When I was a new mum I remember one night clearly, despite the newborn fog at the time.
After feeding and settling my baby and then finally drifting off to sleep myself, I was jolted awake again.
“Waaa, waaa, waaa,” I heard from the bassinet at the end of our bed.
I can’t do this AGAIN, I thought. I can’t get up again. I NEED sleep.
But I did.
Even though my husband, stirring from a deep sleep, said he’d get up, I was already on the job.
As kissed my tiny baby’s peach fuzz hair and lay on the bed with him so he could feed (yet again), it occurred to me, my little one has taught me an important lesson. He has taught me that even when I think I can’t keep going, I can. He is making me stronger.
If you are in the thick of it with a new baby, here are nine other lessons he’s teaching you right now.
1. Trust your instincts
You may refer to the baby guides for every little thing, but there will come a time when you stop and listen to your inner mum gut. Because just when you feel like you don’t understand what your newborn needs, you will start to decipher his cries and know what to do. You’ve got this mama! Just keep trusting your instincts. Your baby is a part of you, he will show you what he needs.
2. Let go of expectations
You may have planned on a natural birth or not giving your baby a dummy, but things may not have gone according to your best laid plans. The sleep-deprived early days are all about just doing what your baby needs and nothing more. Right now he’s teaching you to stop trying to be perfect and to just be. He wants you to lower your expectations. You are all he wants and needs.
3. Be prepared
All it takes is for your baby to have his first public poo explosion for you to realise that you need to be a girl guide and always be prepared with wipes, nappies, a change of clothes and a spare cloth.
4. The meaning of life
The moment you become a mother something almost spiritual happens and you are awakened. You suddenly realise that this tiny little human you have been given to love and raise is the meaning of your life. While everything you ever did before he came along matters, nothing will ever matter to you as much as him.
5. It’s OK to cry
The best way your baby knows how to communicate with you is through crying. He doesn’t want you to get upset when he seems to be unhappy, so try to learn to read his cries. He’s telling you something. He’s teaching you that it’s OK to have a little cry yourself. Crying is cleansing and sometimes we all need a little sob to release what’s inside of us and feel better as a result.
7. You are selfless
Right now you are living every day for your newborn and while all that giving is exhausting, it’s also kinda beautiful. Your baby has taught you true selflessness. But don’t worry, as he grows you will start to remember your own wants and needs again, only you will have some more perspective over these.
8. A smile is the best thank you
The moment your newborn smiles at you for the first time is also the moment you forgive him for the sleepless nights, emotional stress he’s caused you and the stretch marks. That beautiful attempt at a smile is all the ‘thank you mummy for everything you do for me’ that you need.
9. You are living a wondrous life
As you stroke his soft crinkly foot and marvel at his teeny tiny toes, a sense of wonder will wash over you. How did you create something so perfect and beautiful? Thankfully, the best part about parenting is that the wonder you feel in that moment, keeps on growing as your baby does. Every time he discoverers something, you will want to press pause on your life. While you can attempt to record everything, it’s hard to bottle a feeling. You are living a wondrous life now because of him.