A UK maternity hospital shared a touching open letter to mums and dads and it’s the one they need to print out, stick on the fridge door and read when times are tough.
It gets better
Not only does this missive sum up the triumphs and tricky bits of being a new parent, it’s loaded with practical advice on how to deal with the darker days, and – very importantly – how to catch a glimpse of life from a tiny baby’s point of view.
Those early days of parenting can feel relentless and exhausting, so these compassionate and commonsense reminders of how to forge on might provide some light at the end of the tunnel for worn-out or worried mums and dads.
Dear Mummy and Daddy
Please keep this letter from me in a place where you can read it and re-read it when things are rough and you are feeling down.
Please don’t expect too much from me as a new born baby, or too much from yourselves as parents. Give us both six weeks as a birthday present, six weeks for me to grow, develop, mature, and become more stable and predictable – six weeks for you to rest and relax and allow your body to get back to normal.
Please feed me when I am hungry, I never knew hunger in your womb and clocks and time mean little to me.
Please hold, cuddle, kiss, touch, stroke and croon to me. I was always held closely in your womb and have never been alone before.
Please forgive me if I cry a lot. I am not a tyrant who was sent to make your life miserable, the only way I can tell you I am not happy is with my cry, bear with me and in a short time, as I mature, I will spend less time crying and more time socializing.
Please take the time to find out who I am, how I differ from you and how much I can bring to you. Watch me carefully and I’ll tell you things which sooth, console and please me.
Please remember that I am resilient and can withstand the many natural mistakes you’ll make with me. As long as you make them with love, I cannot be harmed.
Please don’t be disappointed when I am not the perfect baby you expected nor be disappointed with yourselves when you are not the perfect parents.
Please take care of yourself; eat a balanced diet, rest, and exercise so that when we are together, you have the patience and energy to take care of me. The cure for a fussy baby is more rest for Mum.
Please take care of your relationship with each other. What good is family bonding if there is no family left for me to bond with.
Keep the “big picture” in mind. I’ll be like this for a very short time, though it seems like forever to you now. Although I may have turned your life upside down, please remind yourselves that things will be back to normal before long.
Enjoy me – I’ll never be this little again!
“Lovely, and so true”
Parents – especially experienced parents – began responding emotionally to this letter from the get-go, sending it viral overnight.
“This is lovely, and so true. It’s a shame there probably isn’t enough budget to give a copy of this to every new mummy in hospital after their baby is born. It would have helped me a lot after my first arrived,” one mum posted.
“You only see the truth of this when your baby is not so dependent any more. It’s a beautiful letter,” another parent wrote.
“As a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother this is such sound advice. I wish I had this letter when my first baby was born 45 years ago,” a seasoned parenting pro commented.
This letter is a reminder that parenting can be the toughest job, but that adapting to the changes gets a little easier as time passes. More importantly, you are not alone!
At a time when we’ve never been more connected, technologically, yet have soaring rates of postnatal depression and anxiety – in mums and dads – it’s also important to remember that if things are feeling terrible and impossible, reaching out for support is vital.
Not everything can be “sucked-up”. Sometimes getting help from the experts is the very best approach.
If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of post-natal depression – please don’t be afraid to reach out. PANDA are waiting for your call and want to help.