I missed the real date (surprise!), 31 July would have been the boys first birthday had I carried full term. I was looking at some of the early pictures of them and it is hard to believe that they were so small and that they seemed so fragile. Here we are 14 months on and not only are they fit and healthy, they're both developing into such funny characters if a little trying at times.
It got me thinking about the people who are starting out on the journey and whether I had any advice to give them so I've come up with a list. I may add to it from time to time and you should feel free to do the same by leaving yours in the comments so that I can add it on.
Kewd, this one is for you (and if you have a blog, let me know the link so that I can follow your progress);
How to survive the first year (and eek out some enjoyment too!)
1. Ignore the books or rather, read them, process them and then put them aside. Some of them will serve you well but most of them will add to your anxiety and make you feel less capable.
2. Listening to your instincts you'd be surprised how often you're right. There is a reason why doctors take a parents opinion as part of the assessment - you spend the most time with them and therefor know them best.
3. Ask for help everybody wants to help out but most people are afraid that they'll be overstepping the mark so don't be afraid to ask. If someone comes to visit, let them put the kettle on and make the tea and if you can make a list of all the things that you'd like to get done but can't find the time to do - stick it on the fridge and let people decide for themselves how they can help.
4. Don't worry if you haven't documented every moment there will be loads more firsts and even more seconds and thirds :-)
5. Sleep! - coming from me, I know how difficult it is to fit sleep in but I also know how devastating lack of it can be. So my advice is to try and balance out the chores so that you get to nap a couple of times a day when the babies are asleep. You will be surprised how much quicker and easier it is to fold some washing or wash some bottles if you've managed to grab an hours rest.
6. Learn to share :-) share the work with your friends and family, share the burden of responsibility with you partner (at the very least it will help them to feel part of the process). And lastly...
7. Don't beat yourself up over the little things there will be moments of anxious terror when you may feel like you're the worst mother and that you're failing them. In these moments try and reassure yourself that things will happen and when they do it will be your reaction to them that counts. Babies will fall, they will cry, they will get sick and they will be unpredictable it is their job and it is ours to remain sane long enough to remind them of this fact!
So that is it for now. It has taken me this long to realise all the above and I'm sure most new parents will also have to get through the experience before they become aware of their own strengths. Until then, take comfort in knowing that you're not alone and that before you know it yours too will be toddling around and creating a whole new set of anxieties for mum and dad!