During my pregnancy I spent a lot of time reading. I am pretty sure I read ALL THE BOOKS related to caring for a baby (including the books that recommended not reading books). I felt super prepared and ready for the “challenges” that the books neatly laid out. Of course, it wasn’t going to be easy, but I now knew what to expect, so it couldn’t be that bad.
On November 29th a huge dose of reality smacked me in my face when my son was born. At first everything was great, including the first night after coming home from the hospital when he SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT. We had it easy, I thought.
It went quickly downhill. We learned about the fourth trimester and the hell that is baby gas. All those books I read, were swiftly chucked into the trash can! If rocking my baby gets him to sleep, that is what I am going to do. If sucking a pacifier makes him happy, then he can have it!
It was a rough transition, but amidst the sleep deprivation, constant rocking/bouncing and dirty diapers, I finally had a moment of clarity. I needed to let go of the idea that there was some magic formula to having the perfect baby, and just go with the flow of MY baby and MY instincts. I started watching for his cues (which do eventually become more obvious), instead of trying to make him fit into the recommendations of a book.
It was a lot easier said than done, but I started to look at the books and blogs differently. I took other mom’s experiences as individual experiences, that may or may not work for my baby, but I could usually get something useful out of it that might apply to what I was going through. If nothing else, at least they helped me realize that I am not alone in this crazy journey of parenting.
So, to other new mamas and dads out there, my best advice is you will get through it. Yes, you will hear this 100 million times, and yes, it may seem impossible and never ending sometimes. But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you are not alone. Follow your instincts, don’t stress about what the books say you should be doing and you will do great.