Becoming a parent for the first time is a big deal, I think it's safe to say everybody knows that. But in January of this year, myself and my partner started our pregnancy journey, woefully underestimating what the world had in store and how much our lives would change.
Nine months later, in the strange new world we know as COVID 19, our wonderful daughter Daisy Jean Patricia Aspreno arrives, blissfully unaware of the mounting fear inside me. During our journey, friends and family had warned, advised and told us about certain aspects of parenthood and how hard it can actually be. But there are a few things worth knowing that they coincidentally left out....
Nobody prepares you for taking that tiny and beautiful baby home. Nobody tests you on how to hold her or how to feed and change her. It's no surprise then that self-doubt can and will creep in at any moment. When you're responsible for raising the most precious being you've ever met, self-doubt can take control. Constantly second guessing every bottle or cuddle you give can be mentally draining but after a while you realise everybody goes through the same thing, there is no manual on parenthood and there is no right or wrong way to raise a child. I imagine the self-doubt never goes away, but when you see her first smile or first interaction, you realise you can't actually be that bad!
Babies are strange
One thing I really wasn't prepared for is how strange babies can actually be, she can lay in your arms and start laughing to herself while sleeping or she can blow out an adult sized bogie out of nowhere! No-one tells you how strange babies can be because every baby is different, but when they go from breathing normally one minute and then breathing like they've just finished a 100m sprint and then back to snoring, it can be very worrying! Apparently, this is completely normal!
Your partner is a superhero
When you look up labour in the dictionary, it says, "hard work" and again most people understand that childbirth is one of the hardest things a human can go through. However, when you're helplessly standing there watching your partner bring your baby into the world, you can't help but be overwhelmed with this feeling of awe and admiration. I will never forget the pride I felt for my partner that day and every day since when I see my daughter. For that I will be eternally grateful.
New-born's can never have too many clothes
When preparing for our new-born, people constantly told us how they had too many clothes and baby never wore them all! In our case, this is very false and are probably going through 2-3 outfits a day! New-borns have many bodily functions and most of those can 'leak' or 'reappear' when you least expect it. Although most things wash out, when you don't have a tumble dryer, it's very easy to run out!
Dads have uses
At first, if your baby is being breast feed then at points you can feel useless. The baby has spent nine months with mum's voice and heartbeat 24/7, because of this they have an unbreakable bond. There are points when the baby just will not settle with dad, refuses to take the bottle from him or even straight up cries when he holds her. This is absolutely normal but don't let this tell you that you are useless in your baby's upbringing. As a dad, If you can't help directly then you help mum. While she is putting all her energy into making sure your daughter is alive and well your energy should go into making sure mum is as happy and healthy as possible!
It really is amazing
This one doesn't really fit the line-up, because everybody tells you how rewarding being a parent is, but until you've seen it for yourself, there really is no explaining it. It really is wonderful, awful, draining, amazing and, most of all, totally worth it.
In conclusion and paraphrasing Boris Johnson, have a baby but don't have a baby but have a baby but also maybe don't.