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April 13, 2016
Remember those early months with your firstborn? Aside from the nerve-shredding fear that you had absolutely no idea what you were doing and the huge weight of responsibility weighing down on you, they were blissful days really. I remember with absolute clarity the instant that the fog lifted and I suddenly, all at once, felt like a mother and not some imposter winging it day-to-day, pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes. It was a beautiful spring morning, still chill, but blue skies with a glaring sun. I was pushing my son in his pushchair across the road on our way back from a visit to the village library. He slept and I was planning on a quiet cup of tea in the sunlit window, gazing upon his tiny baby face. In that moment I felt newly calm and as if I was finally at home in this new skin, I felt, for the first time, in control and capable. We spent the next few months in a rhythm of walks and baby groups, sleeping when the baby slept, long naps and hours spent holding my son whilst I watched films and read magazines.
And then, number two arrived and I was back there on the rocks, trying to cling on each day and get the three of us through until their daddy came home, with as few tears as possible. It seemed a momentous task, here were two little people, both needing me, both with entirely contrary needs and wants. The days spent quietly succumbing to the rhythm of a newborn were gone. Sleepless nights couldn’t so easily be recovered from when a toddler is there each morning raring to go, a ball of boundless energy and intrepid fearlessness, ready to scale anything and launch himself from the top. There is no gazing over a sleeping baby in your arms, watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s when a toddler wants you to sing and dance with them. And you can’t so easily park yourself on the sofa and breastfeed for hours on end, with baby bobbing on and off the boob, when there is another child going stir crazy and writing on the walls and attempting to empty the potty all over the floor.
But somehow we got through, we survived, the three of us, well enough to go on and have another baby and not to feel like I was drowning the next time. So here are some tips for surviving the early days with a newborn and a toddler. Good luck out there!
Victoria Machin - UK
March 14, 2023
February 13, 2023