parent opinion

'For months, I didn't get anything back.' I hated being a mum to a newborn.

When many people see a newborn, lots of women in particular react in a certain way. You know what I’m talking about.

The comments like:

“I just adore their newborn smell, their soft skin, their chubby cheeks!”

“Awwww, so cute! Look at those tiny hands.”

“My ovaries!”

“I’m feeling clucky now.”

“Just so beautiful, can I have a hold?”

These observations of the newborn in question are shot off in rapid fire at the baby itself, to the parents and really to anyone else who is also in the vicinity as if everyone must be also feeling this exact same way, because how could you not?

Often this is followed by reflections of parents who have been where the current ones are, saying how much they love, adore and miss the newborn stage.

And while I do understand that these little human bundles are of course all beautiful in their own way and have much to be admired; I feel differently. The truth of the matter is, I do not love the newborn stage, in fact I don’t even like it. And no, I am sorry to say there is nothing wrong with me and no, I shouldn’t feel bad about it.

For context, I am a mother, I love my children and always have – from the moment I realised I was pregnant and through every stage that has come after that. But I did not like the newborn stage, I do not miss it, I do not wish to experience it again and I am not the only one who feels this way.

The newborn stage is bloody difficult for many people. It isn’t a walk in the park, it isn’t a time to relax and put your feet up and enjoy, it is EXHAUSTING and it is HARD!

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For me personally it was this way because of: the lack of sleep that both myself and my babies had, the total reliance on me keeping them alive (this is a lot of pressure), the impact that extreme exhaustion has on your mind and body (in one word – torture). I hated the emotional roller coaster of hormones that go through you post pregnancy, I didn’t like having VERY limited freedom of my own and doing all of this for someone who didn’t give me, well, really anything back (apart from what they expelled from their various bodily orifices) and finally I loathed the post-natal depression that I experienced each time.

How to avoid parent burn out when you’re in the baby bubble. Zoe Marshall and Sean Szeps discuss on The Baby Bubble:

The newborn stage in theory is short – officially considered the first two or three months of a baby’s life. And it is during this time that you often hear people say “enjoy this time, it goes so fast!” And while the sentiment is coming from the right place, I am here to say for some of us this stage is LOOOOONG! And far from enjoyable.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my babies through all of this and for them, I would do it all over again. But in reality, their nice smelling head and soft skin wasn’t and still isn’t enough for me to swoon like so many others seem to do.

And that’s okay. Not all women have to swoon over babies, they don’t have to love every part of being a parent or being the friend of a parent. It’s like anything in life, we don’t always feel the same way about it or have the same tastes.

When my children got older and began to babble, then talk, then play and interact that’s when I found my mum groove. I loved taking them on trips outside to point out everyday things that for them were so amazing. Clouds in the shape of unicorns or leaves that would crunch under their gumboots. These were the moments that made and still make me swoon, that make me say “aww.” And although they don’t make me clucky (it ain’t happening), I love them and cherish them more than anything.

So, while people go ‘gaga’, quite literally, for babies as they’re introduced by their parents, I stand back and pat their dog, chat to their toddler or ask their parents how they are doing. Because all of those things are far more enticing for me than the baby. I will, however, be there to swoon in a year or two.

How did you cope with the newborn stage? Do you feel the same way about newborns? Tell us in a comment below.

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