I was woefully underprepared to have a baby; I didn’t even take my hospital bag to a doctor’s appointment when I was 38 weeks pregnant with twins because of course everything would just go to plan (it didn’t, I had them the next day) and I was even less aware of what becoming a mother was all about. Whilst I was pregnant I didn’t read a single book or article about parenting to try and discover what kind of mother I would be and what my stance on things like ‘controlled crying’ and ‘baby led weaning’ would be. Rather, I spent this time agonizing over things like choosing the perfect cots, stocking their wardrobes with the most perfect Scandinavian unisex baby clothes and falling asleep on the couch watching ‘Midsummer Murders’.
However once we got home with our brand new babes, we quickly learnt that they weren’t that keen on sleeping or even being put down for a fraction of second, regardless of how ‘on point’ their outfits were. It was time to work out what kind of mother I was going to be.
There was no shortage of people telling me which books to read, how to wrap them properly, give them a dummy, don’t ever give them a dummy, let them cry – it’s good for them and my very favourite one of all was when someone tried to tell me that my boys were just trying to manipulate me and that I should definitely let them cry or they would expect me to pick them every time they cried and never learn to settle themselves. Well, call me crazy, but I actually wanted my babies to know that I would be there to settle, calm and soothe them. I wanted them to know that I would come to them if they needed me rather than stand outside their door crying along with them and I just couldn’t bring myself to believe that babies could be such master manipulators. Was it as simple as this? No way. It was bloody hard, exhausting and I spent the best part of the next two years on the couch feeding babies, holding sleeping babies or going for long walks or drives to get some time to myself.
But, I’m an eternal optimist, so I decided to just make the best of this situation and find some positives. I have never read so many books as when I was couch-bound feeding and holding; I was able to indulge my love of news and current affairs by becoming a voracious consumer of news radio and I discovered the wonderful world of podcasts and am now a devotee.
I guess that I might be classified as what some of those books I never read would call an ‘attachment parent’ and that’s probably fine, but I’m less interested in labels than I am in letting new mothers know that it’s totally fine to do whatever works for them. Whatever relieves your and your baby’s stress, whatever gets you through the day and whatever makes you feel able to face the next day. I wish I knew in those very early days that it was perfectly fine to feed a baby to sleep, perfectly fine to let them sleep in their bouncer, perfectly fine for them to stay in a fairly bland all in one all day and perfectly fine to do what you think is best. One thing that having twins taught me, is that what works for one baby, won’t necessarily work for another baby even if they shared a womb for nine months, so trust yourself mama, you got this.Browse Front PageShare Your Idea
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