It’s been four weeks since Ben arrived and despite having been through the baby rollercoaster before, it still turns your world upside down. One minute your baby is just a concept, and the next he’s here and he’s a real being. Just like that your heart is filled with so much love for this tiny person that feels like both a complete stranger and like someone who’s always been part of your life.
People will tell you it’s an emotional rollercoaster, and I can’t think of any other word that describes it quite so well. At no other point in my life have I been so happy and contented one minute, and in floods of tears the next. We’ve struggled with breastfeeding, with tongue tie issues, painful and bleeding nipples, and doubts over whether I could keep going with it all. Despite having felt I was fairly laid back about breast / bottle feeding, when it came to it, in the thick of the baby blues, it suddenly became really important to me and I was devastated and riddled with guilt that it looked like it wasn’t going to work. For some reason the fact that I’d breastfed Max made me feel like I had an obligation to breastfeed Ben too. That I’d be letting him down if I didn’t. There were so many days where I’d just burst into tears all the time. I cried to myself, I cried to John, I cried to the midwives … But gradually, the moments of thinking that I’d never be able to carry on have become less and less frequent and it looks like we’ll be able to carry on.
The memories of sleep deprivation are something that fade with time and it becomes just a vague concept of it being awful – when you’re right back in the thick of it you remember the horror of it all. Up for all hours, feeding, then trying to settle them back to sleep, then desperately trying to get some sleep in yourself before they’re up again the next time. Everything is harder in the middle of the night. The struggles when your baby won’t latch, when they won’t resettle, when you hear the wails from your toddler’s room and know that you’re now going to be up with them. The resentment as you look over at your sleeping partner, or when they wake up in the morning and declare “that was a good night – he was only up the once, wasn’t he?”. Ummm, no!
And yet alongside those moments of frustration and tears are those moments where I look at my brand new little baby and feel like my heart might just explode with happiness. When I look at Max gently stroking Ben’s little face and the way he’ll look up at me for approval that he’s doing it right, that he’s being a good big brother. Watching him shake Ben’s hand, and say “nice to meet you”. Seeing my husband holding Ben and seeing him become a Daddy all over again. Looking down at Ben’s scrunched up little face and thinking how incredible it is that this little being who seems so familiar has only been in our lives for four weeks. Knowing that the final piece of our little family jigsaw is in place.
These are the moments that I want to remember forever. To capture here, before they slip away in the blink of an eye.
These are the moments that it’s all about.
Photo credit: AndThenSheClicked