No matter how ready we think we are, there’s probably nothing that can really prepare us for parenthood. The arrival of our long awaited, bundle of joy does something similar to our lives that pregnancy and birth did to our bodies. Think: unrecognisable! Allergy baby or not, how can we truly prepare ourselves to meet a person who we’re going to love more than we love ourselves? Someone who can melt us into a pile of doting parental mush? While simultaneously exploding 18 repulsive rounds of meconium poop onto the beautiful baby clothes we spent 9 months painstakingly choosing?
As the days and nights after birth merge into a baby and hormone filled haze, we experience a depth of love and level of exhaustion which we could never have imagined. Whether the baby is our first or our fourth, the journey we share with each child is as unique as they themselves (queue: involuntary parental dote rudely interrupted by meconium flashback).
Many mothers have told me that they only started to feel confident as a mother with their second child. This was certainly true for me.
After a difficult birth with my first, I found my confidence demolished. Like a cast iron bridge washed away in a tidal wave. Despite a deep and unsettling feeling that something wasn’t right with my child, I struggled to make myself heard by health care professionals. I was a first time mother and, sadly, it wasn’t hard to push me into thinking that my baby was fine and I was just experiencing the famous “new mother anxiety”.
The story of baby number two, I can assure you, did not go the same way! After exactly three days and nights of definite and worsening symptoms, Mama and Dada miraculously formed “Team You Will Help Our Baby Or So Help Us We Will Never, Ever Leave” (which was very fortunate as baby number two’s allergies turned out to be very much more complex and severe than baby number one).
None the less, as our allergy baby journey continues and we travel deeper and deeper into the non-IGE forest, I like to remember the early days. The hazy days where we weren’t different.
Or perhaps we were, but we didn’t know we were.