I'd like to welcome my second guest blogger of the week, Naomi. I have a feeling that Naomi's journey is one that many are going to relate to. It's a lovely honest post. Well worth a read.
So I returned to work a few weeks back and have been asked so many times since returning “the last one?” “are you going to have more?” and I find it hard to answer either way. I know I don’t want any more children but, I do want to do it again. Let me explain………………
I have two gorgeous children Orson who is 4 and Emie who is 10 months and how very different their first few months in life have been. I had amazing home water births with both of them but that is pretty much where the similarities end. The transition from non-parent to parent was a really hard one for me, all through the pregnancy I got told how I would be a natural, how with my organisation skills our child would be sleeping through the night, blah blah blah…….. It didn’t come naturally at all! I was in a lot of pain following his birth, it was the middle of winter, breast feeding was not going to plan, he was crying all the time I was crying all the time, Jamie didn’t know what to do and my baby wasn’t doing what the book said. We were all exhausted I continued my degree at university after Orson was 6 weeks old and I got through each day by the skin of my teeth hanging on for the elusive 3 months old when he would start sleeping through like everyone said.. Well that date came and went and still sleep was but a distant memory we all plodded on doing what the book said, and the health visitors, and the family, and the sleep therapist and no amount of crying it out, being hard, learning to self soothe was doing any of us any good.
I went back to work when Orson was 10 months and tried to continue a career and be a mum, and after about a year we started to just accept what was. The books were left ignored, appointments were missed and we started to be OK. Its true you do start to get used to less sleep it didn’t stop me being angry about being tired a lot of the time when Orson still wasn’t sleeping when all my friends little ones were. They all had the same advice “leave him to cry and he will go to sleep”. I just couldn’t do it! I didn’t bring him into my bed for fear of the shame of having to tell everyone that we were doing the worst thing imaginable letting our baby sleep in our bed but, we did go to him and Jamie and I took four hour shifts every night. I got promoted at work and went back to full time hours, and we clung on to the one thing that wasn’t lacking …… love!
Finally at three years old Orson slept through the night for 3 nights on the trot we felt amazing and we decided it was time for another baby…………… go on laugh………
Now, fast forward 9 months Emie has arrived with us, a faster delivery, a smaller baby, summer and acceptance are already with us. We are ready for no sleep and Orson is still waking almost every night at least once, just to check in more than anything so we are in a new rhythm. Breast feeding hasn’t gone to plan again, but this time I’m ok with it. We move to formula and embrace the fact that Orson can help feed his sister and feel involved and we move on quickly leaving dreams of breastfeeding forever behind us. Jamie and I are already taking shifts having her sleep on our chest downstairs so the other can catch z’s and attend to Orson if he wakes. We cuddle her when she needs it, feed her when she asks for it and just enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still hard, and what I wouldn’t do for a hint of routine or any idea what might come next but, this time we are doing it on our terms. We are BRAVER! We are telling people how we are parenting. We are not ashamed when we tell our family and friends that Emie sleeps in our bed and from time to time Orson joins us too. I don’t care how my friends look at me when I throw Emie or Orson on my back and wrap them as close to me as my own skin and I laugh with them when we talk about how I have turned into an earth mother or a hippy. And, we accept the eye rolls of our parents and the rods for our backs that we are creating as “times have changed” we tell them, “how do you think we parented as cave people” and are parents go along with our new age ways. And all of these reasoning’s and explanations become justified and obvious to everyone when Orson interrupts his play time just to turn to anyone in the room to tell them how much he loves them (at the moment it’s all the way to the moon when its day time) or, when like a hippy Emie is wrapped against my back snoring her head off with the utter face of contentment so let’s be honest, who can really argue with that?
But what I can’t change is that we didn’t feel this way with Orson and we felt like we were doing it wrong. I want to go back and tell Jamie and I that we are doing great and to not be ashamed. To just do it our way and stop worrying about what everyone else is telling us. I know I can’t and what makes it OK is that I know we were just learning, finding our way into the confusing and overwhelming world of parenthood and, Orson is the most loving, sensitive happiest little boy we could have asked for so really what did we do wrong? Nothing! But still I feel like I want to start again so here you see my dilemma and I am sure you can agree that no-one at work really wants to hear that long explanation, I think they are looking for more of a polite “yes/no” answer.
So what’s the moral to my story well there isn’t one so I will end it with a message. To all the parents out there, on those days when you doubt yourself I mean really question whether you are fit to be a parent as your parents are telling you about “back in their day”, your friends are pouring out advise you don’t want to hear, and you have made yourself 3 cups of tea that have gone cold whilst still in your pyjamas at 2 in the afternoon, genuinely from me to you:
“High 5” you made it through the night! And secondly, you are an amazing parent, your child(ren) don’t care that your still in your pjs and you haven’t brushed your teeth, they love you know matter what and hey, tonight you might get some sleep, or tomorrow you might make it to the supermarket, or hoover or any of the things you meant to do today.. The people spouting advise genuinely want to help you so try not to take it to heart and, be proud in your choices they are right for you and yours whatever they are. We are all on our very own journey so own it!