Parenting truth. . . I’m a so-called baby whisperer and even I find having a newborn hard. Who’d have thought I’d have another baby at the age of 42, so many years after having my last baby? I thought my family was complete. My son was 12 and my daughter seven when I found out I was pregnant with my third child. Excitement, shock, happiness, fear. I felt it all but what an amazing gift I’ve been given – and I wouldn’t change a thing.
After lots of tears, extensive testing, multiple scans, premature labor, two weeks in hospital, 10 weeks of bed rest (impossible with a family to look after), gestational diabetes and all the other pregnancy side effects you can name, I gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy named Saxon Oliver on 17 November, 2011. What a year it has been. I had actually forgotten what it was like to have a newborn. There is so much to remember! Let me share with you a few of the challenges I’ve encountered during the past year:
- Age guilt. During my pregnancy and the days following his birth I was overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. I often wondered whether Saxon was going to be okay. If there were something wrong with him, would it be my fault because of my age? I worried about the health and wellbeing of Saxon way more than I did with my other two children.
- Breast-feeding and attachment problems. Yes, me! I even had to employ a lactation consultant. I needed her support and guidance, as I felt extremely vulnerable in the first few weeks. Even though I knew all the practical stuff I was overwhelmed by emotion and couldn’t think rationally. It is a very different ballgame when you are a new mother. Those maternal instincts are incredibly strong.
- Feeding and stress guilt. As I expressed inside the car outside my daughter’s dance studio waiting for her to finish her dance classes (someone had to take her), I would cry as I thought of my precious three week-old baby at home having a bottle of formula!
- Confusion. My maternal instincts kicked in as he cried and wouldn’t stop. Is he in pain, is it something I am doing wrong, what am I missing? I couldn’t for the life of me think rationally, nor did I want to.
- Sleep deprivation. A mother of three does not have time to rest when the baby sleeps. What is that?
- Absence guilt. I couldn’t be there for my other two children as much as I wanted to be. This was very hard because in the past I never missed a thing. Now with a baby I couldn’t possibly be in three places at once.
- Worry. Even though I tell clients almost every day not to worry as every baby is different, I desperately wanted my baby to be the same as all the other babies developing faster than he was.
- Breast-feeding guilt. At four months I decided to bottle feed. As I’ve already mentioned, I couldn’t be in three places at once. The choice was for the sake of all family members but I will always feel the need to justify my decision. Society makes me feel this way but at the end of the day I feel that ‘fed’ is best!
So there you have it. Even one of the best mothercraft nurses in the business finds mothering a young baby challenging. One thing I do know; no matter how challenging it is, being a parent is the most rewarding job anyone will have the privilege of experiencing. My children make my heart burst every single day and it has been worth every single challenge that has been thrown my way. I am sure there are many more to come. Bring it on!