Gouache on paper, A4
My son was born on 28th November, 2013. I haven’t done any paintings since then because I was simply overwhelmed.
As a new mother, I do have great difficulty managing my time. My son is not one of those textbook babies to start with. Even now he would never nap more than an hour and would not go to nap unless I am sitting next to him. He is a very sensitive baby and would not stand being left alone for a minute before he is six month old. Before he could roll over he would cry the house down every time I put him down, even just to change my shirt in front of him. He would not take the swing or the bouncer. Don’t take me wrong, I love him to bits. And he’s got the sweetest face I know when he laughs. But not when he cries. And certainly not when he screams. I am always a very quiet person and the slightest noise annoys me. Living with a baby is a tough thing. I just have difficulty coping with my new role. I knew things would be different but no one told me it would be this intense. I was so overwhelmed and exhausted. Spending a whole hour putting him down to sleep and he wakes up crying once he was put down. My husband and I are now living in Dorset, away from families of both sides. I am literally a 24-hour mother, feeling like deserted on an island after a shipwreck. I had been desperately looking for survival guides from friends and relatives. I had been looking on forums and parenting blogs. The more I read, the more uncertain I feel.
When my husband finished his parental leave and back to the office, I was left holding this 10lbs 5-week-old crying baby all day and felt despaired. Finally I got this baby wrap on Amazon, and I have been carrying him everywhere since then. When the baby wrap arrived, which is a piece of long cloth, it looks rather dubious. I didn’t believe it will be my saviour but it works! IT WORKS! My baby was happy to fall asleep in it and I could make a cup of tea without him screaming his head off!
Time flies, and he is now 7 months, 21lbs. I am more used to my new role as a mummy. Now he is a bit too old to nap in the wrap, so I am still sitting and reading quietly next to him when he naps, because otherwise his naps would be very brief. We tried all sorts of tricks you find online, but nothing works. I think I just have to go with the flow and my intuition. Some people say I spoil him, but I have to say every baby is different. If I keep leaving him alone when he naps he will just wake up in 20 minutes and that was how my life went before I changed my way of thinking. I would rather have an hour to read or nap than bear his cry all day. But I still carry him so that we can go to the small shops, as I found it too much hassle to put the pushchair together just to get a loaf of bread. I always walk with him in the fields and woods at the back of our house. I always enjoy walking with him, sometimes he falls asleep, sometimes he looks around and tries to make sense of the world.
Forgive me taking so long to understand your needs, son. There is so much for me and you to learn everyday. You make me a kinder, sweeter, and more patient person. I know you need me every moment for now, because you are tiny. You won’t stay small forever, and I can wait when you are ready to sleep on your own, travel by yourself, and do all sorts of amazing things I can never imagine.