me to everyone while pregnant: "i'm going to do so much with the baby! we're going to folk fest when they're a week old!"
everyone to me: "oh, no you're not. you just wait and see."
us, one week after having fletcher:
i think people warning others about the time and energy required of parenthood comes from a good place. i think they want to make sure those expecting are prepared (especially first time, young and/or busy parents). but... i also think they're mostly wrong.
obviously the body needs time to heal and newborns require exactly the amount of care they demand - new mothers owe themselves and their children as much downtime as necessary. in my case, i could balance healing and infant care with small and enjoyable family adventures. our first was attending our local folk festival one week after fletcher was born.
i won't lie - i was nervous. i had basically just regained my ability to walk (or, more accurately, hobble), i hadn't left the house with the baby for any significant amount of time and i was just getting comfortable with our daily routines (all of which i was about to disrupt in some way).
on the first day, my partner and i attended the festival later in the evening and spent about four hours there. we walked the twenty minutes from our house to the grounds, plopped down on the hill (not easy on the stitches), stuffed our faces with mini donuts and enjoyed buffy sainte-marie's set. fletcher was completely alert and quite content.
shortly after the sun set, she fell asleep at her"usual" time (if you can call it that after one week) and slept through until we arrived home, waking up for a quick feed and passing back out. she even snoozed through the decemberists, the loud - and fucking awesome - headliner (evidence below).
case in point, we had an amazing time and i'm immensely glad i pushed myself out of my comfort zone. if you're contemplating bringing your newborn out early, my advice is - do it! here are some little takeaways for you:
adventure backpack musts:
this being my first baby, i spend a lot of time 1) feeling overwhelmed and 2) worried i'm going to break her. taking fletcher out so early helped ease multiple anxieties. breast feeding in public? done! bringing her on a long outing? done! taking her outdoors and exposing her to the elements? done! bringing her somewhere noisy? done! being in a crowd of people with her? done! (although i wouldn't advise letting strangers get too close until the first round of vaccines at two months.) changing her diaper on the ground? done! getting spit up on in public? done! breaking our established routine? done (with no catastrophic consequences)!
if i learnt one thing from this experience, it's to set reasonable expectations and go with the flow. my biggest takeaway was accepting that i might arrive later, leave earlier or not be able to go at all. we missed two days of the four day festival - one because smoke rolled in from the west coast, making the air quality atrocious and one because the weather was too miserable for any of us to enjoy ourselves. we left earlier than planned one of the days we did attend, because i was sore, tired and worried that fletcher was cold. making adjustments is okay. what's important is that we went and that the time we spent was entirely perfect.