Parenthood. I’ve struggled for a month to find the right words to write this post, and I’m still at a loss. How do you sum up an entire, exceptional universe that dawns bigger and brighter each day?
The past three months have been profound, and profoundly challenging. Contrary to popular myth, there was no lightning bolt of connection and transformation when I first saw my babies. Don’t get me wrong: I loved and doted on my girls from the first second I saw them in their ICU incubators, but it took me weeks to actually feel like a mom.
Read more: Welcome Vela and Mae! >
What I did feel was a long, strong swell that grows each day. Amid the diapers, gurgles, baths and baby snores, I have found a deep sense of peace. Through years of careers, travel and everyday life, it seems I’ve carried a secret burden: the uncertainty of ever achieving my greatest wish.
And here it is before me. Twofold.
Yes, it’s hard. There’s fatigue and frustration, but it passes as you adapt and babies mature. But, at the risk of sounding like a cheesy Hallmark card, one big, gummy smile truly does make up for every tough second.
The hardest moments so far came during an unusual crisis. We’d had the girls at home for two weeks when a diaper change revealed purple poop run through with blood. The next day, Mae was admitted to our local hospital and then whisked off to McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton for emergency treatment for a potentially devastating illness: necrotizing enterocolitis.
I can tell you with confidence that the one thing harder than seeing your six-week-old taken away in an ambulance is having to leave the hospital and return to your home without her. (Thankfully, a room opened up at the amazing Ronald McDonald House and we were able to stay in Hamilton.)
But our little lady is made of tough stuff, and through two weeks of treatment she stayed her happy, gorgeous self. The nurses kept telling us how well we were handling the situation, but our answer was simple: If our little girl could handle it, so could we.
Now, one month later, you’d never know. Our first beach holiday was full of giggles and coos, the lasses are growing like weeds, and I struggle to explain to anyone just how happy I am to spend my days amid the barely-contained mess that is our home. It seems that this chaos is just a sign that I have everything I ever wanted.
Top tips for new parents:
- Agree to a blanket amnesty for everything said during night-time feeds. Fatigue can make you crazy! Forgive each other, and yourself, in the morning.
- Before you give birth, plan your first family holiday. It can give you something concrete to look forward to during unexpected challenges, like hospital stays.
- Give up on perfection. If you need to wash the floor, but really just want to flake out in front of the TV, take the relaxing option. Good enough really is good enough.