When I was pregnant with Sausage, I was keen to do everything to the letter; she was my first child and when you’re doing it all for the first time, you rely on advice from books and other people, simply because you don’t have the experience for yourself yet. I’m confident that Husband and I did a good job of caring for Sausage as a baby, but after a while it becomes instinctive, rather than something you can read about.
This time around, things are already different. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I think every parent gains invaluable experience during their first effort at child rearing which equip them for further pregnancies in a way that no third party advice can. Obviously, there are plenty of things that I’m still getting hysterical about (‘Is this twinge normal?’ ‘Should I be feeling movement by now?’) and I’m really lucky to have an epic group of friends that I can turn to for advice, but there are things that I did with Sausage, through a mix of naivety and keeness to do things ‘right’ that I simply won’t do this time around.
1. Buying Ridiculous Items
After I gave birth to Sausage, I got given a Bounty pack with a voucher in it for a nappy bin and I fixated on getting that nappy bin like my life depended on it. My Dad took me to Argos to collect it and I set it up and placed it proudly in Sausage’s nursery…and then used it once, realised how useless it was and promptly consigned it to the loft. This is just one example of the crap that you get duped, or GUILTED (‘Your baby NEEEEDS one of these, otherwise it will grow up with a sense of emptiness which will eventually lead to an adulthood of drug usage and casual sex’) into buying and this time, I’m simply not allowing myself to get sucked in by clever marketing aimed at vulnerable people who want the best for their child.
2. No Excuses
Last time, I made lots of excuses about certain choices I’d made, such as why I didn’t breastfeed or why we chose to have Sausage sleep in our room until she was 4 or why we did any number of other things that we chose to do. This time, I won’t make excuses for my choices, I’ll simply say “Because that’s how I want to do it”. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 6 years, it’s that pregnancy and parenting are subjective and divisive and I’ll never please everyone, so I’m not even going to try.
3. Don’t Take Any Crap
Last time I did this, I was under the impression that I didn’t have any choices outside of what my doctors ‘recommended’. I was pushed into a birth plan that I was by no means even vaguely comfortable with and I felt like I didn’t have a voice when it came to so many different aspects of mine and my daughter’s care. This time around, I have opinions but more importantly I have a voice and I intend to use it. When I asked if I had any plans for birth, I told them in no uncertain terms that I would be having a c-section or finding a hospital which would give me one if they refused. I plan to continue this assertiveness over the next 5 months and beyond.
“Oh, little Fungus has been sleeping through the night since the day he was born, doesn’t yours do that?” “Oh yes, but Phlegm can count to 20. In Latin. She’ll be 8 months old on Friday!”
There’s a sort of inherent competitiveness when it comes to new parents, where the tiniest milestones and achievements are paraded around to make other parents feel inferior. I’m sure I was guilty of it too, but this time I’m not doing the comparison thing. Every child is different and does things in their own time, so if Crammond Baby number 2 doesn’t smile or gurgle at exactly the same moment that other babies of its age do, I’m not going to sweat it.
When I had Sausage, I used to wash all of her clothes together, in a separate wash to mine and Husband’s clothes. I used the same machine with the same detergent, but I washed them all separately.
Yeah, I’m not doing that this time. It’s a pointless waste of energy and makes no sense at all, so I simply won’t do it.
What did you do, or do you plan to do, differently the second time around?