ADVICE TO FIRST TIME PARENTS
As we are only 20 weeks or so away from welcoming baby number 2 into the world I'm having to get my thoughts back to life with a newborn! Even though Jasmine is 17 months old it seems like ages ago since we were bringing her back from hospital. We were like deers in the headlights with no clue how to look after a little human being.
There's so many things we wouldn't do second time round and I wanted to share them with any first time parents out there:
1) Having too many visitors around - when you first bring baby home it's natural that there are a que of people lining up desperate to meet the new addition.I personally think out of kindness you willingly oblige even though deep down you are probably extremely tired, need your space to adapt to new baby and would prefer to lounge around in pjamas without having to worry about guests coming over. (and believe me some over stay there welcome as they just don't realize how much of a life changer it is)
Second time round I am being so mindful of visitors as it's really important that we spend time as a family of 4 to understand the new dynamics and will no doubt restrict visitors in the first two weeks to just family.
2) Try to get back to normal too quickly - I remember after the second day of coming home deciding to go out for a walk with Jasmine and Matt (even though I had really sore stitches and I was still a bit out of it after being conditioned in hospital for 4 days). I desperately wanted to get out to prove I was normal and that I was 'handling' it, where as next time I am NOT going to feel guilty for being in the house or for being in my lounge clothes all day. There's plenty of time to get out and do the 'normal' stuff. You know in Matt's culture the woman often spends a month indoors and the mum/mother in law comes over to help cook, clean and take care of baby and I've also heard this is common in other cultures. Although I won't be taking a month indoors I do see the benefit to resting as much as possible. Of course Matt may need to leave the house to entertain Jasmine but I won't be putting any pressure on myself to join him.
3) Overthinking and over riding instincts - Matt and I both agree on this one and we initially over thought everything. It's completely natural especially as first time parents and when you overthink you often go a little stir crazy and also may let other people's opinions take over. I remember being part of a group with other mums where they would discuss everything from the tog of the blanket their baby was sleeping in to not using baby wipes and instead using cotton wool and water and it just drove me demented. I remember using cotton wool on Jasmine for the first few days in hospital and it took forever to change a nappy - needless to say second time round the wipes will be coming out straight away!
4) Trying to keep your old life - this one is actually a point that Matt chipped in with. I think the woman naturally adapts to parenthood quicker than the man as it starts at the beginning of pregnancy for the woman carrying the baby for 9 months and the man can kind of keep his life until baby is born. (I mean they don't have to endure pregnancy for starters!) I remember Matt driving to his friends 40 minutes a way for a birthday party and Jasmine was 2 weeks old. It was absolutely chaos, I was adapting to looking after a tiny baby and really needed Matt's help. He was still in between two worlds and wanted some normality by being around his friends. He does now look back on this and admits it wasn't the right thing to do but we can only learn form these experiences.
There's no denying having children changes you and as much as you may want to keep your old life - you just can't. There has to be a lot of adapting and compromise and it may take time to get old habits and routines back. I'm aware I have a good routine at the gym right now but I also know that this could be thrown up in the air once the second child arrives. Again, I just have to ride that season without being desperate to get back to normal.
So to conclude,
* I would recommend first time parents keep visitors to a minimum (depending what you feel you can handle) - you can spread your visitors out after the first few weeks!
* Don't be in a rush to get back to normal too quickly - whether that's being getting back to the gym, or getting out the house for social activities, take your time and DON'T compare yourself to people on social media who are out dressed to perfection, fine dining days after welcoming their new born into the world. It will only make you feel worse. Remember comparison is the thief of joy!
* Overthinking - easier said than done, but don't forget to trust your instincts as they are a powerful thing. If you think your baby is too hot, take off a blanket or layer of clothing. If you think the wipes you are using on your baby are bad for their skin, change brands or opt for something softer. You know whats best for baby.
* Trying to keep your old life - sorry but your old life is gone, but your new life is even greater! Remember this is such a special season in your life so embrace as much of it as you can. If your friends are good quality friends they will always be there waiting for you to go out for those cocktails or hang out for a cup of tea - there's no rush!