A touching letter from newborn baby to parent is being shared widely on the internet, providing a timely reminder to new parents that those first weeks can be tough, but that things will get better.
The letter has been around for almost 10 years, but often enjoys a surge of attention when someone rediscovers its message, which is timeless and important, whether you're a first-time parent, or bringing home your tenth baby.
"Dear Mummy and Daddy," it begins, "Please keep this letter from me in a place where you can read it and re-read it when things are rough and you are feeling down." It then goes on to share what have become known as the Newborn's 10 Commandments.
The commandments begin by asking parents not to expect too much from their newborn child, or too much of themselves as parents. "Give us both six weeks as a birthday present, six weeks for me to grow, develop, mature, and become more stable and predictable – six weeks for you to rest and relax and allow your body to get back to normal."
Those first six weeks are a time of massive adjustment, and there is often a lot of crying – not all from the baby. "Please forgive me if I cry a lot," the letter goes on. "I am not a tyrant who was sent to make your life miserable."
The letter also reminds parents that we all make mistakes, and that they don't need to be perfect parents, but nor should they expect a perfect baby.
"Please remember that I am resilient and can withstand the many natural mistakes you'll make with me. As long as you make them with love, I cannot be harmed."
The letter also offers a reminder that all parents need to hear. "Please take care of yourself; eat a balanced diet, rest, and exercise so that when we are together, you have the patience and energy to take care of me."
The author finishes by suggesting parents keep the "big picture" in mind. "I'll be like this for a very short time, though it seems like forever to you now. Although I may have turned your life upside down, please remind yourselves that things will be back to normal before long. Enjoy me – I'll never be this little again!"
The origin of the letter is unknown, but the message is powerful and one that has been helping parents through those tough first weeks for years.