How to find time to relax with a newborn, a question I also found myself asking regularly, often coming up with the same answer – you don’t find time! Relaxation becomes a thing of the past when you are caring for a little human, and you may often question when you will be able to find the time. And in my experience, what I found was not that I ‘found time’ to relax with a newborn, but rather I had to change my mindset towards what I was already doing. Finding ‘relaxation’ within my duties as a father, enjoying the moment and practicing this idea you may have heard about called ‘mindfulness’.
There are many questions that I began asking once my daughter had come along. How often does a newborn need to feed? How many wet nappies is normal? Is my baby’s poo colour normal? But no question was more pressing than finding out how to get sleep with a newborn. As I mentioned in my previous post ‘Expectations VS Reality – What to Expect as A New Dad‘, there are quite a few changes that occur when you become a father, but the most challenging change I found was adjusting to the new sleep pattern that a newborn entails. This was such a challenge that I found myself Googling for answers a few times a day in the first few weeks. I don’t know if I ever found a single answer that worked, but I tried a lot of strategies that were recommended and my wife and I were lucky enough to find some semblance of normal sleep after the first 7 – 8 months. Hopefully through reading my journey, it will help you with yours.
When I think of parenting, one of the first things I think of is survival. Trying to survive each day. Trying to keep your sanity. Trying to keep this mini human alive. So it makes sense that one of our core survival instincts, the ‘Fight, Flight, Freeze’ (or Acute Stress Response) would play an important role in parenting, not only in how it helps us, but also in how it can hinder us. While there is plenty of information explaining the ‘Fight, Flight, Freeze’ response on the internet, the below explanation looks at applying this concept to some common parenting experiences (using some of my own experiences as examples). So lets take a look at some Fight, Flight, Freeze examples in parenting.
I sometimes think back to where my mind was at prior to having a baby, when my wife was still pregnant and we were in the ‘expecting phase’. At the time we were just over the moon to be having a baby, so I thought I knew what to expect as a new dad. And the challenge is that nothing can really prepare you. You can read tonnes of blogs, watch YouTube videos of peoples experiences, or even have friends tell you the honest truth. But none of that will prepare you, because you haven’t been through it yourself. You have nothing to compare those stories against in your own personal experience bank. So what your brain does compare the stories to, are experiences that it thinks are related. Let me run through some of my own personal examples.