parents

The first three weeks will end. One mother's advice to Will and Kate.

Yes, they’re royal. But they are also about to be first time parents, so give them some space to enjoy that… (and freak out a little).

By ALYS GAGNON

We need to leave Wills and Kate alone for a while, guys. I know we’re all super curious about the royal baby, and *squee* newborn! Really, though, we need to leave them alone.

You know why? Because babies are scary. Yep – teeny, tiny and terrifying.

Don’t be fooled by how helpless, adorable and deliciously squishy babies appear at first glance. Newborns are designed to capture you as soon as they’re born. They stare blankly up into your eyes, hungry and helpless and while you’re not handcuffed, don’t let yourself be fooled. There is no escape from the sleepless upheaval in your life.

Babies change your life, in ways you didn’t understand or expect when you were pregnant. There is nothing that anyone can say that prepares you for how your newborn will upend everything you ever thought about world. Those first few weeks with a baby can be a deeply unsettling time for many first time parents.

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are only human and will likely experience something very similar to that which most first time parents experience.

I don’t think it matters who you are or how famous you are, your first child is both a great joy and a rude shock.

Whenever I meet new parents-to-be, I usually say something like, “I won’t give you any advice, but I will promise that the first three weeks will end.”

The parents-to-be usually look slightly confused. That’s a statement that both makes sense (like, obviously) and doesn’t make any sense at all.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some people that sail right through the first few weeks of parenting their newborn. But most of us become hopeless, sleepless, harried and slightly unshowered crazy people.

Alys with her son

That was me.

I was Bambi, staring into the headlights thinking, “what the hell is that and is it going to eat me?”

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Babies are amongst the most beautiful objects in the world. But I couldn’t believe that I had been given this squirming little thing with no bowel control to look after FOR THE NEXT EIGHTEEN YEARS.

It was some time before I was able to look into the face of my child and feel calm and collected about being a parent.

Thankfully, I didn’t have that part of my life splashed across the front pages of the tabloid press.

I get pretty excited about other people’s newborns. They’re squishy and delicious. They smell amazing. (I’m not joking Jamila, they smell amazing.) Plus, when they’re not yours you can have them for the nice bits, the cuddling and giggling, and then when that’s finished you can give them back.

So, I’m pretty excited about the royal baby. There will be adorable pictures and excruciatingly delicious details. But I also feel a certain sympathy for Wills and Kate and the fact that they will, in all likelihood, have to live the first few weeks of their baby’s life in the spotlight.

God knows I nearly crumbled under the pressure of my son’s first weeks and I didn’t have the paparazzi sitting outside my front door.

So, that’s why I’m saying, we need to leave them alone. We need to let their HRH’s get through that overwhelming period in private. Let them find their way as parents on their own.

Let them be to quietly discover their child, and learn how to respond to it.

Let them be to find the rhythm of parenthood outside of the glare of the spotlight.

And, most importantly, let experience the quiet, calm joy of new life and new love in peace.

Alys Gagnon is a mother, a wife and works in politics. She is the daughter of an ordained Anglican priest, grew up in the Anglican tradition and is a former member of the Anglican Synod of Canberra Goulburn Diocese.

Did you freak out a little when your firstborn arrived? Do you think the media will give Will and Kate a rest? 

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