Attention everyone, settle down and raise a glass, for I […]
Attention everyone, settle down and raise a glass, for I want to make a toast. Here’s to me and my partner who have successfully survived the first week of parenthood. (And more importantly baby Ben survived, too!)
Although it has been challenging with the sleep deprivation and the complete destruction of what was normal life before him and the struggle I’m feeling as I try to look after a tiny baby and my poor partner after her C-section nightmare (although of course, that’s harder for her than me) and the … well, you get the idea; it has actually been a fantastic week.
I’ve learned how to change a nappy, and my first one actually went pretty well (although with midwife intervention for his meconium poo could have filled a swimming pool). I’ve learned how to hold him without the fear that I might break him. I’ve learned he loves classical music, and I’ve also learned something else I want to share with you.
Before he came into the world I read a lot about how for the first few months you give and give and give with nothing coming back, and a lot of my trepidation about knowing he loves me and if I can cope comes from that information. Controversially I shall say that I think that that statement isn’t entirely true. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming to be an expert in all things baby related as I am very much making it up as I go along (with the occasional reference to Google), but I really believe if you look hard enough, you get everything you could ask for from you little one. It’s all in the little things.
But if you blink you might miss it.
I haven’t had a smile yet, and he doesn’t laugh at my amazing singing voice, dance skills and my hilarious jokes (if I do say so myself), but we are able to communicate. And I have found a connection.
On day one at the hospital it felt like I could have been anyone to him. He knew his mummy by the sound of her voice, her smell and of course the fact she could feed him—but he didn’t know me. I was just a heartbeat when he was close and warmth, and although comforting to both of us it didn’t feel like he knew me as daddy. As I tried to hold his fingers, he didn’t grip back. As I spoke there was very little response.
All that has changed, and the first time it did I blinked and missed it. Luckily my partner didn’t.
On day two I arrived at hospital and snuck in at 7:30 a.m. (visiting times started at 8, I know, dangerous living), and when I stepped (or rather stealthy crept) into my partner’s recovery room and said hello, he reacted. I missed it but my partner said his ears pricked up at the sound of my voice. By day three he gripped my finger when I held it towards him, and he began to calm when I sang. Now, on day seven, he sits on my knee and stares at me, taking in my face, my expressions, matching them to my voice, which he is learning to belong to someone important to him, and I swear that when I lean in to kiss him he smiles with his eyes.
Yes, it has been very hard adjusting to such a dramatic change to my life with no clear directions to follow, but already I have learned that the little things matter if you look to see them.