It all made sense!
I was one of those expectant mothers who bought enough ‘understand your newborn’ and ‘parenting 101’ books to fill a library. I dedicated the latter part of my maternity leave to studying the art of looking after a little one, by the time my daughter was here I felt I could have stood on the rooftop of that maternity unit shouting ‘throw anything at me – I can cope! I have read ALL THE BOOKS!’ So you can imagine my surprise when in despair I realised (in my sleep deprived, unwashed and hungry state) that I had absolutely no clue how to console my ever screaming baby or to get her to sleep any longer than an hour of two at most. I felt cheated, the baby books said nothing about this! Or was my baby the odd one out?! Where was the glowing bliss and the gentle cooing I had expected? Where were the sleepy, blissful cuddles I had enjoyed when she was first born. Did I do this to her? Did I create a monster? I was at my wits end. I thought I had failed her, didn’t understand her, worried that we had no bond. I wondered, at 3am, why we were still awake and why nothing I did could get her to relax. She was just so grumpy, and I was so tired.
Looking back I was feeling pretty desperate at times. My family and friends nodded sympathetically when they daren’t ask about how we were getting on or asked the question every tired mum dreads ‘is she sleeping well?’. My poor husband felt helpless and I’m sure he felt the brunt of my frustration a few times sadly. And after plenty of frantic thumbing through in the middle of the night desperately looking for answers, my collection of baby books (clearly written about a baby who was the polar opposite to mine!) gathered dust in the corner.
It was one wintery, cold night when my daughter was about 12 weeks old and we were up for the 4th night that week with terrible crying and fussiness that I found my oasis in the desert of exhaustion. The Wonder Weeks website. I had googled ‘baby crying 12 weeks’ and lo and behold The Wonder Weeks website popped up. After reading a little about the book and watching the youtube video, I downloaded the app, ordered the book and by the time that little app had finished downloading I felt like a weight was being lifted. The Wonder Weeks simply outlines the times in a baby’s life when he or she is going through a period of mental or physical development which is likely to make baby fussy and upset and can be difficult to parent and manage, and the typical patterns are simply charted week by week with a handy ‘dark cloud and sunny day’ key so you can easily see where you are and of course this gives you prior warning – instantly it all made sense!
I can honestly say that after finding The Wonder Weeks there was a real turning point in both our confidence to parent our daughter and our confidence in ourselves. I especially had taken a real confidence knock and at times felt like a bit of a failure but all of a sudden I was able to look back at those really bad times and pin point the ‘stormy days’ and suddenly I found myself matching up dates and the chart and saying ‘so that’s why she was upset!’ – I half expected a chorus of angels and blinding sunlight to pour through the window, it was that much of a revelation!
One of the best things about The Wonder Weeks is the element of surprise: knowing there will be a change in your baby once the rough patch is over and wondering what new skills they will show you next! It makes it all worth it, and makes it all bearable because you know it will end, it will get better and rather than getting upset with her and with myself I try to remember ‘this too shall pass’.
Having a baby is a wonderful, tiring, rewarding, testing, beautiful gift and goodness knows it can be very hard at times but The Wonder Weeks takes the guess work out of it, but there is nothing better than knowing that you’ve got a week before the next storm hits to prepare which in turn makes it all the more bearable.
– Lauren Chapman (Mum to 14 month old Carmen)