Guest Blogger: The New You by Hannah Fitzgerald, #muminreallife
Updated: Mar 31, 2019
I wrote a list once, of all the things I was worried about if I were lucky enough to fall pregnant. Top of that list was lack of sleep. I simply couldn’t imagine how I would survive, let alone take care of a tiny person, if I didn’t get my good eight hours of kip per night. I write this now at 1.36am, on the fourth night of my baby’s four month sleep regression and I’ll tell you now; quite simply, you just do.
Now, I’d heard that said before Rosie came along and I thought it was an unhelpful, unsympathetic and simplified response. “How will I cope?” “You just will”, seems like a blunt answer. The full answer, and what I now find helpful to remind myself whenever I feel worried is this: When you become a parent, right through pregnancy, birth and bringing up your little person, you become capable of things you never knew were possible before. The range of your limits shifts. The necessity is such that you really can stay awake, you can hold that baby for longer than you knew, you can sit in an uncomfortable position beyond what you would previously have tolerated. For mothers giving birth, you really can do it. Your body is capable of doing this amazing thing for which it was designed. For those preparing for and then recovering from a C Section, your body will do amazing things and heal itself, and you will be as strong as ever before, it really is amazing what you can and will do for the love of your baby. For those whose birth experience does not pan out exactly as you would hope, you will learn to accept and recover from the circumstances which brought you your baby, because at the end of the day that is what needed to happen to get your child into your arms.
I found myself holding Rosie in the “tiger in the tree” position on a particularly fussy day recently (I highly recommend this hold for soothing a baby, sometimes it’s the only thing that works, but I digress......) with a heavy backpack on, in a stuffy pharmacy waiting area and it occurred to me that if what I was holding was my shopping or a parcel, I would have put it down long ago. But because it was my precious, finally calm, sleeping baby, I held her even though my arms and back ached. It’s not that you gain new powers, but you find the higher limits of your strength, and you push beyond your old boundaries.
You are a new you, because you need to be that for your little person, to whom you are the whole world. Some of the ways you change are in your physical and mental strength and endurance, and some are finding super handy ways of making life easier. For me these include a long pillow which I use to prop Rosie in position to feed, a big water bottle with a handle and a straw so that I can drink while she feeds or sleeps on me, a mobile charging block, a trusty Ewan dream sheep, giant muslins aplenty and, to my shame, baby sensory YouTube videos when all else fails.
Don’t be afraid to find ways to make life easier for yourself in any way you can! This is not to say that you can and should do everything alone. Tell the people in your life if you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, scared, concerned. There is strength in asking for and accepting help, and it is so important that you feel well enough to be there for your baby. If you have a partner, communicate your worries and your needs. Finding an online community where I feel safe enough to ask silly and not-so-silly questions has also made my new mum journey so much easier.
But in those lonely moments when you find yourself holding a baby in the middle of the night, wondering how you will make it to the morning or whether you have the strength to do this night after night, I am here to tell you that the new you can, and will find a way. Then when the harder times pass, you will be able to look back and tell another, newer parent who asks you how they will get through it, with love and understanding; “you just will”.