We will never ever get that time back and nothing will ever replace those precious early weeks. They need to count and our priorities need to be in place. So here it is, in writing, inescapable and I can feel my brain aligning to where it needs to be just by thinking about writing them. This is good.
My 5 Post-Baby Pledges
Pledge 1: Well wisher visits are capped to an hour. This is much easier to do than I thought last time, it will be achieved by a simple text beforehand with the a "be lovely to see you for an hour" thrown in. It's specific and sets it in their head what our expectations of a visit is. Plus I will have no shame in a "welllll... we need to getting Euna down for her nap/I need to have my bath now/best be getting dinner on now" once the hour is up. I get it's easy for visitors to sit and zone out cuddling baby and drinking tea, but we need down time, I want my baby back and I really will want that bath.
Pledge 2: Time for photographs in the first 24 hours. My only real regret about Euna's birth is that in the hours that followed I was all focused on breastfeeding, calling people, getting a shower and an awful lot of just generally sitting there grinning like a crazy person. I have pitifully few photographs of that first day and it does sadden me. This time all of those things need to have time for photographs squeezed in between them. Yes my sister-in-law needs to be called but she can be called 30 seconds later whilst I snap that first windy-burp-smile.
Pledge 3: Set time for staged photographs within the first week. Yes two of my five pledges are photography focused. I am happy with that because this time will fly no matter how I prioritise and in 18 months time when this bump is a toddler running around with a pair of Steve's pants on his/her head, all I will have is memories and photographs. And photographs strengthen memories. They solidify those family stories and this is all for the stories. What does it mean without reminiscent rights?
Pledge 4: Remember everything is temporary. If baby has to spend a night in our bed, that does not mean they will be there until they are 5. If Euna has a spell of jealousy, that does not mean she will grow up the rest of her life resenting her new sibling. If baby doesn't feed well one day, that does not mean they will never feed happily. If my belly looks like a the saggy underside of a hippo's chin a fortnight after birth, that does not mean I will never wear a swimsuit again. It's all temporary. It may all change tomorrow. Everything is a phase. Think short term and avoid thinking too far in advance, the early days is all about doing what works.
Pledge 5: Find moments to take it all in and then relinquish myself of as much guilt as possible. I will not be able to spend hours in Julia Donaldson readathons with Euna like before. This newborn may have to wait a few minutes for a feed every so often. I may forget to listen to details about Steve's work every so often. I can't do it all. Doing it all just won't be conducive to our new expanded family. And if I spend the next 18 years flogging myself everytime I can't be in 3 places at once I'll end up jumping out a window. What I can do is make sure I take meaningful moments with everybody, everyday. A book with Euna, an verse of Twinkle Twinkle with baby and a little pillow talk with Steve. A moment. Then I focus on that moment and release as much guilt as possible.
Well here in lies the theory. These are my intentions. Will I forget them all and rock back and forward at the end of the bed feeling inadequate and overwhelmed? Yes. Certainly. Infact I'm not sure I'll be allowed to call myself a mother of two until I have. But maybe this list will help me pull it back, suck it up and Mummy on. Just maybe.
Here we are enjoying some of our pre-baby pledges... (at Jimmy's Farm)