Friday, 8 August 2014

Dragons of New Motherhood and Sleep Deprivation

I’ve been a big fan of dragons for as long as I can remember. Sure, I wouldn’t want to meet one in a dark alley, but in books, movies and art I find these overgrown lizards endlessly fascinating. Years ago I started collecting dragon statues. I thought I might share a few with you, and the stories behind them.

First up, meet the dragons of New Motherhood and Sleep Deprivation.

These were a gift from the Carnivore, our first Christmas as new parents. Drama Duck was about eight weeks old at the time, and we’d just spent probably the longest six weeks of our lives coming to grips with this new little person in our lives.

This new little person who categorically refused to sleep.

It turned out the poor little mite had silent reflux, so every time we laid her down to sleep her gastric juices rose up and burned her oesophagus. But because there were no outward signs (hence the “silent” part of silent reflux) we had no idea and were at our wits’ end. The Carnivore spent hours every night rocking with her in the rocking chair and reciting accounting principles in the hope of boring her to sleep. (She now says this is the root of her dislike of maths!)

I remember one horrendous day when she cried for nearly twelve hours straight, only stopping for feeds. I was beside myself. My mother-in-law arrived after a teary phone call to find me sobbing on my bed. She took the baby so I could eat and reassured me that things would get better.

I found it hard to believe at the time! But at the six-week check-up with the paediatrician, he diagnosed the problem and things rapidly improved.

But I’ll never forget that feeling: hormones running rampant, consumed with worry and overwhelmed by being responsible for a helpless beloved baby – and trying to function on about three hours’ (broken) sleep a night. New motherhood can certainly be challenging, particularly with your first. You have no idea what you’re doing, and can hardly believe they let such an unqualified person leave the hospital with this precious but perplexing little creature.

But by the time Christmas rolled around we’d started to get the hang of this whole parenting thing, and I was thrilled to receive this gorgeous dragon mum and her new hatchling. They came from a glass blower in The Rocks in Sydney, so they’re one of a kind, and a lovely reminder of a special time in our lives. Becoming a mother for the first time is a shock no amount of preparation can ready you for – but it also brings a joy you could never imagine.

I don’t know how dragons feel about it, but that mum looks pretty pleased with her little one. Maybe baby dragons are good sleepers?

What about you? Do you collect anything? Stamps, buttons, tea cups? Anything unusual? (You can tell me, I promise to keep it a secret!)

Or do you have any “new baby” stories to share? If you’re a new mum, congratulations … and I hope your little one is a good sleeper!

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