This post is in collaboration with John Hughes
T and I have always been good drivers and we never questioned our driving ability - until we had a baby.
There's something about a tiny little human that makes you re-evaluate the way you do almost everything. Suddenly there's a huge amount of responsibility attached to even the most basic daily tasks. Knowing you're carrying the most precious cargo ever is enough to shake even the safest of drivers.
I remember the drive home from the hospital. How gently we placed her into the car seat afraid we might break her. I sat in the back of the car because I was so nervous. I needed to see her and make sure everything was ok. I've never seen T drive so cautiously. I don't think he even got up to the speed limit the whole way home. He normally gets frustrated by the slow drivers, but here he was the slowest one on the road. Luckily it was late on a Sunday night so we didn't have to deal with other disgruntled drivers.
Despite daddy's careful driving, bub wasn't a fan of the car that night. Each time we stopped she screamed her lungs out. You know when you really want to get somewhere without stopping and you end up having to stop way more than usual, it was one of those journey's. I swear we got every red light on the way home. Every. single. one.
I ended up not being able to drive for almost nine weeks after her birth because of my emergency c-section and complications with my scar healing. By that stage I had grown extremely anxious about driving with her. I hated the fact that I couldn't see her while driving and I was so worried she'd stop breathing and I wouldn't know. To the point where I considered staying home forever so I didn't have to do it. I figured it would be doable for a while with online shopping and all, but eventually there'd come a time where I'd need to leave the house with her. So, I had to take a leap of faith and just get on with it.
Turns out I took a rather big leap, by joining a mothers group, which forced me to drive to a different place each week. It was the best thing for me to overcome my fear. The first few weeks were a bit scary. One day in particular was rather stressful as she started 'choking' while I was driving. She started coughing while I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, which sent me into a mild panic because I was stuck. I couldn't pull over until the lights changed, but by that time she'd stopped so I assumed everything was fine. About a km down the road she started spluttering again and my heart almost jumped out of my throat. I pulled over straight away fearing the worst given her allergies and tendency to randomly choke. I got to the back of the car expecting to find a very sick child; but there was this happy, smiley baby staring back at me wondering what all the fuss was about. It turns out she wasn't choking, but rather testing out her vocal skills and practising new sounds (and giving mummy a heart attack).
Thankfully that was my only scare while driving. The more I drove with her the easier it got. I quickly learnt if I timed drives around her feeds (as much as possible), it made for a much happier baby and less stressed mummy. We also got her some toys to hang off the car seat and soon car rides turned into playtime and nap time for her. I slowly forgot about not being able to see her and my anxiety soon faded away.
We've just turned bub around to front facing this week, she finally reached the shoulder height at 9 months old. After getting used to not being able to see her, its quite a shock to look in the rear vision mirror and see her face smiling back at me. Or her chomping away on her tigger toy. Or her dummy. Or sucking on her fingers as she stares out the window amazed by her new-found view. She sits there so proud of herself with her legs crossed and all. She thinks shes such a big girl now.
I look forward to car trips instead of avoiding them now. Driving has actually turned into me time. Time when I can have a break and not have to worry about where she is and what she's getting into. Time when I can connect to the outside world. Time when I can listen to music I like, instead of abc songs (although the giggle and hoot theme song has made an appearance once or twice on the odd occasion she's been grumpy). I now make excuses to go out instead of staying home and everyone comments about how social we are. Honestly I'm relishing the fact that I can drive wherever I want now whenever I want and not just to and from work each day. Even better I get to take my little buddy along with me.
We're you ever anxious driving with a baby for the first time?
Do you have strategies to make car trips less stressful?
*Disclosure - This is a paid post in conjunction with John Hughes
John Hughes has been Western Australia's most trusted car dealer since 1969, with a philosophy that is centred around their valued customers. When it comes to selling cars they pride themselves on their product and professional staff who strive to live up to the Company Philosophy. They specialise in the sale of new and used cars at the Victoria Park and Bentley dealerships, as well as online sales and customer support both locally and nationally.
Linking up with Eva, Alicia, Kirsty, Kaz and Grace.