The funny thing about my IVF journey is that even though I am an optimist by heart and even in my darkest moment, I still did everything I could to remain positive that one day I would have a baby. Despite this though, there was a big part of me that genuinely felt that it might not happen and call it self preservation but there were many a moment that I had to not think what my life would be like with a baby because it might just not happen. I could daydream all I like but I couldn’t really think in a practical sense because by allowing myself to do this would make it harder to deal with should it never happen. I know many people who prior to having a baby actually put thought into what the impact said baby would have on their lives, they would read about sleep habits (or lack thereof) and breastfeeding techniques. I had one girlfriend who wisely met with a lactation consultant before the baby arrived. I did nothing of the sort. When I was finally pregnant I smugly thought that since all I wanted was a baby, nothing else would matter and besides I was too busy worrying about whether the cot sheets matched the nursery room rug. Oh my god I was clueless. I get that our parents and grandparents and ancestors and blah blah blah didn’t have lactation consultants and sleep experts and fancy cot sheets and they all managed fine but I’m also a little bored with this argument. Things are different nowadays, and I’m a product of a different generation and therefore only know what I know. With motherhood it became blatantly clear early on that I knew absolutely nothing.
Welcome back anxiety.
But. I was truly, madly and deeply in love with this little person. He was divine and though he seemed to catch on pretty quickly that he chose someone who had no idea what she was doing he didn’t seem to bothered by this. MM seemed to have nailed the fatherhood thing pretty quickly which as ridiculous as it sounds made me feel jealous because he seemed to know what to do whilst I was for the most part just winging it. Given my lack of preparation for this motherhood gig a whole new set of anxiety kicked in and I felt completely out of my depth. I was use to being in control of my professional life and I was relatively confident on a personal level as well. Of course at this point I didn’t know that most new mothers felt this way, I was too busy comparing myself to Angelina Jolie who seemed to be managing fine and she had a tribe of children. The crazy part of this was that Charlie was, in hindsight, an easy baby. So hear I am – I had a perfect, healthy, happy, non colicky, relatively good sleeping baby and now a new emotion to deal with I felt guilty for feeling anxious. In my head I had absolutely no reason to be anxious but in my heart I was in a constant state of worry.
In my professional life I have clients who employ me because in my field I’m an apparent expert. I don’t mean for this to sound wanky but my point is that I’m a big believer in outsourcing and so I did what comes naturally and I employed some outside help.
Introducing the Baby Whisperer.
Charlie didn’t really need any whispering so I think my sleep lady Elaine from Lullababy SOS (www.lullababysos.com.au) would probably have considered her services to me to be more on the side of Mummy Whispering. Charlie and I had a couple of consults with her and he passed with flying colours after his first lesson. Me, well I had to have a few follow up sessions. I did have a little cat napper on my hands and with a sprinkly of magic dust and no word of a lie, Elaine had this nipped in the bud faster than you could sing rock a bye baby.
At the 13 month mark I enlisted Elaine’s help again (yes, yes I know I could have, should have, figured this out for myself) to help with Charlie’s toddler routine. After a 30 minute phone chat and 2 weeks of trial and error I now had a toddler who continued to sleep mostly wonderfully at night and who was now down to a lovely long one nap a day routine. Suck that anxiety.