While welcoming a bundle of joy is filled with happiness and excitement, it’s also coupled with fear, anxiety, confusion, and exhaustion. You go from being in control to being frantic and stressed, and it might take a while for you to transition and get things in order. Then there is the fear of being ridiculed and judged for the way you raise your children (case in point: our article, “5 Moms Share Their Worst Parent Shaming Experiences”). The pressure to be the "perfect" parent has made them afraid to ask for help.
It's why we are not surprised that an anonymous letter is going viral with its simple but reassuring message that every new parent will appreciate hearing. Posted NHS Ayrshire Maternity Unit, a university hospital in Scotland,on their Facebook page, the letter is wonderfully written from the perspective of a newborn. It talks about the hardships that come with being a new parent -- how mom and dad always strive for perfection -- but that it’s also natural (and it’s really okay!) to commit mistakes while raising their baby.
“Dear Mummy and Daddy, please keep this letter from me in a place where you can read it and re-read it when things are rough, and you are feeling down,” the letter starts.
“Please don’t expect too much from me as a newborn baby, or too much of yourselves as parents. Give us both six weeks as a birthday present, six weeks for me to grow, develop, mature, and become more stable and predictable—six weeks for you to rest and relax and allow your body to get back to normal.”
The letter goes on to advise parents on how to treat their newborn, but in a way that does not dictate what is right and wrong. It encourages parents to get to know their child, and observe and provide for his needs as he grows.
“Please feed me when I am hungry. I never knew hunger in your womb and clocks and time mean little to me. Please hold, cuddle, kiss, touch, stroke, and croon to me. I was always held closely in your womb and have never been alone before.
“Please forgive me if I cry a lot. I am not a tyrant who was sent to make your life miserable, the only way I can tell you I am not happy is with my cry, bear with me, and in a short time, as I mature, I will spend less crying and more time socializing.
“Please take the time to find out who I am, how I differ from you and how much I can bring to you. Watch me carefully, and I’ll tell you things which soothe, console, and please me.”
The “newborn” also tells parents it’s okay not to be perfect and commit mistakes. After all, the baby can take it. “Please remember that I am resilient and can withstand the many natural mistakes you make with me. As long as you make them with love, I cannot be harmed.
As the letter ends, the parents are reminded they also need to take care of themselves and their relationship as a couple, so they can take better care of their baby. Sometimes,it’s easy to put our feelings aside because we think everything is for the baby. But we don’t realize how we feel about ourselves is reflected in how we treat our children. “Please take care of yourself; eat a balanced diet, rest, and exercise so that when we are together, you have the patience and energy to take care of me. The cure for a fussy baby is more rest for Mum.
“Please take care of your relationship with each other. What good is family bonding if there is no family left for me to bond with?”
“Please don’t be disappointed when I am not the perfect baby you expected nor disappointed with yourselves when you are not the perfect parents.”
Caring for a newborn may seem like a lifetime, but in reality, the twelve months pass by so quickly that when your baby turns a year older, you’ll wish that you can take care of your newborn for a little while longer.
“Although I may have turned your life upside down, please remind yourselves that things will be back to normal before long. Enjoy me—I’ll never be this little again!”
Yes, the magical moment when two members of the family become three wears down when all the stress settles in, but just think: All this worrying is normal. It means you really want to be good parents! So take a deep breath, relax, and embrace the change. You got this.