The real test of your strength - and network

Well, you're well in now, aren't you?

2 months; she's 2 months old already, can you believe it? I certainly can't, she's still so tiny and cute.

Although let's face it that's easy for a besotted aunt (and parent of two rowdy, JUST-post-toddler boys) to say, isn't it? I'm not the one living it. Every. Single. Day.

It's hard, right? Lovely, blissful and beautiful, but hard. She cries and nobody knows why. You get your know-it-alls (and we ALL know a few of those) with the 'well she's obviously tired' or 'She's obviously hungry' or 'She's obviously got trapped wind' type advice.

Which is all very well and good, if you hadn't just fed her for an age, winded her for almost as long and tried desperately to get her to sleep. OBVISOULY nothing, OBVIOUSLY these people should take their 'help' and shove it where the sun don't shine. Don't worry, it's the desperation talking, if you were brave enough to say it out loud I'm sure you'd be forgiven quickly enough. Although maybe it's best not to test those waters just now, when you need all the help on offer.

I try very hard not to 'obviously' you into anything. I don't know what's up with her, how could I? I've had a couple of kids, doesn't make me Mary Poppins (more's the pity), I'm still winging it with the rest of them.

Sometimes, babies cry. Sometimes, it's because of something medical. Sometimes, it's because they're babies and they're just programmed that way. What matters is that a) she's getting everything she needs, and b) YOU are getting everything you need. And by YOU I mean you both. Sleep - well you're bound to suffer a bit, it sort of goes with the territory, sorry, - food, rest, time in your own head NOT listening to a baby crying. This means you need to use your network. You need to use us. Your parents, and siblings, your partner's parents and siblings and, you know, me.

I was priveliged enough to take the first babysitting duty. It was lovely. Yes, there was crying. Yes, I had to stand for most of it because she didn't want me to sit. Yes, at one stage I was foolish enough to think I could put her down and she'd stay down. Clearly, even I'm not long enough in the tooth to have forgotten how to hope for such things. Regardless, it was super lovely and YES I want to do it again.

Not just because cuddles with a little baby are lovely (mine are more selective these days; sometimes they say they don't want a hug which can be a bit crushing. Other days they literally try to crush me with their hugs, it's a confusing time), but also because - and I don't know if I've mentioned this enough yet - I want to HELP. I am not alone, so many people in your network want the exact same thing. You know that expression, it takes a village? It really does.

Being a new parent is wondorous, but also scary and daunting. Nobody can take that fear away.  It's going to follow you for the rest of your life, I'm afraid. My mother is still terrified for me, and I'm in my 30's now (let's not talk about how far in, shall we?).  She'll tell you herself if you ask, I'm sure.  You didn't think my chronic over-talking, over-helping, over-sharing came from nowhere, did you?!

However, from time to time, you are allowed to take time off. Admittedly, much like the other night, you'll spend about 80% of that time thinking about the charge you have left in someone else's hands, but the 20% that you do spend remembering who you were before you were a parent are worth it. Because somewhere deep down, you are still that person. A vastly modified version of her, but still her. You'll thank yourself for dusting her off and taking her out every now and again, you know.

So in this post-newness period, when you're still not adjusted but it feels like everyone expects you to be, remember to fake it till you make it, be honest with yourself, your partner and the people you are most comfortable with, and most of all accept help when it's offered to you.

There's no judgement here; we're all willing you to do well. And I promise if I'm unbearable and you tell me off, I'll take it well.

With love, as ever, from me xx