A friend came to visit Rex for the first time the other day. I was explaining how tough we were finding number two, how his nights were getting better, but still appalling, that he was so rarely chilled and happy, that breastfeeding had been a struggle, that the labour wasn’t great, recovery was a shock, that I never wanted to do this again… My usual rant!
Now, I know this sounds like a depressive visit, but we had lunch and a laugh (promise) and Rex slept on her for over an hour and then fed and slept on me for over an hour, so he appeared to be quite easy.
Anyway, this friend has two grown up children and had easy births, easy breastfeeding experiences, easy babies… She maintains the teenage years are the hardest, so god help us!
Since her visit, something she said has stayed with me. It was along the lines of; “Well I remember visiting you after you had had Audrey and just thinking how amazingly you were coping – because you had a lot to deal with; the Down’s Syndrome, the oxygen, the emergency c-section… And you were taking it all in your stride. Now you have a more common situation and you’re freaking out! This is dealing with a newborn, you’ve handled a newborn with lots of other challenges, this should be the easy bit!” And I guess she’s right. We’ve forgetten what we went through; having a baby in the special care baby unit for 3 weeks and bringing her home attached to an oxygen canister for 6 months, that’s not a standard start. But I know most will consider the shock of a baby with Down’s Syndrome and how awful that must have been. I don’t want to trivialise this, it was like a grieving process, it was rough, but somewhere down the line Audrey became more than Down’s Syndrome. She became our daughter, the one we planned for and made with love and that period of confusion has become so insignificant in the scheme of things.
Having Audrey, learning from her, knowing her, it outweighs the initial upset a billion times over. As a cheesy social media motivational quote would say: You have to experience the dark to appreciate the light.
And so we come back to Rex; we’re in a dark time and hopefully we’ll appreciate him more once we get out into the light?!
In the meantime, I’ll try to remember this is what millions of people are experiencing right now – sleep deprivation and an unsettled baby. It will get better… But please let that be soon.