You've Had Your Baby... Now What?

The day is finally here – you are in labour and headed to the hospital.  For nine months you have been leading up to this day.  You have read all the books, done your research, attended childbirth education classes and believe you are prepared to take on the monumental task of delivering your baby and becoming a new parent. 

Your beautiful baby arrives and your hospital stay is 24 hours or longer depending on the type of birth you have had.  While in the hospital, your baby has been in your room by your side the whole time.  You have been showered with gifts, well-wishes and visitors.  You have been taught how to swaddle your babe, bathe them and perhaps had some assistance with breastfeeding.  Now the day arrives for you to take your precious bundle home.  This should be a time of joy and happiness but if you are anything like me, it was a time filled with anxiety and fear.  Most parents will not admit to this fear as the expectation of family, friends and society is that this is supposed to be a happy time in their lives.  I remember with my firstborn as if it were yesterday...packing up to go home, crying, scared and unsure if I knew how to take care of my newborn son.  I was recovering from a c-section, struggling to breastfeed and totally emotionally and physically exhausted.

My husband called in re-enforcements – my Mom.  We took our baby home and I remember crying most of the drive home from the hospital.  When we went into the house, we put his car seat on the couch, looked at each other and said “what do we do now?" – after all, he had been beside me in his crib for five days in the hospital.

My first few weeks as a new mother were far from joyful.  I was emotional, exhausted, sleep deprived and struggling to breastfeed.  My mother was a god-send and supported me as much as she could; even getting up in the middle of the night to assist me in my breastfeeding...she had successfully nursed eight babies and had lots of knowledge to pass along. I was hard on myself and felt like I was failing at the one task I “should” know how to do.  I even said as much to my mother and she had the best response – “Have you ever been a mother before? Stop being so hard on yourself, you are both learning.”

So, in the words of my very wise Mother...stop being hard on yourself.  You may be the best that you can be at your career but you have never been a parent before.  Be patient; take time for your family to learn together.  You don’t have to put on a happy face, ask for what you need and remember – you are ENOUGH.  Your baby doesn’t know anything but the care you give them and they won’t judge you.

Happy new parenting and rest assured that the next go around will be so much easier.