Every three months I share some of my learnings as a new mother. These are my musings on Narayan’s and my journey from 4 to 6 months…
It is a loveless task at first.
Those first three months are spent feeding, holding, caring for, and (even more) feeding a tiny human that isn’t aware of the greater world. It can feel loveless, even though you love them like crazy.
And then they learn to smile. And in time they smile at you or something you have done. And then one day they smile because it is you. That is when things shift.
At four months his personality started to come through, but it was when he developed control on his hands and started moving around that he bloomed. When Narayan turned five months we became best buddies. He knew our routine and seeing him excited just made my day, even on the bad ones.
As he gained more confidence and became aware of familiar places and activities, he interacted with me with confidence, cheek, and curiousity.
Check your ego at the door.
Life is not about me anymore! Nowhere to put the baby so I can dry off at the beach? Drip dry it is! Feel like a sleep in but Narayan is awake at 6am and ready to play? Pour a coffee.
For me there are no more leisurely showers, time spent soaking in the sunlight, lazy afternoons reading for hours, or indulgent home yoga practices with long savasanas (unless I want a tiny hand squeezing my nose).
But I wouldn’t have it any other way…
Daily meditation may be the only time you get to focus on and check in with yourself.
And you need to check in with yourself. You are still a person and while all your focus is centered on the baby, you are still a being processing events, thoughts and emotions. More so than ever before.
Motherhood changes you and it is important to take time to check in and ask yourself ‘How am I doing? Do I need anything?’
Some days just 5 or 10 minutes is enough for me. Just 10 minutes of silence, or nothing. I crave it and it keeps me balanced.
You will struggle to remember what you did with all that spare time.
Seriously… I have no idea what I did with my spare time before, but I am pretty sure I felt like I could use more time to get things done.
Now I master the washing, cleaning and laundry when Narayan takes a three hour nap. And when I do get some free time I often feel a little lost.
For someone so little, they create a lot of laundry.
They really do! I have no insight into this one, I just feel like I am on a constant run of washing, folding and putting away clothes…
The first time you see them get excited, you will probably cry.
Cry with excitement and heart bursting love. The first time they laugh or smile at you is just as amazing.
When I have a bad day with Narayan I take him to the beach or the resort pool and instantly he is happier. Watching him splash the water with his little hands and feet always kicks me out of a down moment.
Narayan is so in the moment. He is happy, or upset, or tired, or hungry. There is no pretence or motive – he just feels what he feels.
Having three of everything is just better.
One of something seems like enough until you are out and that thing is dropped in the dirt and you don’t have water nearby to clean it. And if you have a spare, chances are it will be dropped straight away, which is why you need the third.
I can’t stress this enough. Pack three of everything.
You will crave alone time, then think of them the entire time.
I have spent only a few hours away from Narayan since he was born, and at times I crave a solo trip to the beach… But then I get there and wish he was with me. It’s the craziest!
Those breaks have been short, but they have also kept me grounded and given me some breathing space at times. I am also very happy to see his chubby cheeks when I see them.
The urge to check them while they sleep never goes away.
But it will be less fraught with anxiety. For the first three months I was constantly waking to check he was breathing, and then would fall straight back to sleep. It was an anxious behaviour and I made a concerted effort to break it as there will always be something to worry about.
I still find myself popping in to check on him while he is sleeping, but it is no longer in a mode of fear, but rather one of love.
You will feel as though they have been in your life forever.
I never really understood how having a child could make people feel complete… Until Narayan. Now I get it.
And I often feel his spirit is familiar to me, that I have always known him. But maybe that is just because he is from me. Regardless of the cause, James and I often remark that Narayan feels as though he has always been a part of our lives, it is just now he has a form.
If anyone offers to help, just say yes!
Say yes and do not feel guilty. It takes a village to raise a child. One of the biggest things I miss being here in the Seychelles, is our family.
There are days I would do almost anything for one of our mums to pop over and help with Narayan, make me a tea, and cook dinner.
Many other cultures seeing the raising of children to be the responsibility of the entire family. So if someone offers you support, say yes and enjoy the help.
You are not failing, they are not judging. It is just an expression of love.