After 1 month of having a newborn in my life, I want to share my first thoughts about parenting. In a shell, it’s much harder than I imagined, but also surprisingly more satisfying.
Here are 10 things I now know:
- I’ll never have 3 kids. I don’t know why would anyone want to do it to themselves, but I’m not going to be one of those lost souls.
- I now realize how unbearably hard it is to be a single parent, and I bow to people who manage to raise children without a partner or the support of an extended family.
- The relationship with your partner has to be rock solid to endure the nervousness and exhaustion that having a newborn brings into your life. If you have any doubts about your partner, don’t even think about having kids. People who imagine that having a child can mend their relationship are clearly clueless about how much patience and support you’ll need to give and get.
- Warm feeling towards the newborn don’t appear magically at the moment of his birth, and a great wave of feelings doesn’t wash over you when you meet this little creature. Connection and bonding come slowly from taking care of him daily – changing his diapers, soothing him, watching him. Just like a new pet, he grows on you.
- Meeting your newborn is like going on a blind date, knowing in it will end in a marriage for life. Seeing him for the first time, I was sincerely questioning how I’ll ever love this humanoid creature. Five days later I discovered I miss him for the first time. A month later, I’m starting to fall in love with him.
- The best thing I’ll ever do for my child I already did: choosing his mother. There is nothing more important for a happy and a calm child than a wise mother.
- Handling a newborn isn’t intuitive, at least not to a modern person. From breastfeeding to holding him and knowing how to soothe him – it’s all a learned craft, nothing comes naturally.
- It’s really easy to be a well-informed parent these days. With ebooks, smartphone apps and timely notifications, “I didn’t know that” isn’t an excuse for a lousy parenting.
- There is nothing inherently profound in seeing a human baby being born. It’s not more meaningful than when a cat bears a kitten. One day my child will grow up and I’ll discuss with him social justice and gender equality (or not), but at the moment of his birth he is no more than a weird looking chick squeaking to be fed.
- A newborn is a messy reminder of what biological life really is. As we grow up, we become more sophisticated, conditioned into the human world and shielded from nature. But newborn’s unadulterated biological existence – his weak, feeble body, his frequent need to eat and defecate, his vulnerability and nakedness are a painful reminder where we all as humans really stand in the end.
Bob: The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born.
Charlotte: Nobody ever tells you that.
Bob: Your life, as you know it… is gone. Never to return…
– ‘Lost in Translation’