Through the paper-thin walls of our flat I can hear the tiny girl crying and her daddy padding the floor, whispering to her. I can hear her mummy’s phone ringing - another well wisher, another concerned family member, another excited friend.
The sounds make all the memories come flooding back, of when my own Bean was as tiny and helpless as this new soul.
So the baby hates her cot and will only sleep in daddy’s arms - I know! M did that for 16 days straight! Have you tried a hot water bottle and a …
No. Hush mama.
So she will only drink from one boob and we’ve had to buy a pump for the other - Yes! Good! What brand did you buy and Oh I remember when M…
No. Hush mama.
So she hasn’t yet recovered her birth weight and we don’t want her to catch cold and - It’s okay! Because, you know, she’s filling her nappies and so she must be fine, and you really don’t need to worry about…
Stop it mama. Hush.
Hush because it’s their baby to get to know, their feet to find as parents. Hush because you know, you remember, not just your own Bean’s cries but everyone’s else attempts to shush him, to prove They Knew Babies, to show you the hundreds of things you had yet to learn. Hush because you didn’t need their advice, in the end. Hush because they don’t need yours.
Hush, but open your ears and listen when they want to talk. Hush, but get cooking and bring them some stew or flapjacks. Hush, but open your arms and cuddle that little person so her mama can have a shower or a cup of tea. Just hush and be there, mama.