The first few seconds of parenthood must be different for everybody, for me it seemed truly miraculous. Not only was I meeting the little person who had been safely tucked away for 9 months (and a bit extra, every one, obviously far too comfortable by far!) but I seriously never believed any human could experience that much pain, yet still be alive. But like parenthood, childbirth is a very individual experience. (I’m sure the babies themselves would agree.)
How perfect they were! Completely different, yet each completely perfect. Snuggled up in their little sleepsuits, warm and cuddly with that distinct baby smell. All my senses were totally intoxicated….that is until the highs of new motherhood were replaced a few weeks later with lack of sleep, exhaustion and another erratic turn in the hormone situation.Obviously I had the karma to enjoy the benefits of three children who didn’t believe in a full nights sleep until they were about 1-year-old.
Yet still I was totally attached to this new appearance of a permanently perfect being in my life.
How proud is a new parent? Isn’t our baby better than any other baby in the world? Aren’t they going to remain that way permanently, for ever? We just know that they will be bright, happy and perfectly behaved. We love them so much, they will love us back in return and never do anything to disappoint us, never get in trouble, never be disruptive, and certainly never hurt us. Hindsight is a marvellous thing, what unrealistic expectations we can have! (more coming later)
Once we step through the door into parenthood our lives become an emotional rollercoaster……………..
………………………..from the highs of love, happiness and joy at how beautiful and marvellous they are, to the lows of sleepless nights, worrying about anything that may threaten their wellbeing and safety.Just a few sneezes or a mere half degree rise in temperature can keep us on alert all night long, wearing a well trodden path between rooms as we check them “just one more time”.
Babyhood and early childhood are often filled with these worries, as the immature immune system allows lots of viruses and bacterial infections to invade , until eventually they become a little more resilient and we relax just a little.
Our helpless little bundle gains more confidence as they travel on their journey through nursery and primary school. Naturally they become more assertive and challenge our boundaries more….”Yes but Freddie does so why can’t I?”..”Everybody else in my class does”….”Jenny’s mum lets her go by herself”…”No i’m not going to “…the list is endless, do they learn these phrases from a secret kids book “How to try to trick your parents into submission”? If so it sound just like the same edition of the one we had…how many years ago…..?
Despite these challenges, we generally manage quite well, we follow Plan A (and sometimes Plan B or C if that fails) and everything is mostly hunky dory, roughly going according to plan. A few hick-ups here and there but a great deal of love, happiness and mutual respect being enjoyed by all.
But don’t be too complacent…..puberty is looming and with it a host of hormones and anxieties,hiding in the wings, waiting to invade your little cherub. Some may escape relatively unscathed, but for others it’s like a drastic personality change. Where have they gone? The child who appeared to us as a darling little cherub, seems to have been kidnapped overnight and replaced with a (maybe) similar looking clone who otherwise bears no resemblance to cherub.
They may become defiant, manipulative, rebellious and disruptive, appearing to hate the very person(s) who tended to their every need to develop them into a mature well-adjusted human being. (Human being did you say?:-o)
Behaviours such as swearing, smoking, drunkenness, self harm and more, may become the order of the day.
The rollercoaster appears to have taken a permanent downward turn. Not only does home life seem to have been turned into a war zone but we are struggling with the pain of rejection and the helplessness and fears of a parent who sees every plan from Plan A to Plan Z fail miserably.
We may feel permanently challenged at every turn, we don’t have time to draw breath before the next onslaught, it may even seem difficult or impossible to find the feeling of love in our heart for this invader in our midst. (How could we possibly feel like this towards our own flesh and blood?)
We wonder how on earth are we going to cope? It’s hard enough when there are two parents to share the load, but if you are a single parent it may feel overwhelming and impossible.
However, as I discovered, (just in the nick of time), there is hope. There are techniques to help us keep a strong, positive mind and enable us to survive these difficult years, developing our better qualities, and enabling us to become a happier , more effective parent, guiding our troubled teenager towards adulthood.
Watch this space….more coming soon…………..