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Parents Panel: How did your life change when a baby came along?

The sleepless nights? The social life… or lack thereof? Our panel on the ways their lives were never the same again.

AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

This week, we asked our panel to tell us what happened in their own lives when their first child arrived. Everyone knows about the lack of sleep, the additional commitments – but what are the other impacts of a baby in the house?

What was the biggest change for you after having your first child?

Here’s what they had to say…

 

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

I had to learn to let go: For me, being a little bit of a control freak, letting go was a huge thing. I really had to just accept that I won’t be able to plan everything anymore, as babies and small children are not the most reliable creatures.

- Marta Lisiecka

Missing my friends: I missed the freedom of catching up with my friends at a drop of a hat for a coffee or lunch, a day out walking a mountain, off cycling for a sunny summers day. I still miss all of that to be honest.

- Denise

Our relationship changed: There was a massive change in the family dynamic. When our son came along, I breastfed him. So a massive amount of my time was spent with him; and in turn a massive amount of his time was spent with me. With hindsight, my partner kind of got left out quite a bit. I would also have been quite “possessive” of him and, inadvertently, critical of how others interacted with him. I didn’t realise I was doing it. That did cause a strain for us – thankfully we got through it but it was tough. I don’t think any of us fully appreciated the impact a baby would have on our relationship.

- Olly Keegan

Source: Tim Bish

No more spontaneity: The biggest change was probably losing the ability to do what you wanted, when you wanted. Before children came in to our lives, Karen and I would be fairly spur of the moment kinda people. We’d meet up in the pub after work, hit the cinema whenever we wanted to, nights out or go on short notice trips away. Naturally, that all changed.

- Ken Hyland

I lost friends: The main change after I had my first child was the amount of friends that I lost. People stopped asking me to go places with them, automatically assuming that because I had a child that I wouldn’t want to go. Eventually the friendship that was there drifts away. This can be very hard.

- Denise Cumiskey

The way people looked at me: I was 18 when I had Rhiannon, and I’ve always looked quite young compared to my peers, so the addition of a little infant on my arm was something that attracted quite a few looks. My husband also looks quite a bit older than me (he’s the bearded tattooed type) so we were a sight to behold. It intensified when I had to breastfeed my daughter in public.

I’m a very introverted person, and definitely not into being noticed when i’m out and about with my family so it was actually quite difficult for me to in the beginning. I would choose places that were less crowded so we could walk around in peace. Eventually I got over it and stopped caring so much.

- Susannah O’Brien

More: Parents Panel: What do you put in your child’s lunchbox?

More: Parents Panel: What’s your go-to response when your child misbehaves?

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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