Tag Archives: baby

My best friend’s baby

There are days, like today, when I think I deserve a medal. I often joke to my husband that there are moments when we earn our parenting stripes, and with two sick kids stuck at home, I feel like I’ve earned my fair share this week.

But while I’ve been here playing on the world’s smallest violin, my best friend had her first baby.

A precious baby girl with strawberry blonde hair and a perfect button nose, chubby little arms and those unmistakably long  newborn fingernails.

This delicious package did not arrive into this world easily. She followed a 22hour labour which ended in an emergency c-section. Her arrival shattered long-held dreams about a natural birth, and triggered a serious physical recovery for her doting mother. (Side note: Anyone who thinks a C-section is the ‘easy way out’ needs to be taken somewhere quiet and bitch-slapped.)

The Emergency C-section; an unexpected and unwanted birthing experience.
The Emergency C-section; an unexpected and unwanted birthing experience.

This baby’s arrival threw me straight back to the time of my own daughter’s birth in an almost identical scenario (but, lucky for me, I only had to endure 14hrs of labour before my operation was demanded).

If we’re going to talk about earning our parenting stripes, then let’s talk about the day our children enter this world. They rarely enter it in the way we hope for (ie. A birth with no drugs, no stitches, no tearing, no emergency c-sections….). Emotionally we’re smashed against walls sideways. At times, we are so fuelled with love that we’re riding high on the hospital room’s ceiling. The next minute we’re crashing onto the floor with a thud as we learn that establishing breastfeeding sucks (pardon the pun!) and hurts like hell.

One minute, we are staring at our precious babies in their hospital bassinets, refusing to give our body the sleep it craves because we’re literally addicted to this incredible thing. The next minute, our necks are pressed against our chests as we’re hunched over sobbing, wondering why our baby is crying non-stop and why it has to be that everything hurts so damn much. 

So if we’re going to talk about our parenting stripes, let’s forget about sick kids,  or kids who don’t sleep through the night, or toddler tantrums, or nappy nightmares. Let’s remember the biggest stripe of all… the one we earn the day we become parents. When we learn our biggest lessons, often through a period of immense pain. When we take on immense responsibility while we are weighed down by uncontrollable hormones. When our capacity for loving enters a new dimension, but we’re so fogged up from the birthing experience we aren’t aware that we even stepped through the door into a new world.

To my beautiful best friend, a sister to me, a woman I couldn’t be more proud of…. You have yourself a wonderful gift, and you’ve given all of us a new person to love beyond reason. Well done, you are my hero. You’ve entered the parenting army, and you’ve definitely earned your stripes.

You are already doing an incredible job. Keep going.

XXX

My botched-job DIY baby mobile

Deep down inside I wish I was more crafty. The sort of person who can make their own clothes, turn random bits of cardboard scraps into amazing rocketships for children, and generally just create pretty stuff…But the reality is that I am not that person.

I don’t know my topstitch from my hopscotch.

So what possessed me to embark on a mini craft-adventure during my oh-so-precious maternity leave break?

I asked myself this question after three days of poorly attempted hand-sewing, when I hit yet another stumbling block on the road to my finished mobile. I realised that I my embroidery floss did not fit through the eye of my biggest needle. (Embroidery what-now? Oh OK… floss…right…. I was totally venturing into unknown territory as you can see.)

Here’s the stunning black and white baby mobile what I was trying to replicate from the terrifically crafty youandmie blog.

bw_mobile
Youandmie baby mobile

And here’s my completed result. At least I got the black and white part of it right, huh? SCORE.

myattempt
My attempt

Thing is – I know I am not good at this stuff. I don’t have the patience to sew straight lines, and – as many a highschool teacher used to tell me – I barely take the time to read or listen to instructions. I play things by ear and then wonder where it all went wrong.

At the end of my craft session, completed mobile in hand, my partner was genuinely impressed. “You must be really proud of yourself” he said. Without skipping a beat I informed him that my stitching was all over the shop, I didn’t have the correct length string, my shapes weren’t neat…. You get the drift. My endless barrage of criticism for the fruits of my labour was really just a front for the endless barrage of criticism that attacks my brain each day.

I look at this mobile and my first response is to see imperfection. It looks nothing like the stunning one I was hoping to recreate. It’s a hanging reminder that I’m lacking as a mother in a certain respect. I’m no good at art and therefore my brain tells me I’m going to be depriving my child of important skills in later life.

I seem to forget that I have other skills to offer my children. I mean, I can sing. I make up games in the most boring of situations. I can sort-of-kind-of-occasionally cook good food. Just don’t ask me to bake. But all of this isn’t enough…

I often feel like what I do is not enough.

But in the spirit of trying to change my thoughts to help my anxiety, I have decided to applaud – instead of insult – my efforts. So here goes.

This little puppy didn’t exist before I brought it into creation. I should be proud. Without a sewing machine or the right sized needles, and a very definite lack of experience, I completed the task. And it’s not all that bad really. My baby will think it’s magical. (But then, my baby will think the sound of the fridge beeping when left unopened is magical, so no great critic there.)

So well done to me! I’m no longer “not-crafty”. I’m now officially “occasionally-crafty”. And more important that being good at craft, I’ll have proved an important lesson to myself and my baby-to-be. You’ve just gotta try. Don’t be too anxious to even try. That’s when you truly lose out. And you end up with no mobile at all.

And if you want really really nice homemade stuff, leave it to the people who were born to craft. Check out these awesome one-of-a-kind kiddies clothes from Rebirth of Cool in Sydney.

Harem pants
Rebirth of Cool Harem Pants

 

 

What’s tossing around my head the night before my new baby arrives?

image

My second baby is going to be here smack-bang on time, courtesy of an ‘elective’ c-section*. My new baby probably deserves a German name given how punctual it will be; I’ll put Gretel and Wolfgang at the top of my baby-name list in honour of my child’s promptness.

So I know that I’m going into the operating theatre tomorrow and one might ask – what is going on in that head of mine, knowing I’m right on the doorstep of bringing a new human into the world?

I will tell you.

I’m not thinking about much at all.

I’m eating a lot though. Which is what I do when my body goes into stress-mode. I toss as much food down my gullet as I can (which includes icecream, right now, thank you very much) and just keep on munching until the cupboards are bare. Classic avoidance technique, really. So what emotions am I avoiding? Yep, you guessed it. The daddy of them all. FEAR.

I’m scared that my baby might not be healthy. That I’ve not done enough meditation or drunk too much coffee, or had too much on my plate at work for too long. I’m scared that the health of my child, if compromised, will be all my fault.

I’m scared of the late nights feeding and the screaming, and the constant, never-ending confusion about what is going on in that tiny baby’s mind?!  I’m scared of my husband’s demanding work schedule, knowing he has precious little time already and that I’m going to be left to cope on my own. A lot.

But I’m also wired with excitement. The flip-side of this stress is energy and you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d drunk a bucket of red bull right now. I have baby names swirling around my head as I check my hospital bag for the 100th time. I run my hands over the soft blankets that I’m taking to hospital with me and feel the love bursting from my heart in recognition that soon these blankets will swaddle my child. My CHILD. Wow.

I feel wonder at life in general. How your best planning is often for naught, because life just happens and you crack on with it. The clever people among us will pause and be grateful for the moment, reflecting on how perfect it is that everything is as-it-is.

If you’re like me, before every birthday you will say to a loved one “tonight’s my last night as a 22 year old”. Or before your wedding, “I can’t believe this is my last night as a single woman!” Things are about to change, and you know you can’t hold back time. You look forward to what’s coming, and you mourn what is turning into dust behind you.

Tonight, I say goodbye to life as I know it as a family unit of three. To the contentment we’ve finally found with our first baby, who – at times – challenged us to within breaking point and showed us the true meaning of unconditional love.

I blow the dust of our happy-home routine from my palms, and open my arms to embrace something new. Another challenge. Another joy.

And – in the few hours I have left – I will make sure I finish this incredible pot of icecream.

Jess

*I use the word elective because yes, I did choose this option, but it followed the professional recommendation of my doctor  and I was too damn scared to try naturally after weighing up the risks which had resulted from my hernia and my emergency c-section with baby no1.