Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Attitude - More important than you think?

I wrote this early this morning on a pad of paper (old school, huh?).  Warning: This is a bit of a long post.  Enjoy and comment if you wanna!

The baby is finally asleep and Tigger is passed out cold from a night spent looking after a colic-y baby.  It's OMG o'clock in the morning.  I could resent that my sleep is non-existent right now or I could use that time for me.  Guess which I'm choosing.

There's something about watching the sun come up that touches my soul.  A new dawn, a new beginning - there's hope in that.  There's a chance of something to start and grow whether it's an idea, a small baby or anything else.

A lot of people have commented that I seem to be coping well with the sleepless nights.  Well, for one thing I'm the relief worker not the on-call worker normally (thanks to my lovely, wonderful hubby - and trust me, no-one is more wonderful than a 2am when they get up to the baby).  And for another, I really think it's about attitude.

I hear a lot of negativity about babies.  Throughout my pregnancy I was asked a lot of negative questions - was I sick a lot? was I too tired? was I fed up yet?  It was almost like I was supposed to suffer through pregnancy like it was an alien invasion and I should long to be back to 'normal'.  I'm not saying my pregnancy was a joy from beginning to end but neither was it endless suffering.  And no matter how I answered the questions - yes, actually I do feel crap today - I would get even more negative responses.  I swear, if I heard the phrase "If you think you are tired now..." I was gonna beat someone to death with my birth ball.

The thing was that until the last month, I maintained a positive attitude and felt pretty damn good too.  I was healthy - in fact I was healthier than I had been for a long time.  I was happy and I felt full of energy.  However, in that last month I let all the negative stuff in.  I started to agree that I was fed up with being pregnant for no other real reason than I couldn't be bothered to fight it any more.  It was easier to go with the 'you must be fed up by now' attitude than to turn around and say 'No, actually, still enjoying it thanks,'.  And you know what? In that last month, I was ill twice!  Maybe it was just a coincidence but as soon as I started spouting the negativity, I got ill.

So, what can I learn from this?  Well for a start, I love being a parent (yes, even at 2am in the morning) and while I look forward to when Cub sleeps through, I'm in no rush for it.  Yes, I'm tired but it's a good tired.  It's a productive tired.  Yes, there are days when I wonder how we will get through the next hour never mind the next day but this experience is teach me so much how can I possible see it as a negative thing.

And the things my baby is teaching me?

  • Happiness is in the small details - a clean nappy; a quiet cup of tea; an old lady smiling adoringly at my baby.
  • How to live in the present - I think we fall into the trap of looking ahead (when will he sleep through the night) or behind us (this was so much easier yesterday) and we lose what is happening right now (Cub held his head up on his own on Wednesday!!!).
  • It is possible to do no end of things one-handed - eating, typing, dressing...
  • Planning makes for greater flexibility - a properly prepared changing bag makes a big difference.
  • Adaptability is key! - Before the Cub was born I had ideas about what I wanted to do as a parent including breastfeeding and not using dummies.  I have changed my mind on many things in response to Cub's needs and I actually think I am a better parent for it.  See my post When Bottle Feeding is Baby-led Parenting for more on that.

And now Cub is waking up for breakfast and the day is ready to begin.  Am I tired? Yes.  Am I happy? Yes!  I know which question is more important to my attitude.


Sgnr.Perceval said...

I totally know what you mean about that positive kind of tiredness you feel, the satisfying kind that says you've achieved things and thoroughly earned that cuppa and a rest!