The boy and I set off this morning to visit our friend who had given birth just a week or two ago. We went armed with cake and lunch, ready to listen and sympathise with the usual labour / hospital / midwife / breastfeeding / sleep deprivation stories that surround all new mums like an armour.
We were greeted at the door by our friend who looked just amazing - if not exactly well slept, then at the very least well rested and calm. She had pinged back to her pre-baby sporty physique and even looked like she might have sneaked in a long hot soak in the tub. Moreover, she was chatty and engaged - most new mums I have come across are like rabbits in the headlights, struggling to focus let alone communicate!
The baby meanwhile was a picture of contentment, fast asleep in his New Zealand fleece-lined Moses basket, despite my boy's best attempts to prod him into life! He snuggled in the way only brand new babies can do, and when he eventually woke for a feed he latched on and fed like a dream. A cloth-nappied Dream.
Ok - but surely this might mask a horrendous 3 day labour, emergency section, or haemorrhage? I've experienced and heard all the worst case scenarios, I had started to doubt a positive birth was even possible. But no, this darling baby's entrance was smooth. 8cm dilated before contractions had even begun! A ten minute water birth with just gas and air - when the birth plan was always an elective c-section! Immediate skin-to-skin, bonding and breastfeeding. No bloody aftermath, flashbacks or panic.
And I realised that this positive start to family life will reach far beyond just the birth. This family were calm, relaxed, energetic and ready to tackle anything. I have no doubt that if the usual colic or reflux or excema or teething worries strike, then they will cope admirably. We said our goodbyes with my heart gladdened and my mind at ease. Happy beginnings are possible.