Exciting news! I’ve had the twins. OK, it’s not exactly new news, it happened seven weeks ago, which you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter. And while it’s the second time around for us, it’s been eight years since we last had a small baby to look after, so there are a few things I’d totally forgotten. Things like…
- Sleep deprivation is a killer. Not literally, thankfully, but NEARLY. As quite a few people have said to me lately: There’s a reason that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. We’ve spent the past seven weeks in what can only be described as THE NEWBORN FOG. It’s this weird haze-like existence where I find myself not sure which day it is, whether it’s day or night, and when people ask me the most basic of questions, I struggle to answer. Like when the health visitor cheerily asks what’s the name of my babies. Me: “Errrm…..” Of course, I hadn’t actually forgotten that parents of newborns feel tired, but my mind had helpfully blocked out the memories of how brutal this stage can feel.
- It’s a huge cliché but I miss drinking hot tea! I’ll make myself a mug of tea, and 60 seconds later, one of the twins will start crying and will need cuddles and soothing, which is hard to do while enjoying a hot cuppa. Apparently scalding your newborn just to get a caffeine fix isn’t the done thing (Tsk! People are so OTT with health and safety these days, aren’t they?) Another time, Mr P will kindly make me a cuppa, but I’ll have just started breastfeeding the twins and 45 minutes later when I’m finished, the tea is cold. I should just accept it, shouldn’t I? It’ll be months before I can drink hot tea again…
- The invisible tie that exists between you and your baby is intense. Now, according to science bods, this is all linked in with oxytocin, the hormone which is released in new mums and babies. But I can be in another room, knowing the twins are perfectly fine and being looked after by their dad, yet if I hear one of them start crying, it’s like I can feel it in my body and I get the urge to go and comfort her. Mr P doesn’t react in the same way, so is this something that only happens with mums? It’s fascinating stuff.
- Being responsible for keeping these small creatures alive is a lot of pressure. I’m breastfeeding, so my days and nights often feel like a never-ending cycle of feeding, burping, settling and then having – maybe – an hour or so to rest or shower/eat/hang out with the eight-year-old, before it’s time to feed again. I remember, last time, feeling like it’s so much pressure, being 100% responsible for keeping this small human alive. And it’s the same again this time, but with two small humans! The funny thing is: I’m still responsible for keeping the eight-year-old alive, but it feels so much easier when they’re eight, doesn’t it? She kind of looks after herself for the most part, with just the odd bit of input from me and Mr P.
- It’s hard to believe life will return to ‘normal’. Now, I’ve got the benefit of experience here. I’ve done this before, been in the newborn fog before, experienced the sleep deprivation and the endless feeding cycle before, and YES I came out the other side. Life eventually went back to something that vaguely resembled normality. Yet… now that I’m back here again, the ‘real world’ where people pop to the shops, meet friends for coffee and go to the pub – it all seems so alien to me. I find myself watching TV, and curiously observing characters going about their day, doing very normal things, and yearning for my life to be like that, not entirely convinced that it ever will. Of course, I’m not wishing away my time (“Cherish every moment!” and “They don’t stay small for long!” as those really annoying people say if you give them half the chance) but I think it’s OK to want life to be back on an even keel.
- One minute you can be nailing it and the next… yep, you guessed it, you feel like this parenting malarkey is totally beating you. Just last night, I had one baby peacefully asleep in a sling and another happily snoozing next to me on the sofa, in her Sleepyhead. I was watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix while Mr P helped the eight-year-old in the bath, upstairs. I had a proper smug moment where I thought “This isn’t that hard, you know!” Five minutes later, both babies were screaming, the eight-year-old was in tears because she had a tummy ache and my stress levels were sky high. I’d forgotten how quickly things can turn on their head, with small babies.
So there we have it – six things I’d forgotten, and I’m very sure I’ll keep being reminded of more and more things as we carry on this journey… which you can follow most days, over on Instagram if you fancy it!