I wrote this post a whole year ago (March 2012) when the Little Mister was about four months old. I just found it saved as a draft today. I remember why I didn’t publish it now. I was scared that I would reveal that I wasn’t a perfect parent and that I might be inviting criticism of my parenting abilities. At the time I was very nervous about what other people would think of me as a mum. I cared too much and I gave toxic people/books/expectations too much power over how I felt about myself. I read it now and I’m cool with it! I even have some new thoughts to add to the theme of this post! I might start digging back through my drafts every now and then – have a look at what I was too scared to post and reassess.
I always knew that having a baby would be one giant learning curve – probably the steepest, most Mount Everest-est one there is. I anticipated learning sooooo much about having a child. Things like their needs, their physical development, the impact it has on your life as a person who didn’t used to be a parent, the joys, the tough moments. What to do when they don’t feel well. How to figure out what their cries mean. Stuff like that.
I am constantly surprised by how many things there are to discover about my Little Mister. He changes literally every single day and there are constant new challenges, milestones and celebrations.
One thing that shocks me is that I didn’t really think too much about what I would learn about myself. That learning curve seems just as steep and full of crazy revelations (lots of which are fantastic and pleasantly surprising may I add).
Let’s just say it took having a baby for some of my … issues to come to light. Well, for me at least. I am sure those who know me in real life would have figured it out years ago and are just waiting for Slow Learner Kez to get around to it!
Apparently I have a fear of being seen to “make a fuss” or waste anyone’s time with trivial matters. No, I never thought that would be true about me in a million years. Turns out it’s not a problem when it truly is about trivial matters (I can annoy you no end quite happily if that’s the case), but I have this thing where, when it isn’t a waste of time, when it IS really important – that’s when I decide I might waste peoples’ time or seem like a drama queen. You know – those occasions where it’s not just warranted, but necessary.
I don’t even know if I’m making any sense, but please try to follow…
Case/s in point:
I didn’t call anyone about possibly being in labour until I was almost halfway. I timed my contractions, just you know, on a whim out of interest and when it appeared that my contractions were 4 minutes apart, followed by 2 minutes apart, followed by a painful period where it seemed there was no beginning or end to each one…then I decided to get serious about going to hospital. The baby was delivered 3 hours after I arrived at hospital and it turned out I had a serious infection and needed an emergency C-section ASAP. Yep, that “kind of fever” I had – didn’t wanna bug anyone. Didn’t want to call the hospital in case it was a waste of the busy staff members’ time. Didn’t want to interrupt my parents’ nice weekend. Didn’t want to call my husband’s work number in case I disturbed him at work or annoyed his colleagues.
Of course I was very lucky with the outcome we had. Although the Little Mister and I weren’t super healthy at first, we were OK, alive and going to recover and enjoy each other.
Next time? I’d bug the hell out of everyone at the first sign of a fever or any crampy contractions. What’s the worst that could happen?
This last week the Little Mister was reacting a bit badly to his four month old immunisations. He’d had a slight temperature for the first couple of days (treated well with paracetemol and lots of love), become constipated and was quite gripey in the tummy area. I’d worked on those symptoms making sure he was hydrated and introduced some fruit puree to his diet (which he was so ready for and loved). I massaged his little belly and I gave him a break between being fed and having play time. I’d noticed some little lumps around his bottom, but thought perhaps they were maybe haemorroids or a temporary reaction to his needles (seriously – all bets are off after immunisations – so many crazy things happen to their poor little bodies).
I didn’t want to be that parent who rushes to the doctor over every single little thing. See, I didn’t want to be a silly time waster. Of course things got worse and the rush to the GP happened at 4:30pm on a Friday afternoon – I must have been reeeal popular! I felt heartbreakingly awful when I found out he had an infection that was only going to get worse. I could have sucked it up, seen someone about it earlier and it might not have got so bad that he was crying whenever my husband or I sat him on his bottom. Lesson learnt. He needed anti-biotics and if I’d left it any longer, we would have had a trip to emergency at the hospital.
In all of this, I ignored my gut feeling and let my fear of wasting someone’s time or appearing stupid/paranoid get in the way. I didn’t even know that stuff was an issue for me until this past week!
I was completely and utterly unprepared for all the revelations I’d make about who I am when I had a little one of my own. I am certainly going to work on this because it’s one thing for me to be completely stubborn, proud and concerned about my ego when it’s just myself to worry about, but it’s another thing if I let it get in the way of my baby’s care. I won’t make that mistake again (I hope)!
In the year since I wrote this, I have actually taken my own advice (would you believe it?). I’m no longer afraid of being impolite or inconvenient. My son’s health matters and so does mine The worst that can happen is somebody says, “No.” Whoopee-do. Eventually someone will say ‘yes’.
I’ve made doctor’s appointments (why does everything always happen on a Friday afternoon?!) where I’ve had to insist that they fit me in because I’m not just some whining mum with a silly complaint. I know something’s not right. I’m not rude and I’m not inconsiderate. I show my appreciation when someone has to make special changes to accommodate me. I just refuse to let my self consciousness get in the way of the care of my child. I’m proud of how I’ve grown.
It was scary having a little baby. My first little, real, right there in my arms, baby. I put so much pressure on myself to get everything right, despite not having a clue! I would research everything to death and worry all the time about the tiniest decisions. The worst thing I did was let my fear of “other people” take over. What if this person thinks I’m wasting their time? What if that person thinks I handled this wrong? What if people think I’m just some paranoid new mum who thinks she’s all important and sh*t? Pffft. I AM important. My gut feeling and my parental instinct IS important. Too bad what other people might say. Besides, they’ll just give me something to rant about on my blog
Have you listened to your gut feeling (and taken action) lately? How did it work out for you?