The greatest myth ever told about parenthood is that you bond the second your bambino is plucked from the womb. It sure didn’t work like that for me!
It didn’t happen the next day either.
In fact, forget the first month. I was too busy trying to keep the fragile little bundle alive — and get some sleep — to really grasp what was going on.
It was an amazing time and I felt a great sense of awe and responsibility for this little human who was so dependent on me and his mom.
But all that magic I’d been told about was hard to find at 4am when Callum was pink and screaming and we had no idea how to shut him up.
Coping with a newborn baby is something you just can’t prepare for, and the rewards are few and far between in the early weeks.
Newborns are just all take, take, take!
It’s like they are wired to make your life as difficult as possible. They’re awake when you want to sleep — And when they do doze off, you’re too paranoid to sleep yourself — terrified they’ll be spirited away the second you close your lids.
And then, as quickly as your little terror has turned your whole world upside down…. he or she decides they’ve tortured you enough, and give up their fight.
They’ll start sleeping, at night. They’ll manage to keep milk down.
And more importantly, they begin to give a little back.
It started for me the morning Callum’s eyes focused on me for the first time.
At last, this little blob I’d been cleaning and feeding around the clock for weeks acknowledged that I existed!
It seemed selfish to expect something back from my baby, but it was a huge relief to finally feel a connection with him.
Next came the smile. Not the grimace he pulls when he’s got gas, but a proper smile. He recognized me and he was actually pleased to see me.
And then, around about the first time he began to gurgle, he learned to laugh.
Now, just a few weeks after that first flicker of recognition, I can make Callum smile and laugh at will. I just have to screw up my face and grin, and he copies me with a chuckle.
His eyes follow me around the room and he craves the comfort he gets in mine or his mom’s arms.
And , just like that, the memories of those stressful, punishing, sleep-deprived nights begin to fade.
I’m smitten — and fall more in love with baby Callum every day.
So if you’re a new mom or dad, struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel… Hang in there… It’ll be well worth the wait!
– Ian Garland
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