New babies bring out the best in people and we’ve been overwhelmed with love, messages and gifts from loved ones, near and far.
It’s also been a week of steep learning curves. This is what I’ve learnt so far:
- It IS easier the second time round. Yes you may have a busy toddler to deal with on top of a newborn, but you don’t feel so overwhelmed, so lost, it isn’t all so utterly foreign. Plus you know you’ve done it once before, which gives you confidence.
- This time you have an imaginary checklist in your head. Babies either need feeding, changing, burping or cuddling. Once you’ve ticked off all four and they’re still unhappy, then only do you worry that something else is bothering them. Most of the time though, it’s one of the four.
- Boys poo and wee MUCH more than girls. I’ve had bright yellow poo shot on to the front of my shirt half a dozen times and it seems like I’m constantly changing nappies.
- Willies are unpredictable things (of course, we fundamentally know this already as women). But taking off a nappy seems to bring on his urge to wee and it goes everywhere! (my face, his face, his clothes etc). This never happened with a baby girl – instead it flowed neatly down on to the nappy you were already changing.
- Humans are animals. This sounds obvious but when you are faced with that newborn crying creature, it looks much more like a monkey or a tree-frog than a sophisticated human. We are utterly helpless at birth and seeing that newborn for the first time also brings out all those animal instincts in you: to protect, to provide and to nurture.
- Little girls are such carers. Rachel has been utterly amazing with her brother, giving him kisses and generally helping me out as much as she can. Of course, it is very early days and I’m sure that jealousy will rear it’s head, but it’s a positive start.
- Giving birth is a big deal. You forget how much your body is going through and underestimate what an emotional event it is. When I was lying on that operating theatre and staring up at the lights, all I could think about was my Mom. The tears were streaming down my face because I knew that as a new life was coming into the world, so hers was already over. Life and death. And immense love, all rolled into one.
And last but not least, you will still look pregnant – even though you are not. My husband told me I had a boep like an old man, which I thought was especially tactful! It’s slowly going down but I’m no Posh Spice and it will be a while until I’m wearing non-pregnancy clothes.
But otherwise we are so in love with our little man – despite the sleepless nights, freezing cold boobs (try breastfeeding in this Joburg Autumn weather!) and haywire emotions, we know we have been incredibly blessed. Here’s to the next week and all the excitement and exhaustion it brings with it.