly are not robots.
So breathe. Take five minutes. And don’t expect too much.
To sum it up, here is a photo of Matilda. Crying. Because I wouldn’t let her grab her soiled nappy. And I love her for her feisty weirdness.
The newborn days of random waking and crying has passed but I still learn every day from her. I wouldn’t change her for the world.