Becoming a parent is a daunting experience for all of us, and when you have your first child, you simply don’t know what to expect. No amount of book reading or advice can truly prepare for you what’s in store.
The first 1000 days of parenting (from birth through to the second birthday) is such a learning curve. Before you have kids it’s impossible to know what kind of parent you’ll be or what’s awaiting for you, once baby arrives.
I sadly suffered a traumatic first birth with my eldest son, Oliver, now 5.
I had pregnancy liver condition ICP which led to an emergency C-Section and those early days and months in particular, were pretty hard, physically and emotionally. There were good times of course but dealing with sleep deprivation, colic and not feeling myself took time to get over.
When we eventually moved back closer to my family in Leeds from London, things got easier, I had greater support, and speaking to an understanding counsellor, helped me come to terms with all the worry and anxiety I’d endured while pregnant and post birth.
It eventually, helped me feel confident enough to try for another baby too.
My second pregnancy was much easier and the birth, a gentle, tranquil elective meant I felt strong and well, after Alexander arrived.
Xander slept well from the get go too, which really helped and I actually remember feeling like juggling 2 kids was not as hard as I’d imagined.
Every child is different as is every mother and birth experience of course, but there will be a lot of crossover for many during those 1000 days of parenting.
I love that blogging unites so many of us, it often offers a real picture of both the good and the bad times of parenting and most importantly means mothers, and fathers don’t have to feel alone when the going gets tough.
I must mention the many touching, wondrous times too of which there are many, the fact Oliver’s favourite food was yoghurt and would literally head dive into it at meal times. How cute Alexander looked when he finally got that first tooth, the darling sailor suit outfits they both rocked and their contagious little laughter and most importantly the bond and love they share, it makes all the hard times worth it!
NCT and Pampers have recently conducted a study into modern parenting roles and the first 1000 days of parenting, collating revelations that really resonate with me.
The first insight – and this is one I most definitely agree with – is that the sleep struggles persist well past the first year.
I can only dream of getting 8 hours sleep nowadays as my eldest often wakes in the night with vivid dreams and although Xander mostly sleeps through, teething, illness and loud noises that go bang or woof in our case, in the night can mean kids, whatever their age, don’t always have a great night’s sleep.
And the research backs this up. While night waking and disturbed sleep are considered an inevitability during the first year, the majority of parents surveyed, anticipated better sleep during the second year (eek)!
However for around a third of parents (30%) this simply wasn’t the case and sleep problems persisted throughout the first 1,000 days, as with my little ones.
The research also showed that Dads are far more involved in parenting nowadays and rightly so. Peter and I share all our parenting responsibilities equally, supporting each other, both waking up in the night, and dividing responsibility.
Parenting is wonderful, all consuming and life enhancing, but it’s also tiring, frustrating, at times boring even and hard. We need to be honest about those harder times, and support one another so we don’t feel isolated.
Commenting on the research, Dr Abigail Easter, Research Manager at NCT says,
‘This research has told us about the ups and downs of new parenthood, and how important it is that both mums and dads find the support they need as they care for a young baby. Balancing the responsibilities of parenting, work and finances was a key theme to emerge from the research, and affects different families in different ways. Good communication and looking after their own relationship is really important for new parents as they settle into changing roles. This research is just one part of a robust study which will inform NCT’s education, support and campaigning’.
In combination with the release of the research, Pampers is sharing its newborn journey of firsts film on YouTube celebrating the many special first time moments that parents and babies experience throughout the journey of parenthood.
It’s a cute one and you’ll need tissues!
For more information on this campaign visit the Pampers website.