rant post was inspired by a friend of mine. We both had our babies within 2 weeks of each other (her little boy, is BEAUTIFUL) and so I am constantly comparing the development of Sophie to her little squishy. However, her little one is about 6lb heavier than Sophie so I try not to worry.
Anyway, my friend was telling me how upset she was by some comments made to her about her own motherly complaints. Unfortunately, her boy doesn’t sleep through the night while Sophie sleeps between 9-10 hours with no break. She has the routine down, and he has no problems going to sleep, it’s the staying asleep after 2am that is the problem. He has a lighter sleep cycle after this time that means getting up to play is actually much more fun!
A ‘friend’ – I put this lightly- has said to her the worst thing you can tell a new, exhausted mother…
YOU KNEW WHAT YOU WERE GETTING INTO WHEN YOU HAD A BABY
This particular person is childless…surprise surprise. Do you have any idea how much I want to punch this person? And any other idiot who says this to a mother, let alone a new one who is struggling with her babies’ sleep and is shattered 80% of the time?
It’s something that really bugs me especially when the people spouting shit like that don’t even have children. How can you tell a new mother she shouldn’t have a moan about probably the biggest life change she will ever have??
I know what you’re thinking, how could a 6lb bundle of goop be hard work? Well, I’ll tell you shall I?
Babies eat 8 or more times a day. They need nappies changing 6-8 times a day. They need cuddles. And naps. And rocking to sleep. Anything you need to do now takes 45 minutes when previously it takes 15 minutes. Leaving the house, for examples is a military operation that even the British Army couldn’t sort out. You have to dress both of you (and let’s face it, the task of putting on your own clothes is a feat!), pack the changing bag and get the baby out the door before the next poonami/vomit shower/dribblefest which would require you to change their clothes for the third time that day. Time becomes a very precious commodity and you find yourself planning your journeys around possible feeds, changes and naps.
Having a baby changes your appreciation of sleep. Remember those days where 10am on a Saturday was the time you woke up? No, me neither. Then you get those idiots telling you sleep when your baby sleeps. Yeah sure, but then I won’t pee, shower, do housework, eat with two hands, sit down for five minutes, maybe watch a bit of Corrie. By the time you’ve got your pjs on, the baby is awake again and needs something else. Sleep deprivation just isn’t funny.
Recovery from childbirth itself differs for every woman, but if you like my friend have had a C-Section, then recovery takes a hell of a lot longer than six weeks. Physically after any birth your body just hurts. Emotionally, your hormones are a mess. Throw in a baby and you have a bowl of dysfunction with a side order of tears. Childbirth and pregnancy actually last longer than 9 months. Actually, much of your experience takes place after childbirth – mulling it over in your mind, making sense of what happened, processing what you felt on the inside and understanding what other people saw on the outside. The greater the discrepancy between what you expected and what you got, the tougher this task will be.
We tell parents that they should feel only joy and gratitude, but this doesn’t make sense. Having a baby is no doubt the biggest life adjustment you will ever make; it’s only natural that you’ll feel emotions on both ends of the spectrum. Having inappropriate little shits telling you you should have expected to be exhausted and frazzled all the time makes you want to hit them in the face with a chair.
When your baby doesn’t sleep through the night, you get woken repeatedly from your own rest that your body needs to continue to change those nappies, feed those bottles and sing those nursery rhymes until you wish Jack and Jill would be dead at the bottom of the hill so you can stop singing that blasted song!
We’re all aware of the indescribably wonderful joys that come with having a new baby. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a sweet-smelling newborn nuzzling against your neck. But the birth of a baby also brings some necessary losses – your lifestyle, freedom and some of your income. The appropriate reaction to loss is grief, and the only way to get to the other side of it is to feel it and move through it. Of course we knew that we would lose it…but you don’t appreciate it UNTIL YOU HAVE TO!
So to my lovely friend, your little bundle of squishyness might not be sleeping through, but you have every bloody right to moan your head off if you want to, and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise.