This is me and my firstborn son, Jamie. He just turned 2 months old yesterday.
Parenting has been an interesting experience indeed. It is undeniably tiring, as many will surely tell you, but what is less spoken of are the joys that come with it.
For instance, Jamie now seems to be able to recognise faces, and it is simply lovely to see his face light up and his mouth curve into a huge grin the very moment my face comes into view.
At other times, his attempts to communicate by cooing and gurgling are a constant amusement to my husband, Deric and I.
Jamie is also quickly developing his own personality and it shows in the way he deals with daily routine. He gives me some of his biggest smiles during bath times when I am washing his hair. He responds the most prominently to objects in red, leading us to believe it may be his favourite colour.
To top all of that off, the feeling you get carrying your little one in your arms is like none you’ve ever experienced before. It’s amazing to behold this tiny life that you manage to sustain every day. As a mother, it is also deeply humbling to reflect on how God has graciously grown such a life inside of you over the period of 9 months.
Well, of course, there are undoubtedly challenges that also come with the territory.
As an example, while halfway typing this post, Jamie interrupeted me for a feeding session (he is being 100% breastfed at the moment). And once that had ended and I thought I could resume writing, he proceeded to vomit out a considerable amount of milk + saliva onto the nursing pillow, the bed and me just as I was lifting him up to burp him. Not to mention being cranky when I placed him momentarily in the cot with the hopes of cleaning up the mess.
But trust me, all of those sort of inconveniences pale in comparison to the wonders and joys that having Jamie in my life has brought about. Sacrifices like lacking a good solid night’s sleep and having every outing to the mall interspersed with feeding sessions and diaper changes aren’t as a big a deal as you may imagine them to be.
I say these things for the benefit of every person reading this that may be contemplating parenthood.
I also write this for the seasoned parents who may have lost sight of why they had children in the first place, in the hopes that they might reminisce and regain that purpose through my post.
I must add that I am not a natural with children and neither is Deric. This is one of the reasons why we hesitated to have kids in the first place. But the comforting thing is that you don’t need to have prior experience to start a family. There is enough room for you to learn as you go.
9 months, for instance, is more than enough time for you to do all the reading and talking to people that you need to feel confident about welcoming a little one into your home.
I’ve been through it, and so far, we’re doing fine. And judging from Jamie’s behaviour and wellbeing, I think he’s given us a passing grade so far.
To end off, let me share a quick list of things that I’ve learned as a mother of an infant:
- Going out anywhere will typically involve an exercise resembling moving house (due to the sheer volume of things you’ll need to cart along to keep baby happy).
- Being able to perform normal daily activities for yourself such as brushing your teeth, bathing, going to the toilet to relieve yourself and eating your meals on time are to be highly celebrated achievements due to their rarity.
- Expect to multitask to a level like you’ve never done before. And nope, not even the most demanding of tasks at work can compare.
- During breastfeeding sessions, there will always be some item that you need which will be beyond your reach.
- The world doesn’t end when the baby cries. But there is an Ugly Cry and you will experience it at some point. And once you do, you’ll hope to avoid it in the future for the sheer reason that you feel so sorry for the child whenever it happens.
- There is a grace period for response times to baby’s cries. It is possible to scramble to complete whatever you’re doing quickly once the baby is restless and yet avoid the Ugly Cry.
- For everything you practice at the prenatal stage in preparation for parenthood, try to imagine doing it with a squirming, crying child.
- You WILL need the help of others to cope with the baby in the early weeks. Don’t refuse it, especially from your spouse or family members.
- Everyone, including complete strangers, will have plenty to say about your baby and how you should take care of him/her. The polite thing would be to listen, but you shouldn’t feel obliged to comply. You are your child’s parent, hence whatever you decide to go with stays.
- Sleep whenever the baby sleeps.