I wrote these words during those first weeks post partum:
"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
No one. Not your mother, friends, colleagues or even, in my case, my livelihood could have prepared me for life’s biggest lesson.
In the early days, whilst navigating the aftermath, both emotional and physical of having an emergency caesarean, I felt myself frequently overwhelmed by the 24 hour 7 days a week nature of parenting. There were no days off, and in my mind, no help or assistance from well meaning friends and relatives that could trump the attention and care I gave my child. Consequently, there was also no escaping the monotony of feeding, nappy changing and putting a reluctant baby to sleep.
There was also an anxiety to ensure the survival of this precious little bundle. Was he breathing? Were the blankets too high or not tucked in enough? Why was he bringing up milk? Is this colour of poo normal? How many hours was he sleeping a day and was this number enough for his development?
Being a parent changes you forever."
I never finished what I was writing but it was raw and real. Now as my son approached the 4th month of his life, I am able to reflect a bit more clearly on how I have grown as a person and as a mother.
I love Mr HSH more. Before we had our son, we were very close as a couple, rarely fighting, always intimate and shared everything with each other. My husband was my lover as well as my best friend. Its a bit cliche, but when our son (let's call him little HSH) was born, I grew to love him even more. I love the way he bonded with little HSH and he became a very hands on dad, albeit he did not cope well with sleep deprivation.
Having children will tested my patience beyond its limit. Whereas in the early days, I would become endlessly frustrated and desperate when little HSH wouldn't sleep or resettle (he's a cat napper), experience have taught me to just go with the flow. I still obsess about sleep and I always attempt to resettle him, but if he doesn't respond, then I would get him up and try again later. This is especially the case when there is a wonder week or he is learning something new.
Children change. Every day is different. I am still amazed every time I see our son master a new skill. I try to put this into perspective when I get frustrated at him for being cranky or demanding. One day he likes his dummy, and the next day he doesn't. One day he was sleeping 2 hour naps, and the next day napping went out the window. They're resilient though and somehow we all manage.
I learnt that I can be strong and adaptable but also emotional and vulnerable. Being a parent calls for sacrifice but it was also a great lesson in life. It helped me see Mr HSH in a new light as we fumbled our way around the joys and challenges of parenting. I grew closer to my family as my parents became grandparents, and my brothers became uncles. Every one matured and took on new roles and I found myself cherishing my family more than ever before.
What advice can I give myself after this 4 month stint as a mother. Adapt, be flexible, survive and be strong, most of all, cherish the many moments, whether good or bad as a parent. Being a parent lasts a lifetime!