There is a word
There is a word. An actual word that you can find in any variation of dictionary you choose to consult. The word is scatological. It sounds important, yes? Like some sort of highfalutin scientific something or other. Very impressive indeed. Especially when you consider what it means. As a first time Mum who spends much of her time cleaning her baby’s backside, I am perpetually in a scatological state of mind, which is to say, I am preoccupied with human waste. That said, I have been advised to refrain from sharing my scatological exploits out of respect for my daughter, who might Google my name one day and find a bunch of misguided odes to her poop. So even though I have learned to wipe a baby’s butt like a true champ, today I choose to reflect on the other lessons I’ve learned since the nurse yelled, ‘I can see her head!”
I know I’ve probably said this many times before, but caring for a newborn is chaotic. If you’re a first time Mum, let’s be honest, you really have no idea what you’re doing. You’re just trying not to kill the child. About a week into it, you’re might as well have been hit by a bus because you sure do feel like it. Taking care of a little human is more work than you would think. It’s rewarding, but it’s work all the same. In the first few weeks, you give and give and give, without any discernible acknowledgement from your baby. So for a while there, it can feel like you are plugged into an energy draining socket, with little hope for that energy to be replenished. And because you’re also super worried that something terrible will happen to the baby, you find yourself waiting to exhale. Holding your breath and crossing your fingers that all will be well. But you know what, no matter how well you think you are doing, nothing you are doing is keeping your child alive. God is. He’s got both your backs. So just relax. Breathe. Everything is going to be alright.
Smell the roses
There is so much excitement leading up to the birth of a child. You’re anxious to see what it is exactly, that you helped create. That, plus being pregnant gets really old by the time you hit the nine-month mark. And even older when you start straying into 10-month territory. They say that elephants gestate for 24 months? Yeah, as a human being you have less than half of that to contend with, but you sure do feel like an elephant. Probably look like one too. So when baby finally comes, there is much joy and jubilation, well, until the sleepless nights start to add up. When you’re cross eyed from a continuous loop of breastfeeding (or bottle feeding), diaper changes and baby bath times – assuming you’re not also dealing with a sick child – you can forget the child and focus completely on the care. Try not to do that. It’s the baby that matters. Everything else is noise and busy work. Engage your child no matter how young they are. Talk, laugh, sing, love. Enjoy the profound beauty of motherhood.
Open your heart
Actually, you won’t have to make an effort for this one. Your heart will break. There’s a lot of stress and worry that goes with having a child. It can get a bit heavy on the soul to contemplate an individual’s entire future, especially when it feels like you are holding their life in your hands. So in that sense, your heart breaks every day, because you know the kind of world you’ve brought a child into. But in breaking, it opens and all this love comes pouring out. So much so that you feel like your heart is both breaking and bursting. The love you feel for everything else pales in comparison. Life was black and white and suddenly it’s in colour. You find out that your capacity to love another human being is much larger than you could have ever imagined and it’s the finest feeling in the world. The best thing about it is that your baby will give it all back, unrestrained and without reservation.
Make a plan
Children are a huge responsibility. Warm feelings of unconditional love notwithstanding, you must have a cold, hard plan for baby’s future. It’s never too early to start saving for your child’s education, to start thinking providing the necessary support for her to pursue her dreams and aspirations. So it is essential to formulate a solid financial plan early. They may say that when (wo)man plans, God laughs, but being prepared never hurt anyone. Do what you can do.