Having had my first baby in August 2014 and my second baby in July 2015 life has been a little bit like a newborn merry-go-round for the last 22 months. Don’t get me wrong giving birth, cradling that newborn and bringing them home is a wonderful magical experience that I have been privileged enough to do twice in my life. It is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my days. But with it comes a demanding, emotional roller coaster. A demand on you, your body, your sleep, your relationship, your everything. Every part of you and your being is engulfed by this new baby fog.
As my youngest is a month away from his first birthday I can’t help but feel that the fog is slowly becoming a mist and that oh so demanding baby phase is easing. Don’t get me wrong with an almost two-year and almost one year I am still (together with their dad) the most important and needed person in their little lives, I know they still need me for everything and I happily do it but things are undoubtedly easier.
I do believe that this feeling ties in strongly with the fact both babies now, for the most part, sleep through the night. Don’t get me wrong, we still have teething and poorly nights but on the whole some normality has returned to our nights and I get more than 3 hours of interrupted sleep….dare I say it a night of. It did feel as though this day would never arrive, it was only a few months ago I was tag teaming between both babies throughout the night.
But it is not just this, the constant feeding has relented, the expressing milk, the sterilising bottles, the constant requirement to take a bag of prescription pre made formula (and bottles) whenever we leave the house has eased. In fact now if we are out and the babies are hungry there is no rush to get home or I don’t need to have packed a puréed lunch, they can eat out or I can buy a sandwich for them. It is a simple thing but it has without doubt made life easier and afforded us a little more freedom.
There is also the little things, like they are easier to bath, they can both sit and play in the bath without me being doubled over supporting them and trying to keep them afloat. You don’t have to time your day around the next feed, the chances of leaving the house without a poo explosion in (or out) of the nappy have greatly reduced, in fact the need to carry a change of outfit with you when you leave the house is more or less non-existent.
I also feel a new sense of freedom – for want of a better word. When your babies are new and so tiny going out without them isn’t just hard because you need a baby sitter but it is hard because you don’t want to. You don’t want to be parted from them. You don’t want to miss something they might do, you don’t want them to miss you or to need you and you not be there. As time has passed this has become easier, I am more relaxed at leaving my babies with their dad (I know, I was that bad!) or grandparents. I finally feel in a place where I am able to plan an afternoon out with friends and look forward to it, or we are able to plan a social occasion with the babies because we know they can sit in a high chair and eat a meal with us – I am talking family friendly places here people not fine dining, we all know eating out with toddlers brings a whole new bundle of fun. There is a lot still can’t and don’t do but nonetheless I can see glimpses of my old life or my future life where socialising was actually part of said life, I can see holidays where I am not stressing about a feed on the journey or the flight with a baby…Just toddlers now, hmm…I can see routines being broken, without accompanying stress levels about whether it will affect their sleep. I can see a future that is not dictated by the every want and need of a baby but rather that of the family as a whole and every member in it.
Whilst I sound gleeful at this prospect (and parts of it *ahem sleep deprivation ahem* I certainly am) it does not come untarnished. My second baby was also more than likely our last baby, and whilst perfectly content with this decision it is a sad one nonetheless. To think I will never have that smile you see on mums in their first hospital picture with their newborn, or that I will not hold my own teeny tiny human for the first time again does make me sad. When I see my friends welcome in their newborns or announce pregnancy’s I cant help but have just an ounce of sadness that I will not go through the wonderful journey they are about to.
I know the next stage won’t be plain sailing we have already encountered the terrible twos, the tantrums, the food refusal, iPad hogging, sibling rivalry for mums attention, refusal to share and I know this will only get worse as Baby 2 catches up with his older sister, and can run with her and take his toys back. God only knows what it will be like when they both
talk argue with or at each other. I know there is a lot more to come, good and bad.
Whilst I do feel as though baby 2 is very much a baby, due to his prematurity his corrected age is coming up to 9 months, so he is not walking or crawling or even cut his first tooth, yet, despite this that ever repetitive phrase that is retorted to new mums ‘its just a phase’ seems so poignant as I start to bid the ‘new-baby’ days farewell. It was a bloody hard and tiring one, but a life changing and wonderful phase that I will treasure and am blessed to have had. It was just a phase, a phase that is passing, or even passed. The blurry hazy new born fog is clearing and the rays of toddler-dom, and all that come with it have started to shine through. Wish me luck.
Have you recently said goodbye to a passing phase? Are you sad to see the back of it or happy it is finally over? I would love to hear from you.