Recently, I’ve been thinking that I really should go back and pay a visit to the local NCT antenatal group. The antenatal group is supposed to ‘prepare’ you for life with your new wriggling bundle. In reality though, nobody actually tells you what life is like with a baby. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are several types of people, all of whom try to convince you that having a small baby is quite like having a cat. It’s cuddly, soft, sleeps in a little curled up ball and likes to play with toys.
Firstly, there are the people who claim to ‘not remember’ (my mum falls into this category). Whenever I ask my mum questions like, “did I still wake up 6 times a night when I was 7 months old?” she replies evasively, “oh…I can’t remember that dear.” Personally, I find this very hard to believe! What my mum is probably trying to avoid telling me is that I was still waking up 6 times a night when I was 3 years old. Or else she’s effectively blocked out the nights of sitting on the landing, holding the baby monitor, waiting for a little ball of baby to stop rolling around and go to sleep! (On second thoughts, they wouldn’t have had video monitors in those days, so maybe she was actually blissfully unaware!?).
Next, there are the people who remember everything as cosy snuggles and cooing. I’m sure Edward coos and snuggles as much as any other baby, but he certainly doesn’t do this all the time. Yes, he’s very cute, but at 4 in the morning – not so much! The people who claim to have ‘enjoyed every moment’ are lying. Either that, or they have selective amnesia (my mum?!).
Then, there are the people who try to convince you that having a baby is even easier than having a cat! These (fictitious?!) babies sleep through the night from 3 months, rarely cry, do not try to grab toys/food from other children at playgroups (Edward!) and never scare old ladies by shrieking in their ears (Edward again!). These people are important because if they hadn’t convinced me that it would be nice and straightforward then Edward probably wouldn’t exist. But I’m not entirely sure that they are 100% correct. My mum doesn’t fall into this category by the way!
The last group of people are the ones that tell you to put your life on hold and ‘enjoy your baby’. I can (and do!) enjoy my baby very much, but I also enjoy eating, wearing (fairly) clean clothes and having a shower. My mum could perhaps have fallen into this category had she not complained about the state of my front door panels less than a month after I had given birth. One morning, I opened the front door to find her cleaning them (they did look good though – thanks mum!) so I assume she had got fed up with waiting for me to do them. However, despite the issues with my front door, I have found it hard to put my life on hold entirely. Nathan, in fact, has gone the whole hog and has not only got a new job since Edward was born but has also recently been promoted! This is a great achievement only 8 months after ‘giving birth’ (so to speak – although Nathan still complains that his body hasn’t recovered!).
All in all, 8 months in and we are still adjusting. Although we shouldn’t really moan about the lack of sleep, as our new Microsoft Bands tell us that our sleep duration and restoration is actually above average for our age group. Perhaps people just don’t sleep?!