NB: Sponsored Post
Someone, it may or may not have been CS Lewis, once said:
“We read to know we are not alone.”
As parents, when we read, we’re usually quite certain that we’re not alone – mainly because there’s always a kid by our side that we’re either trying to keep quiet or sleep (sometimes both).
My point stands, however.
Knowing we are not alone is crucial – especially for new parents. To be clear, by ‘alone’, I don’t mean isolated geographically. It’s perfectly possible to be in the midst of a crowd of people and still feel alone. What I’m talking about is the avoidance of feeling emotionally segregated.
As a new parent your whole world is turned upside down – often literally – and it’s easy to feel completely ‘at sea’ – I know I did. In this state of confusion, I believe that it’s crucial to find others who’ve been there and done that. Those who’ve navigated the storm you’re currently in the midst of – people who found dry land and normality. It’s also immensely comforting to meet others who are in the same situation as you – brother and sisters in arms – to share your worries, concerns, triumphs and disasters with.
This is why I want to talk about My Baby Way – an online series based around the lives of new families, from pregnancy through to parenthood. Usually I’m not one for plugging products, but I wanted to introduce everyone to this excellent American series – because like CS Lewis said – watching it showed me I was not alone.
Parenting is hard.
There, I said it.
It’s something that needs to be said more often, in my view.
PARENTING IS HARD!
Parenting is also wonderful, challenging, rewarding, exhausting, tedious, exhilarating and constantly surprising.
Watching the couples featured in My Baby Way, I was thrilled to see that so much of my experience mirrored in theirs. Yes, I’m British and they’re American – but the roller-coaster ride that is bringing a new human being into the world is so clearly universal. Seeing that, feeling that, was a great benefit to me.
The series focuses on 5 couples in their journey towards becoming a family. Each short episode (a couple of minutes) documents a stage in the couples’ lives – before and after their child arrives. I found myself nodding along to the interviews. With some of what was said their experience was spookily close to my own.
Parents Ali and Joe, from Philadelphia – parents to Sebastian – seemed to inhabit a world view close to that of Sam’s mum and me:
“I guess I’d never really thought about what parenting a really young child is like,” says Joe, sounding like me. “Yes I was intellectually prepared because I understood the mechanics of having of a baby (…) but I don’t think you know until you’re there.”
It’s true – you don’t know until you experience it. But to hear someone else say they felt as unprepared as I did – that felt great. It wasn’t just me after all!
Erica and Nicholas – parents to a girl called Arria – are another couple I found myself warming towards. Erica explained how Arria’s arrival changed their relationship.
“I feel like the teamwork has become super strong – the first 2 to 3 days after we were out of the hospital it was like ‘Oh my goodness, this is a partnership – we’re doing it together.”
Again, I should have expected my relationship with Sam’s mum to change. I should have but I didn’t. I suddenly found myself as part of a team. Looking back, it’s obvious that would happen. But at the time it was surprising to me.
Stephanie and Jarred, a couple from Maryland, share their experiences with their daughter Athena. The baby was premature – something I experienced with my own son Sam – I found it fascinating to watch another couple deal with this. Jarred talks of his experience of fatherhood:
“It put life into perspective. Not just my life (…) actually life itself. You get a much better understanding of it and how fragile it can be.”
Going through several weeks in hospital with Sam, when he was premature, made me realise how fragile life is – and how much I wanted to protect him. Universal feelings I know – but very real and new to me.
The series has left me with a warmth and feeling of connection that I haven’t felt to television in a long time. Let’s be honest – My Baby Way is not going to change your life. But you may see a lot of your life in it and that might change how you feel about it.
I’d recommend stopping by the My Baby Way site and through it you’ll see how none of us are alone as parents – we’re all go through the same worries and concerns, highs and lows. That, to me is important.
Can we have a British version soon please?
Still Sinking… (we all are)
The Out of Depth Dad.