4) There isn’t a magic age for when they stop needing you
“I sort of can’t wait until she doesn’t need me so much”… this is probably one of the saddest things I have ever heard another parent say because, at 31 years of age, I still need my mother. Admittedly, not for the same reasons as I did when I was young, but still for reasons that are completely legitimate. I think that a lot of parents have an expectation that their babies will need them less when they hit a certain age, but this isn’t true at all. They will just need them in a different way. For example, a two-year-old may not need to be rocked to sleep (though I’m sure some do) but many will still need a loving parent to lie with them until they fall asleep. They may not need the presence of a parent from the same fear of abandonment as that of a newborn, but their fears of the dark, or their simple desire for closeness and comfort from someone they love, isn’t any less valid. Children need us, regardless of their age.
I think that a lot of parents have an expectation that their babies will need them less when they hit a certain age, but this isn’t true at all. They will just need them in a different way.
5) Try to enjoy the journey
I know it’s hard. I’ve had those difficult, dark moments too. But I speak to a lot of grandparents in my job (and a lot of friendly strangers in my day-to-day life) and a common saying I hear is: “Enjoy it while it lasts.”
While it lasts… Because it doesn’t last. It’s easy to feel like you are going to be the parent of a baby forever, but in truth, you are only that for a very short period of time. Then, they grow up and that baby disappears. There will come a time in your life where you will never have to change another nappy, never have to spend another hour negotiating with someone to get dressed, and never have to wake up in the middle of the night (countless times) to soothe someone back to sleep again.
But there will also come a time in your life when you won’t be able to hold your tiny, helpless baby in your arms again, or get to rub your face against their soft baby hair, or snuggle them in your bed in the darkness. So as hard as it is, try to enjoy the journey. Because although it can be tempting to just want to hurry up and reach your destination… you need to remember that once you get there, your baby won’t be your baby anymore.
Originally published HERE.
Georgina is a mother, midwife and international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) from Australia. She is passionate about supporting and empowering parents to care for their babies instinctually and responsively, while also blogging and writing about her own journey of motherhood. You can read more from Georgina at www.georginadowden.com.au and join her community on Facebook.