Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Week 6: the struggle is real

Week 6 of our life with Anna was really hard. All the work I'd done to get to a state where I was 'managing' unraveled before my eyes, and I was once again crying at 1am, 2.30am, 4am, 5am etc. It's actually scary what just a few nights of little sleep can do to a person.

Some people live in the past. I, however, project my worries into an imagined future. So, when our little baby who was sleeping for 2.5-4 hour stints from about three weeks began waking up every 40 minutes, or not settling at all, I freaked out. I imagined that that was it, I had broken the tenuous balance of 'just enough' sleep, that it was my fault and we were going to spend the next 12 months getting up on the hour. 'But I need to finish my PhD', I sobbed to myself. 

I knew week 6 is a huge developmental milestone for a baby. Anna was going through some serious stuff - all that growing and figuring out is exhausting and scary for such a tiny human. Instead of acknowledging that it was an important phase, and she would grow out of it, I freaked out. I didn't see the good - how we'd successfully taken the train on our own and becoming more relaxed feeding in the wrap. I only saw the scary, uncontrollable things.

A lot of good came out of that week. Anna looks into our eyes with a face lit up with a big smile now. She gurgles and babbles. If you try to hold her on your knee she determinedly straightens her legs and 'stands'. She sits in her bouncer and watches curiously as I do things in the kitchen. Her eyes follow me or Leo around rooms. Can anything possibly beat that?

I'm writing this for the sake of providing a well-balanced account of my experiences of life with a newborn. I sometimes struggle. It's ok to struggle, but it's also important to put those struggles into context, into the catalogue of 'life experiences' and not blow them out of proportion. The most important thing to remember: if you freak out in the middle of the night and throw a huge strop, always remember to say sorry.

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