Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Power of "You're Okay"

Having a child is terrifying.

There. I said it.

At least it was terrifying for me. When hubby and I left the hospital with our first child, aged two days, I know that we were both at least moderately terrified. Here we were, first-time parents and the kindly nurses and hospital staff were actually letting us leave the hospital with this precious baby. Alone. Without supervision. Gulp!!

Oh - those first days (weeks? months? years?? decades??!) When every new development with our child came with so many questions, so many concerns. Is this normal? Are we doing this right? Is he okay? Are we okay?!!

If you are anything like me, I had friendly friends and caring family who would pop in for visits, and the question I often heard was "Are you doing okay? Is the baby okay?"

How to answer!! I felt as though if I gave an honest response, I would have either burst into tears or bombard my poor guest with never-ending questions. So my general reply was something along the lines of "We're doing okay; just tired/adjusting/figuring things out".

Of course, I was just so utterly, utterly overwhelmed and exhausted, incapable of anything more than nursing and fretting, it was impossible for me process what I really wanted.

I just wanted to hear that I was doing okay. That my baby was okay. That we were doing everything we needed to, and that all would be okay.

"You're okay".

Because that's all we really need to hear. That we are doing alright, that this is normal, that we will muddle through, and the details will sort themselves out. We don't need advice, or horror stories, anecdotes about how little sleep they got in their own first days of parenthood, or how difficult it was to get a rhythm to their days. No parent with a brand new baby needs to hear those things! They just don't!!

So, there you go. That's what parents of new babes need. Gentle reassurance.

And a snack. And a hug. And a shower. And a nap.

But not necessarily in that order.

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