“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. Our Lethabo-Thabo is renting Jaimie Sarah’s apartment while she is in London and invited Jaimie to share her parenting experiences. Jaimie is a life and business coach and the founder of Definitely Definitely; she has recently given birth to her son. So, this week’s post is by Jaimie Sarah who reflects on what she wishes someone had told her about parenting.
by Jaimie Sarah
I recently became a mother, in October, to a gorgeous baby boy.
Prior to his arrival, many people told me to prepare for the sleepless nights, for life to “never be the same again”, for things to become more “expensive”, and all the usual clichés. They also asked when we would be moving to a bigger home (often).
But there were a few things nobody told me.
Nobody told me to prepare for an intense emotional rollercoaster, both during and after the birth. My son’s birth didn’t go at ALL to plan, so there was that, and it definitely made everything harder.
But there’s also the physical and hormonal changes and shifts that make you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster like no other… that once you’re in the middle of it, other mothers will reassure you about “oh yes, that’s normal, carry on”, but NO ONE tells you before!
As though it’s kind to not warn you, or you wouldn’t be able to handle it or you might spontaneously combust or refuse to procreate if you were warned in advance.
I’m all for forewarned is forearmed. And even with the rollercoaster, it’s STILL TOTALLY WORTH IT. Obviously!
I also wish someone had told me “It’s okay if you hardly want to see anyone for 8 weeks”. I remember the two pictures on the whiteboard at antenatal class that the teacher had drawn. One was of a bed with two grown up people and one small human in, with “Week 1” written underneath. The second was of a sofa with two grown up people and one small human on, with “Week 2” written underneath.
We were specifically instructed to NOT try and operate “business as usual” during those first couple of weeks, but neither my partner nor I were prepared for the emotional effects at all.
It’s a very special and sacred time when you have a new human in your home. Especially as a woman, you’re navigating the transition between this human being inside your body and suddenly out in the world.
I didn’t really want to see anyone except my partner, not even close family. It was a very special incubation period, and I felt so fragile and protective. I just wanted to stay in a safe cosy bubble with my baby and partner for a while. If anyone else came into our bubble during the first couple of months, I felt uneasy and intruded upon. My partner hardly recognised me.
So, whether you are preparing to become a parent soon, or further along the line, or simply know someone who is. Let them know that it’s okay if they go slightly or even very crazy for a bit. It’s perfectly normal, totally worth it, and the most important thing is that they must be empowered to speak up, to share how they’re feeling and to ask for help.
I also wish someone had told me “It’s natural for old childhood wounds to resurface”. I really genuinely thought that after lots of personal development work I’d dealt with all my childhood stuff, done, dusted, peace made, badaboom badabing. But it really came roaring back up after birth. So again, be prepared, but also know that old wounds can resurface but they can also re-heal, and heal even stronger than before. And again, share how you’re feeling and ask for help.
Remember, that if things don’t go to plan then it doesn’t mean you have failed.
Last, but not least, I wish someone had told me that it is TOTALLY POSSIBLE to have a tiny baby, and a business/career. BUT, you must be willing to delegate. You can have the best of both worlds, but you cannot do it all, and you cannot do it alone.