You’ll be hard pressed to find me without a smile on my face these days, I can’t get enough of having a mini version of us to look after. Since Ivy joined us I’ve felt an incredible responsibility to keep both her and her mum safe. I feel a lot like a duck, calm on the surface but kicking like hell under the water.
With all the joy that new parenting brings, a lot of fear comes with it. I felt so confident as a dad during recovery days in hospital, but it’s hard not to when midwives are a buzzer away. As soon as we were granted freedom and let loose into the wild, everything became very real!
You’d think with how tired you are, your head would hit the pillow and you’d fall asleep. Now put your brain into parent mode; is she breathing ok? why did she make that noise? is she warm enough? what if she’s too cold? The questions in my head would go on and resulted in me sitting up every few minutes to check on her. We know how to put her to bed safely but your parent brain never sleeps!
It wouldn’t be England if there wasn’t a random heat wave! Ivy’s first few weeks were met with 28 – 30 degree heat and something we hadn’t really thought would be the case. Defining what ‘hot’ is is a tough one, but over time we’ve worked out when Ivy is comfortable and I never thought I’d be so thankful to see some grey clouds roll in.
This goes back to sleeping, mostly because this is when I would focus so much on Ivy’s breathing. Why is she breathing so fast? is she breathing slowly? or breathing at all? Her breathing, especially when sleeping, is a lot like a puppies when they’re dreaming. It can be really cute but can also put you on edge.
This one I know dad’s out there can relate to. Meg has been an absolute natural from the beginning, I was like a robot when it came to picking Ivy up for the first time. If I needed to rearrange, she would either have to be passed to me or put down and picked up again. They seem so delicate and I felt like my oafish man hands would hurt her. Of course as time has gone on, I have learnt the proper ways and I now pick her up and put her down like I’ve been doing it for years.
Mum and Dad Tiredness
Sleep I miss you. The level of fatigue is incredible, they warn you about it, but no amount of warning can prepare you. This level of tiredness has brought the feeling of being hungover for 2 weeks and when I find myself staring in the mirror at 3am asking ‘how can we carry on like this’ and leaves me fearful of making mistakes as you do when you’re beyond tired. I’m just hopeful things will improve in the coming weeks.
Going back to work
It feels like only yesterday I was leaving the labour ward with Ivy in one arm, Meg in the other, but as of this week I am back to work! I am so proud of how far we’ve both come and we’re proper parents now, but we still have conversations like ‘HOW do single mum’s do this?!’, I also know how demanding Ivy can be, so I’ll be thinking of Meg every second of the day and racing home, I’m just so grateful we have her mum on hand to help!
Ivy has done nothing but bring joy to our friends and family, but When 2 became 3 I was always fearful that a wall (in the form of changing nappies, rota’d sleeping and feeding) would form between Meg and I. Times have been testing, but we’ve found the joy in the stressful times and I’m so appreciative of Meg and everything we have. I’ve learnt that It’s all about making time.
I’m trying to embrace the fact that these fears are normal and part and parcel of being a new parent and wanting to be a great parent. As with every worrying moment we’ve had, they’ve been countered by a wonderful little smile and a reminder that all these moments should be enjoyed!