WINNER BEST PARENTING BLOG 2009 & 2011

Mum in the Hotseat: The Best Mistake I Ever Made

Please welcome the wonerful Bron of Maxabella loves… to the hotseat today with a response to my question, “What is the best mistake you ever made?”

People who say ‘there’s no such thing as a bad baby’ have never met my son.  Oh, okay, no baby is ‘bad’, but the experience of having to raise them can be so bad that you are put off having other children for life. Max was absolutely destined to be an only child.

It took me ten painful weeks to get him to breastfeed. I had to give it everything I had. Hours and hours spent wearing a dent in the brown leather couch while my newborn mewed at the breast and I felt like mewing right along with him. Mewing or mooing, either felt right. At that stage, that brown leather couch was an extension of me far more than my baby was.

He wouldn’t sleep either. The two things are related, of course – a poor feeder is never a good sleeper  – but add sleep deprivation on top of couch integration and I was a dead mum walking. Still, the operative word there was ‘mum’, so walk I did. Up and down the hall, around and around the streets, walking, always walking, yet still those big eyes stared at me.

And the crying. Oh dear god, the crying. When Max started up you knew it was six o’clock and when he finished it was past 9 o’clock. Every night from 3 to 10 weeks old, that’s what my sweet little newborn would do. Crying to block out the exhaustion of the day and there was me in agreement – the day had sucked and I was crying right alongside him.

It’s the trifecta of parenting – poor feeder followed by poor sleeper followed by incessant crier. They won’t sleep because they’re hungry, they won’t settle because they won’t sleep. They won’t eat because of very complicated reasons that nobody understands and nobody can really help you with. The whole food thing is a big deal in babyland, let me tell you. You’ve gotta get the food right.

It’s a nightmare. Or at least it would be if you ever got a minute’s sleep yourself. As it is, you just have to settle for daymares. The nightmares you have when you’re wide awake and wishing you were anywhere but here.

Like I said, destined to be an only child.

Then I found myself unexpectedly expecting when Max was about eight months old.  Turns out that breastfeeding is not a form of contraception. It’s really, really not. The midwife laughed when I told her that’s what I thought. “That old wives tale,” she snorted. “It’s a husband’s tale, I tell you.”

Arabella fed like an angel the minute she was born. I knew we were going to be okay. Efficient, sated, calm, asleep – that was my little second-newborn. She restored my faith in babydom and I revelled in her squishy, milky, squidgy newborn phase, despite the fact that I had a wide-awake eighteen month old running with the wolves beside me. Breastfeeding may not be a contraception, but believing that it is was the best mistake I ever made.

After the romance that was baby Cappers, of course, there would be a third and the merry cycle of the newborn started all over again. Each baby a new beginning, each with its own way of going about being a newborn. Who are we to know?

Bottle-fed was number three; we didn’t get there at all, despite weeks and weeks of trying. As I expressed milk in the dead of cold night after night, my grumpy little Badoo wide-awake beside me, that familiar dent in the brown leather couch still fitted me like a glove. No more babies, I promised myself as the expressing pump wheezed and sucked. These babies are destined to be only children. Every single one of them. Destined, I tell you.

Best wishes, sweet Christie, as you welcome baby number two. Remember the gloves. x

Bron writes a blog called Maxabella loves… It’s a little bit about her family (those pesky three newborns grew up to be rather ‘spirited’ children who Bron calls her tsunamis), it’s a little bit about her husband (who is annoyingly wonderful) and a lot about her general perplexities with the world.  The world is a baffling place.

{Image source: Tim Coulson}

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Comments

  1. Lovely post Bron :)

  2. Ah, sweet memories! Strangely, my second-born was a mixture of your first two, Bron. She’s made up for a lot. And she IS destined to be an only child now.

    Loved this post, as hard as some of the memories are. Who’d be without them, hey? x

    Best to you and yours, Christie!

  3. Makes me want to have another one!

  4. Ahhh…..this is a really sweet post….My first born should have been an only child too really….ten pounds…natural birth…the breastfeeding saga thrown in with tricky sleeping and all that too…but what do you know I knew I needed another baby. Giggle giggle at the ‘breastfeeding is contraception’ line – i think we were all fooled by that one!!!

  5. I’m in! The hotseat, I mean. Thanks for having me, Christie. I feel a bit nostalgic for those 3 hour crying sessions reading this. All the hopelessness seems to have faded away as the triumphs have grown to take their place. I will never forget my husband turning to me on about day 11 and saying, “Soooo, when are his parents coming to pick him up again?”

    Eventually, we did!

    x

  6. Aaah. This post is so fabulous, so funny and so true. Thanks for sharing the best mistake you ever made. I’d have to say my Noah is the best mistake we ever made too. Mostly he drives us bonkers, but still we adore him to bits!

  7. I remember this all too clearly Bron. That bloody Max. And Cappers. The girl who could, was the baby who could too. Definitely your best mistake. x

  8. Interesting, I had much the same experience with my 3. Except the last was breastfed until he bit me at 8 months. He also was a sweet little terror for a few years, but they do grow up, and we grow up with them.

  9. Great baby stories, so honestly put. I didn’t quite make the parenting trifecta with my three. Good feeders were they all. But poor sleepers and incessant crying certainly sounds familiar.

  10. Linda T says:

    Isn’t it funny how different people are – I was haunted by that old wives tale for 18 months. Tried everything to fall pregnant but the hormones simply wouldn’t sync while I was breastfeeding. Docs and Obs tried every pill and trick I could safely use, all said it was the bf. And they were right … a few weeks after dd1 decided she’d had enough, voila! And here I am back in the same dilemma. Great read and can certainly relate to the crying and walking. The couch dent not so much, her altimeter wouldn’t let you sit half the time. Here’s to mistakes, god bless them :D

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