Well done, lady. Well done.
While I’m sure the words of yet another well-wishing stranger mean very little, I wanted to add my congratulations to the pile. Bringing a new human into the world is no mean feat, even when it’s The Commando coaching you through labour. I can imagine that being pregnant in the public eye wouldn’t have been an ultra-marathon in the park either.
You’ve done a tremendous thing.
It is the
curse privilege of being a new mum that you will, by now, be receiving a lot of unsolicited advice. Everyone has an opinion about how you should act, think and feel during the early weeks your baby’s life. Some of those opinions will be incredibly helpful, some will be intrusive, some judgemental and some will just be plain rude. All of them will conflict.
Don’t feel bad about only taking the advice that works for you and ignoring the bits that don’t – starting with these next dozen paragraphs or so. What I have to say might be the golden breakthrough words you needed to hear, or you may dismiss them as the irrelevant ramblings of a demented woman. Either way, I won’t be offended. You’ve just made a person and are entitled to do whatever the hell you like.
I watched the social media updates and news reports about your pregnancy with a combination of deep, deep horror and bewildered admiration. Girl, you kicked pregnancy’s arse. I could barely lift a cereal box during those final weeks*, let alone 12kg kettle bells. You looked completely content and in control; attacking pregnancy with the same enthusiasm and drive that you bring to everything you do.
But here’s the thing: Those very character traits that have served you so well in life up until now, make dealing with a newborn baby a nightmare.
Discipline and routine mean nothing when you are faced with new challenges that extra effort or commitment can’t actually solve. You and your partner are putting in – not 12 or 14 – but 24 hour days. The difference between between day and night disappears, as you give into an existence that is bone-achingly exhausting and devoid of intellectual stimulation. Your body has undergone a huge physical trauma and you’re so far from prepared to tackle this mammoth task.
In those torturous first six weeks, you lose all control.
Your smarts can’t solve a baby.
Your muscles won’t make him sleep.
Your charisma doesn’t make him latch on properly.
The skills and abilities you’ve spent a lifetime developing are basically useless to the task at hand. And to make matters worse it’s a task that requires 100 percent of your attention. Your wonderful partner will try and share the load but the reality is that there is some stuff only you can do for that baby in those first few weeks. Because you grew him. It’s your smell that he finds familiar, your body that provides ultimate comfort, your milk that is keeping him alive.