What do you mean, you can’t believe I’ve got more to say on this subject? Well, I have. I will not be silenced, my voice must be heard, I refuse to be interrup…. (sorry, just broke off for half an hour there to run around with a teddy bear on my head, shouting “Whoosh! Weeeee! Oooooh! Splodge!” – fairly rewarding if you have the right audience, but choosing your demographic is key).
I have a seemingly niche view on this baby business, and it’s one I’d like to share (gingerly, quietly, never leaving my back exposed) with people who may do this themselves one day. My earth-shattering revelation is tantamount to this = in the main (special circumstances notwithstanding, please contact my legal team etc etc), it’s ALL FINE. It’s all fine, you will be fine, you won’t make a complete hash of it and it’s not dead complicated. My secret suspicion is that lots of the advice, webpages, forums and woeblogs out there exist solely to make women feel miserable. They help perpetuate the myth that once you’ve pushed a lovely little alien out through your vagina you will be forced to carve out an entirely new identity out for yourself, possibly involving changing the username on all social media accounts to ‘mummy’ something and suddenly and inexplicably using acronyms to refer to your family. You might think, reading some stuff out there, that you’ll no longer be able to chat to your mates who don’t want / can’t have / haven’t got kids and that NO-ONE WILL UNDERSTAND YOU COZ OMIGOD IT’S ALL SOOOOO DIFFICULT.
I’m not saying it’s not hard, like, (it can all get a bit despo when you’re cry-feeding into a box of Maltesers at three in the morning, watching a particularly disturbing episode of Criminal Minds – creating a Nurturing Environment is Soooo Important) but there are cubic hectares of the internet devoted to blogs which describe in painful, waiting-to-die level detail just exactly how much solid stool little Mungo has generated this week. It is hard, but if you’re lucky enough to be a healthy person with a healthy baby, it is also FINE. The hard bits are harder than you think, the great bits are greater than you think. That’s it really, it’s all just fine.
My advice would be (and I’ve thought about this because I wanted to come up with something really pithy and erudite) that nearly all advice can just shit off. If you are a reasonably nice person then I’m sure you’ll do a bang-up job, because most reasonably nice people will try quite hard to look after the human being they brought into existence, like people have been doing for, oooh zillions of years (must check the statistics on that, but ‘a zillion’ sounds sort of right). Whilst the internet has given us many wonderful things – cat pictures, beard tumblrs, Acorn Antiques on youtube – it has provided a previously unprobed level of complexity to some fairly commonly-occuring human activity. Thus when you’re all stressed out and all this stuff is new and a bit of a shock and your baby isn’t sleeping very well and you’re desperate, a few little keystrokes will find you in the midst of hundreds of people in the same position (that position is frequently squatting a corner, wearing a nightshirt that has, frankly, seen better days but for now is held together with blood, toast crumbs and an inordinate amount of your own stinky dairy supply).
Here’s the suckerpunch though – you’ll join this forum, maybe post something, read what others have got to say and YOU WON’T FEEL ANY BETTER. Once you’ve been advised to try co-sleeping, to avoid co-sleeping in case you roll on your baby and suffocate them, to let them cry it out, to never leave them to cry it out, to keep them in your room/put them in another room/hold them/don’t touch them by people who have established themselves as an authority on the matter, you’ll probably find yourself wondering if your bath is deep enough to pull a Virginia Woolf and just leave the whole sorry mess behind. I’ve picked sleeping, in this instance, but you’ll find this state of affairs also applies to feeding, crying, teething, weaning, pooing, smiling and existing. It can be dictatorial, applies a load of unnecessary jargon to some fairly normal stuff, excludes non-kids folk, judges you swiftly and without mercy and is frequently just incredibly, utterly dull.
What people almost certainly won’t say are these things: The first few weeks are a bit shit and it’ll almost certainly get better soon, you just need to hang in there. If someone removed me from the greatest hotel in the world and unceremoniously forced me out through an inadequately-sized catflap, I’d be pretty pissed off too. In there the stream of food was constant and one reclined in an almost permanent state of blissful slumber. Take those things away, and going forty-five minutes without some grub is really going to grate. Add to that your world is now colder, louder and full of enormous shouting monsters who have had the temerity to constrain your beautiful fat nakedness in clothes and STUPID FUCKING HATS, ugh, and it makes sense that it will take a while to settle in. After that point, they might sleep or they might not, and that is just the way it goes, my friends. Shocking, innit, but they’re all different. It’s almost like they’re HUMAN or something.
So my prescription is this is, broadly speaking, ignore all the advice (apart from mine because it’s really, really great) and just get on with it, remembering these maxims. Never, ever settle down to feed your baby without at least three drinks lined up in front of you. Avoid ‘mini-adult’ clothes, waistbands and socks, you’ll all be happier. Up to a certain point, sleep IS replaceable with crisps and Dime bars. To Charly and Clairy, I wish you all the best, you’ll be ace at this because you are wonderful people. Nothing complicated about that xxx