Life seems to me be full of beginnings…and endings. I’m realising that it’s very rare to experience a beginning without an ending first.
You may be just embarking on your journey as a new parent, perhaps experiencing pregnancy for the first time, or maybe you’ve just given birth. These are both wonderful new beginnings but both situations herald endings too….
The last time your body really feels like your own…
the last time there’s just two of you, because soon there’ll be three…
the last time you’ll sleep right through the night for what will feel like a very long time…
the last time you’ll be without the responsibility for another life.
Most of the time, and for most parents, the joy of the beginnings outweighs the sadness that the endings bring. Hopefully you’re experiencing or anticipating that right now. Expectations of your new life as a little family, the joy you’ll feel when you see your baby’s face for the first time, the pride you’ll feel when you’ve delivered your baby safely into this world, the satisfaction you’ll feel just knowing that your breastmilk is enough to sustain your little one.
Beginning your life as a parent and watching your Baby begin their journey in this world is the most amazing adventure and hopefully you’ll have plenty of support along the way from loved ones, family and friends.
But right now you might be feeling that the endings are more emotive than the beginnings, that the loss of something is outweighing the joy of this new phase of your life. Perhaps you’re terrified at the thought of giving birth, or maybe you’ve had a horribly traumatic birth, or maybe you’re devastated that breastfeeding isn’t going as well as you’d hoped it would. Perhaps the lack of sleep is making things difficult between you and your partner, or the worry about going back to work is filling every waking hour.
If that’s the case, then please don’t despair. These difficult times are usually very temporary and each phase will pass. Most ‘problems’ resolve with time. Often it’s our expectations, or those that others, or even society, project onto us, that make things seem so hard. Because we are all so individual and unique, including our babies, there is really no rule book, other than just to love, love and love some more. Learning to follow your instincts is really helpful too. As time goes by you’ll begin to realise that you know your baby better than anyone else does. The only manual we are given when we begin as parents is that incredibly valuable ‘gut instinct’: it’s founded in love, bathed in oxytocin and has helped us to survive as a species for millennia, yet it’s so often overlooked and untrusted. Listen to it! it’s there for a reason! If someone is telling you to do something a certain way but it doesn’t feel right, well then it probably isn’t right for you and your baby.
For me it’s also all about new beginnings……
Having experienced an ending in my personal life I’ve started a new life in Brighton so I can be living at the shoreline. It’s a passion of mine, helps me feel grounded, restored and connects me with the bigger picture. I find that being by the sea (and being in the sea… I’m a newly converted sea swimmer) helps to put things in perspective. Being immersed in something so vast helps me to realise that I’m just a tiny little part of this big old universe and I’m really very insignificant, which means my worries and problems become pretty insignificant too.
I’m learning again that, in most situations, “these things will pass”. It’s the same as watching a child grow – phases come and go, old worries are replaced by new worries and most things sort themselves out in time. Humans are survivors and have the most immeasurable capacity to love and be loved.
If you give your baby the best beginning – one that’s grounded in love – chances are they’ll grow to be a person that can also give and receive love, which in my opinion is the greatest, most wonderful and fulfilling part of being human.