No Pressure Sis

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I became an Uncle for the first time this week. My sister who has been impatiently counting down the days gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. We are Skype acquainted and I’ve taken the opportunity to flex the credit card and assume the role of Uncle Spoiler.

Ever since that first glimpse of her niece Anna has developed a mischievous broody glint in her eye and Max keeps banging on about sister this and sister that – it’s fair to say I’m feeling the pressure from all angles.  In truth I’d love another child and it will happen but in the interim I get to have all of the excitement without any of the responsibility with my niece.

In the run up to the big day I was stalking my sister via Facebook to see if I could glean any pregnancy news and noticed a friend’s comment – “it’s the most wonderful thing in the world being a mum, you’ll love it”. I’m sure this is the ‘done’ sentiment to share on these occasions and it’s obviously well meaning but I wonder if it’s actually helpful.

I can remember as a new parent I too had been told that it’s “the most wonderful thing in the world”. I can remember a friend telling me that something happens once you become a Dad, an instant change the moment your child takes their first breaths. I was also told just how much I’d “love it” and I have loved it and I do love it but sometimes I don’t and sometimes I fleetingly glance back on my old life with come hither eyes and I’m not sure I did feel the instantaneous change I was told I should have as soon as Max made his dramatic entrance.

Things happen differently for different people. I have no doubt that for some being a parent is all they have ever hoped for, it is their most wonderful thing and they do love it, but some parents won’t feel that straight away, some take a little longer to arrive there and some may never get there at all.

I’m not criticising the person who made this comment, it’s a throwaway line that I might deliver myself one day. But there will be impending parents who have read something similar, who are scared of what’s about to happen to them, who are doubting themselves and feeling the pressure. Then there will be new parents that have been banking on the fact that it is the most wonderful thing in the world and for them in those early days it’s not.

I know my sister will be a fantastic mother and with a couple of clucky grandparents just down the road and a caring partner she will have all the support she needs. It will be wonderful, you will love it but there might be days when it’s not and you don’t and that is okay too.

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 Linking up with Jess at http://essentiallyjess.com/

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  • MumOfFiveGirls

    I have those days!!

    • daddownunder

      I don’t think you’re alone Veronica

  • http://www.readysetschool.com.au/ Denyse Whelan

    What a beautiful sentiment with a great dose of “keeping it real” congrats Uncle and your boy has a cousin! Hard to be living in separate hemispheres! I love the photo of you with Max. My son amazes me with the love he has for his now 3 kids. Last one born two weeks ago & when we visited yesterday, he just had her on his knees & gazing lovingly.. You dads.. You are the best! Grandma of 7 now!! Denyse

    • daddownunder

      Congrats on no.7 Denyse, you’re spoilt for choice on who to spoil : ) I suppose I was trying to say that you can love and feel scared and sad and overwhelmed all at the same time and that’s normal. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for commenting.

  • Carolyn Broadhead

    I clearly remember when my eldest daughter was 8 weeks old crying my eyes out thinking ‘what have I done’. She had colic and cried all day and night for almost 4 months… It is the most wonderful thing being a parent, but it’s also one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. I wish someone had warned me properly about the sleep deprivation and I might have been better prepared in those early days.

    • daddownunder

      Thanks Carolyn, that sort of what I was trying to get at, yes it’s amazing but there will be times when its not and that is fine and completely normal.

  • Aroha @ Colours of Sunset

    people really do say funny things in different situations. i know they are trying to be helpful/encouraging/whatever but i sometimes wonder if they think. i made the mistake of saying “you’re not a parent until you’ve had vomit on your shirt” in front of people who don’t have kids. For all I know they can’t, and it was the most insensitive comment I could have made. I was diagnosed with PPD when my son was 18 months old and many times during that 18 months wondered why on earth I’d wanted a child! anyway, all that aside, massive congrats to your sister! And congrats to you! Having a niece (and nephew – I have one of each from my sisters!) is awesome!! We get to babysit and be a cute little family of 4 and then give her back and still sleep all night :) -Aroha (stopping by for #teamIBOT)

    • daddownunder

      Thanks Aroha I’m really excited about the uncle thing, Max seems to have twigged that there’s something a bit special about this little baby too.

  • sarah_kate25

    CONGRATULATIONS Uncle! Such a special time!

    • daddownunder

      Thanks Sarah, cant wait to get stuck in and start uncl’ing

  • http://www.mamaneedsmana.com/ Nicole R.

    It’s refreshing to see a post that isn’t all, “Babies are incredible! You will love every millisecond of being a parent!” because, as you say, there are times when it’s hard and you wish you had your old life back. It’s taken four years for my husband and I to properly adapt, and only now do we want another. Before this point? HELL NO. We couldn’t think of anything worse than having another kid. As you say, it takes some parents longer than others.

    Congratulations on becoming an Uncle :)

    • daddownunder

      Thanks Nicole, not everyone will agree but as i say everybody is different. I think I’m just about there and definitely want Max to have a little brother or sister at some point. Thanks for stopping by

  • http://www.averyblendedfamily.com/ Eleise Hale

    It is true, but I also think becoming a parent is truely wonderful but also shit at the same time. I told my cousin after she was struggling with PND that motherhood was really shit some days and sometimes I would beg my husband to watch my daughter whilst I disappeared for an hour. She looked at me with disbelief and then thanked me for my honesty. I am one of the people who often pretend it is all rosy when new mums probably need assurance that it is really tough too.

    • daddownunder

      Thanks Eleise, everybody is different and there is already lots of pressure on new parents to perform without feeling that something is wrong with them if they aren’t loving every moment.

  • http://www.kyliepurtell.com/ Kylie Purtell

    Truer words never spoken Matt. It is one of the best things you’ll ever do, and you will love it. But it is also one of the hardest and emotionally draining things you’ll ever do and there will definitely be days where you think “Why the hell did I want kids!”. I think its important to talk about both the positive and negative aspects of it so people have realistic expectations going in and don’t set themselves up for feeling like a failure if it’s not all roses and baby powder like the commercials say!

    • daddownunder

      Thanks Kylie, its that old cliché of knowing your life is about to change but not truly grasping just how much. its completely different the 2nd time around (I imagine), you know what’s about to happen to you. Thanks for stopping by

  • http://www.jfgibson.com.au/ Jodi Gibson

    Love this post Matt. There’s two things that are said about parenting I’ve discovered. The ‘it’s the most amazing thing you’ll ever experience’ and the ‘it’s the hardest job in the world.’ Both are true. Most days lay somewhere in between.

    • daddownunder

      Yes Jodi, I am with you on your assessment of parenting. I don’t want to sound negative because I wouldn’t have it any other way, just trying to be a realist. Thanks for commenting.

  • Renee Wilson

    Great post. I remember at my six week check up after I had my first daughter, the obs asked me how I liked being a mother. I told him it was the hardest role I’ve ever had in my life, but the most rewarding. He looked shocked by my honesty. Like you, I wouldn’t change a thing, but there are some days when you need a time out and you mourn your old life. I only said to hubby on the weekend that if we didn’t have kids we’d be out clubbing and dancing all night. I then had two glasses of wine and woke up with a hangover the next day :( There’s no way I’d change things, but it is nice to reminisce sometimes.

    • daddownunder

      Yes I’m happy to say goodbye to the hangovers, I definitely don’t miss them and every time I have a little taster of the old life I do find myself craving family. Thanks Renee, glad you liked it.

  • Melissa Puli

    So true! We had hell with our first born for the first three months… severe colic and post natal depression for myself! I dreaded having a second baby because I feared I would experience the same things all over again. I just didn’t know if I could cope with it all. After the birth of our second child – he was and is a completely different child… slept brilliantly! At this very moment I am hiding in the wardrobe from the two kids whilst they fight it out in the lounge room…. not every day is perfect but I don’t think I would change a thing!

    • daddownunder

      That’s the uncertainty of parenting isn’t it, you never really know what’s going to happen or how it will be. Thanks for sharing Melissa, sounds like you’re in a good place (and I don’t mean the wardrobe)

  • http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/ Julie

    I tend to tell new parents, that having a baby is the best and the worse thing that could ever happen to you. That in having a child you will experience highs and lows like never before in your life.

    • daddownunder

      That sounds like a more balanced account of things Julie.

  • Neets

    Great post Matt. Both my kids were premature. I didn’t connect with my son for 8 weeks & my daughter just recently & she’s 2.5! I think many of us reminisce about pre baby days.

    • daddownunder

      Its definitely not a one size fits all experience is it? I’m glad you got there and I’m glad you like the post

  • http://circleoftoast.blogspot.com.au/ Circle of Toast

    Congratulations on Unclehood – and you’re totally right, I often say that being a parent *is* brilliant, but it’s also messy, exhausting, terrifying, guilt-inducing, boring and expensive. But we still do it!

    • daddownunder

      Thank you, I’m looking forward to my first uncle assignment. Yes parenting is certainly a moving target, but overall I love what I do and wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks for stopping by

  • bodyandfeetretreat

    Congrats on becoming an uncle – you get to be the cool guy that lets his niece do things her parents wouldn’t let her – sort of like a grandparent only younger !!!
    I think that for all parents it’s different – I didn’t feel this over whelming love for K when she was born – I really felt like I learned to love her over a period of time. I still feel bad when I think about it because everyone spoke of this out pouring of love that I would feel – and I didn’t. But, I love her to bits now (even when she drives me nuts) and I guess that is what counts.
    Have the best day !
    Me

    • daddownunder

      My point entirely, you are told how to feel and for some people that’s a lot of pressure when you aren’t feeling what you ‘should’ be feeling. Thanks for sharing.

  • losingmylemons

    A well-timed post, I was just talking to a colleague about having three children (she is planning a third), she asked if I’d ever regretted having my 3rd.

    “Oh God no!” I spluttered… “I always wanted 3.”

    And this is true, but I failed to admit that sometimes I feel like running away, living alone in a kibbutz, getting myself a Bradley Cooper-like toy boy and drinking champagne till I collapse.

    Other than that it’s fab… ;)

    Congratulations on becoming an Uncle – Yippeeee!

    • daddownunder

      Thanks Lemons. I just had to google Bradley Cooper, I can see he has a certain something I suppose : ) Maybe its best that you didn’t share your drunken fantasy with your friend ; )

  • Sarah Mac

    I can honestly say that I felt very little for my first son for the first couple of months other than an overwhelming responsibility to look after him. I think it took that long to get to know him and to relax. I remember ( nearly 30 years later) the moment I felt a huge rush of love for that tiny person and its stayed with me ever since.

    • daddownunder

      You’ll have to pass that comment onto your son, that’ll make him blush : ) Max’s birth coincided with the Ashes Cricket Test, so for the first five days I was in my element, Max was sleeping and I was watching all the ‘action’.

  • Emily

    It’s no picnic but it’s a journey – as you know. Congrats to your sissy, I’m sure you have much knowledge to impart to her :)

    • daddownunder

      I’m not sure I do Em, but I always appreciate your confidence in me : )

  • http://essentiallyjess.com/ EssentiallyJess

    For me it was instant, but I know that it’s not for everyone. It’s funny that we say it all the time though.
    Also, how young do you look in that pic?

    • daddownunder

      That picture was taken before all the late nights Jess, actually there were late nights then as well but they were more fun : )

  • Angela East

    I read on a blog ages ago that someone was told by their sister ‘this is the best and worst thing you have ever done in your life’ just after she gave birth. That has stuck with me as the truth!

    • daddownunder

      I think that a bit more balance is a good thing Angela, for some people not all of them