The hardest thing you will ever do

3 weeks in and I keep thinking back to what the midwife said during one of our antenatal classes:

Think about the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Being a parent is even harder than that, so much harder. It will be one of the hardest things you will ever do.

And it’s not handling the round-the-clock cycle of nursing, nappy changing, burping, laundry and uncontrollable screaming fits while being sleep deprived that makes it hard…

People think that’s what makes it so hard, but no. That kind of just becomes routine after a bit.

Yes, some days leave you so tired and frustrated. I’ve fallen asleep during night feeds to wake up with Baby sound asleep (thankfully still) in my lap, some nights where she’s still screaming for an extended period of time after we’ve exhausted all possibilities…

But the hardest and I might even say frightening part really is having someone completely dependent on you.

To be completely responsible for every need; that she grows well, that she’s happy, that she’s comforted, that she’s healthy – to have someone constantly demanding something from you. Especially when you’re breastfeeding – you can’t just pass the buck over to someone else for this one time. No pumping in the early weeks to avoid oversupply, and breastfed babies need to be fed about every other hour.

To be stronger than you thought you could be;

while the little one is fussing and throwing a fit in those dark hours while sucking as hard as possible on a nip that’s already shooting with pain and possibly bleeding. You want to scream in agony, cry and throw a fit too with the fatigue, frustration and postnatal recovery, but you must not shed a tear. You have to keep it all together, stay strong, but also remain calm and patient above it all to avoid adding to her stress because she’s just trying to communicate her needs, and is just as confused as you are.

That, is hard. So, so hard.

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