This Baby Isn't The One I Orderedby Sophie Gillum-Webb
I gave birth to my first son almost eight years ago now. Overall, I'd describe him as a good baby. He breastfed well from the start, and it was easy to establish a routine with him. Around the same time, friends of mine also had babies, and they seemed to have it the same if not a little bit easier. Henry had a little bit of colic, and there were some awkward moments with being a first time Mum that I had found quite hard, but overall, this seemed quite' normal.' We didn't have a second child straight away; in fact, we waited almost seven years before we did it all again. This wasn't because our experience had been particularly bad or we were worried about being able to cope - it was more external factors that came into play. It almost got to the point where we didn't think we would ever have another child and we were quite happy and content with just one.
I think that by the time children get to six and seven they're quite independent and as a parent, you can step away a bit and find yourself again. It's easy to forget what the sleepless nights were like. It's definitely safe to say I had forgotten what parenting a newborn was like. I wonder if perhaps my mind had purposely blotted out some of the difficult moments. Of course, I knew that having a second child with such a gap was going to be difficult to adapt to, but I didn't think it was going to be too hard. After all, we had already done it once we could do it again, right?
When I conceived Hugo, my circumstances were much different than with my first. I was now fully self-employed, but I was managing to juggle everything just right. I had the balance between working hard and keeping house and home down to a fine art. It was essential for me not to have to sacrifice anything if we were having another child. I didn't want one child to go without or feel pushed out. I knew it meant spinning all the plates, but when I looked back to when Henry was a baby, and I remembered that once that routine was established fitting things in became much more manageable. It was going to be about an organisation working around naps and when you thought of it like that it seemed easy breezy.
Right before I had Hugo, I went out to lunch with friends, and out of the blue they asked:
"What are you going to do when the baby arrives?"
Initially, I laughed thinking it was a joke, but when I was met with serious faces, I realised it was a genuine question.
"It's all about the organisation." I bragged. "Babies just eat and sleep so I will just work around that!"
The table erupted in snorts and giggles, but I still wasn't perplexed.
It wasn't until we were eight weeks in drowning in nappies and colic water that I realised what was so funny that day at lunch. There was no routine to work around. My days were one giant cluster feed, and there was no napping. I'm not exaggerating when I say he didn't nap – not once. I've blinked for more extended periods than he slept! My house was a bomb site; there was no opportunity to work, and I was always exhausted. It was at that moment that I realised my naivety. This wasn't the baby I had ordered but isn't that always the way?