What were we thinking! promote confidence and reduce distress in parents with a first baby

A suspiciously spammy message for new parents

By Kaz Cooke

A suspiciously spammy message for new parents

You have been chosen!

Redeem prizes!* These include:

  • Eating a hot piece of toast
  • Having a shower alone
  • Or a wee
  • Finishing an entire cup of tea
  • Finishing a sentence. Finishing a … what? Where was I?

*These prizes may be out of stock for some time.

You may redeem one (1) prize per your own Admirable Act.

These acts include:

  • Listening to a person who says “I know exactly what it’s like because I have a dog, who is my fur baby” and not hitting them on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper
  • Leaving the house with hair that looks OK from behind and/or clean-shaven with baby bag and baby
  • Wearing an outfit inside the house in which you could conceivably answer the door
  • Having a dream that does not involve misplacing the baby, selling the baby, pushing the baby out to sea in a walnut, mistaking the baby for a marmoset, eating the baby with a knife and fork, making your baby into a fun brooch, or leaving your baby in a desk drawer.

Interesting facts about baby humans:

  • Babies are born with their own personality and issues. Some are cruisy and some are shouty, and some are soooo very vomitty
  • They could not give a rats about your post-baby body or Instagram likes, or what your bombastic Father-in-Law thinks
  • Babies care about you and food and comfort. They don’t care about the label on their onesie unless it is scratchy. They don’t care if the dishwasher has been run. The most philosophy a baby can muster is: “If you put me on a fancy bunny rug, will I not poo? Possibly in green.”
  • New babies run on instinct. They sneeze because they didn’t bring a hanky. They cry if they’re hungry or tired or uncomfortable, and for unfathomable reasons.

Nobody has a set of one-size fits all answers on parenting because babies are all different. If a parenting suggestion doesn’t work for you, it’s not your failure. It means the method didn’t work. One down, try another. Siblings often arrive with a whole new set of traits and quirks that means something that worked with your first baby is now a useless theory, and vice versa.

When I was a new mum, I was exhausted and felt waves of the blues – mainly pale pastel to cornflower blue in my case. For many, the blues can come in indigo or navy, as dark times. Which shade you get is often about luck, hormone levels and how much help you can call on. Please reach out, whatever shade of blue you’re feeling. (If nothing else, Cerulean or Sky could make a good baby name if you’re stuck.)

You can start by talking to your own doctor and maternal child and family health nurse, reaching out to family and/or friends. Women were never meant to do this parenting thing in isolation. Check out the parenting websites backed by the latest evidence and research: this one you’re reading (the What Were We Thinking! blog by Jean Hailes for Women's Health), Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Raising Children's Network.

All parenting advice suggested to you should be seen the same way you contemplate the nibbles being offered on a tray at a posh party. Try one, or say thank you and ignore it. Because when it comes to parenting, one person’s brilliant life-hack is always somebody else’s bonkers piece of melon wrapped in passive-aggressive ham. 

Kaz Cooke is the author of Up the Duff, the Real Guide to Pregnancy and Kidwrangling: Looking After Babies, Toddlers & preschoolers and the Up The Duff app. (Author’s note: please make sure you buy or borrow the very latest re-prints of each book for fresh medical and other info.)
Image used above is copyright Kaz Cooke from her book Kidwrangling.

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