There I was, holding my screaming newborn, totally unsure what to do with her and how to make the crying stop. I’d tried to feed her, I’d tried to cuddle and rock her, I’d even taken her out in the middle of the night to show her the stars…. apparently, she didn’t want to see the stars... and she let me know!
The crying just continued.
In the background my husband asked, “what do we do?”
I had no idea - I was just as much a new mum as he was a new dad…
“But you’re the trained one”, he said. Well, what did a teaching qualification and being an educational researcher matter at THIS point? This baby was crying and as far as I could see, she was crying for no reason.
So, in desperation, at 2am, I ran a sink of water, took all her clothes off and put her in it.
Like magic, the crying stopped!
She breathed in and out and slowly began to come back to normal…
We relished the new-found silence.
In this moment, I learned the power of water for new babies.
But why did no one tell me before I had a baby quite how magical water could be?
About a month after we brought my daughter home from hospital, when I’d healed from my C-section but I still couldn’t drive, I put her to bed for her lunchtime nap and walked out of my cottage into the garden, and I distinctly remember the feeling of being trapped…trapped in the house; I couldn’t go out because the baby was asleep upstairs, I was tired and wanted chocolate from the shop in the village, but I couldn’t just jump in the car and go and get it because of the baby asleep upstairs. I was too tired to want to be bothered with all the jobs that were in the house… and in that moment I just felt trapped.
Then there was the time, probably about 3 months later, when my husband left for work… again (at the time he was working in France and living in the UK, so he left EARLY each day (about 4.30) and was gone until about 10 pm). So, there I was AGAIN, on my own with the baby and a full day to fill. I can remember looking around the room and thinking, ‘now what?’
What on earth can I do with this baby?
I saw my teaching resources that I’d brought home from school on the side, and I clearly remember thinking, ‘what would I do at school?’
So, I perched my baby up on some cushions and got out my flashcards…
Yes - for the next 20 minutes or so, I taught my poor 3-month-old baby her phonics (as I said, back then, I had NO idea what I was doing or how to fill my time!)!!!
So why am I telling you all this? Well, partly to pass on my top tips gained (always pass on top tips, I say 😉), partly so you know the power of water for new babies, partly so you know NOT to try to teach your 3-month-old their phonics, but mainly, because this week, that same frightened, trapped, bored new mum celebrated that little girl and her AMAZING A-level results. That same screaming baby, the one who had sat through her phonics lesson at the age of 3 months.
You see, in the beginning, I had no idea what to do.
Sometimes I still have no idea!
Back then, I too was lost, frightened, excited, weepy, happy, lonely, trapped and totally sick of the continual routine of washing nappies, as well as the amazing gurus who told me I should be up and eating toast by 8, am with my hair brushed and the baby back in bed.
I’ve asked those questions - those ones that come deep in the night, the ones that come in the moment that it’s all going wrong, the ones that go ‘am I doing this right, am I good enough?’ ‘What do I do now?’
I too have felt the loneliness as you realise it’s all down to you…
But you know what, my friend: you DO have the answers. You DO have the skills. You will come out the other side of this and realise HOW far you’ve come. But sometimes, it’s just really nice to have someone there to support you. Someone there to talk it through with, someone who tells you’re doing a good job.
And sometimes, having someone there who’s making no judgments, who’s hearing YOU, can make all the difference.
That’s why I created Oliiki Thrive.
Oliiki Thrive is a new membership that’s on its way.
It’s something I’ve wanted to create for YOU.
To give you that person to help and support you along the way. That someone I wish I’d had in those first days (and even in those days now when I look up to my youngest son brimming with pre-teen hormones and wonder what to do).
You see, parenting is a journey - one we are unprepared and untrained for and one we can only go on once with each child we have, and each journey is different…
So, just as the Oliiki app is there to help you fill those long, long days with nothing to do with your baby, Oliiki Thrive will be there to support YOU… a space to learn, to grow, connect, make friends but most of all, a place of non-judgemental support.
The doors open really soon, so if you’d like to be part of it, or you’re just a little bit nosy 😉, why not sign up to our waiting list and be the first to hear when the doors open? You can sign up here.