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

Released back into the wild

By Alice

Released back into the wild

After four days, the holiday is over. With one mildly lumpy breast and a new baby, we are being released into our native environment to roam free like creatures of the wild once again.

As liberating as it sounds, the controlled hospital environment has provided bedside support and valuable opportunities for plenty of rest. Something the wild has far less of!

Keeping control of the largely uncontrollable home environment does intimidate me somewhat; new baby, energetic toddlers, busy and hungry working husband and all the tiny but important details that go with maintaining a household. But I have made some plans to ease the initial pressure and must remind myself of the things that are helpful in getting started.

My milk is in and my baby is not jaundice. Two major differences to last time and despite the lumpy boob, feeding is going well, and I'm confident we will keep improving. My body works well. Only slightly tender compared to last time. I can walk, rather than shuffle, stand up without assistance and see my toes again! I must remember it is still recovering however and be kind to let it heal. (The domestic goddess can remain on holiday for a little while yet.....)

It won't all be perfect, nor will it always go to plan. As long as I remember what is working, it will be strong enough to lean on while I fix something else.

Expert response from What Were We Thinking! expert, Sue Doogan

Alice, Alice, Alice or should I say “domestic goddess” – where do I start? Thank you, I think is the first thing that springs to mind. Thank you for being so realistic in your description of the first 4 days. It is so refreshing to hear and wonderful for first time parents to be reassured that things will return to some form of “new” normal (even if different from your “old” normal).

As you so eloquently state, your body is working well, feeding is going better than before. Everything won’t be perfect and you’ve reminded yourself of things that are helpful in getting started back in the wild of your home. Every parent, irrespective of what number child you are up to, needs to remind themselves of your words and basically be kind or kinder to themselves and each other. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there is NO such thing as a perfect parent or a perfect child. However, good enough is often very much ok and as near to “perfect” as we’re going to get. It WILL, be ok.

Mothering is like triaging: prioritising who or what needs your attention, the level of assistance required and how urgent that need is. Metaphorically speaking, balls are constantly in the air while you juggle babies, children, partners, jobs, chores (cows for some!), all the while trying not to drop a ball on the ground. It is ok to ask for help if you need to, family and friends are only too willing to help if you ask. Giving them some direction as to which task you’d like them to do rather than they do nothing, or doing something that really wasn’t a high priority in your mind.

If you feel you are managing without the odd helping hand, then be realistic with yourself. You cannot and will not achieve everything you set out to in one day. If you have 10 things on your “to do” list and you achieve one of those things then it’s been a good day! Particularly in these early days of being back in your native habitat, your body is still recovering from pregnancy and birthing, you are learning the cues this new baby is giving you (even if you’ve parented before, every baby just as every one of us is different & will potentially give you different cues as to what is required) you’re trying to work out which balls need to stay in the juggling loop and which balls can drop to the ground for a while.

Also remember, one of these balls is YOU. Remember to factor in catching your breath and some time out for yourself. 

Posted in:  A new reality  Baby 0-4 weeks