I have decided to compile a list of things that I have learnt since giving birth. Things I wish someone had warned me about… yes, people will mention the impending sleepless nights, people will look at your bump and exclaim “Oh! You’ll have your work cut out for you soon…” but this list contains some finer details that everyone decided to keep a secret from me before giving birth. Read and enjoy, but hopefully my experience can help some mums-to-be out there.
Disclaimer: I discuss boobies and butts, theres not much dignity left after childbirth anyway.
Birth plans are stupid.
They shouldn’t encourage them at parent class – it’s false hope. Do you know how many birth plans just DON’T happen?! I wanted to give birth in the ‘Home From Home’ unit… I only wanted gas and air… I wanted to FEEL what it was like to bring my baby into the world (clueless, not mental). I envisioned myself in a mermaid-esque way with my partner stroking my hair. I wanted to feel strong and beautiful… instead, I vomited up the jalepeno cheese I’d eaten earlier that evening when I started having contractions. I sat like a prune in the birthing pool for 5 hours and didn’t dilate a single centimetre. I hallucinated, and screamed like a banshee. When my waters FINALLY broke they contained traces of meconium. I got moved upstairs to the labour ward where I begged for and received an epidural (don’t be brave girls, take all the pain relief you can get). Tobias was back to back, somehow the little guy got himself turned around, but he needed some help near the end. My 12 hours of labour ended with an episiotomy (google it, I dare you) and help from forceps (brutal). My baby wasn’t born into a calm candlelit room, or into a birthing pool like I’d imagined, but he was healthy, safe and absolutely beautiful. I instantly forgot about the birth plan I had made, and the pain of the labour I had just gone through.
After you give birth sitting down REALLY HURTS.
Okay, so I don’t know if this is true for every single woman after giving birth, but I’ve spoken to many other mums and they all seem to wince in empathy with me. I remember spending my third trimester either lying or sitting. I very rarely stood up and when I did, I was complaining about it. I wish I’d appreciated being able to sit on my fat pregnant ass more. Because after the glorious stitching up of my who-ha I struggled to sit down for weeks. It was a pain like no other. NO ONE WARNED ME. I really wish I’d been more prepared for that. Sitting down was agony, when I wasn’t lying down crying about it and trying to get the hang of breastfeeding I was floating in a salt water bath for relief. I remember crying to Andy, and cursing the skies “WHEN WILL MY BUTT STOP HURTING?!!!”So if you’re pregnant right now, SIT DOWN!! Remember how that feels, and when you give birth and endure the agony of the stitches healing and your lady bits trying to recover, have faith – it will heal.
p.s. cars + speed bumps were the worst, I sobbed.
p. p. s. I follow this brilliantly hilarious chick called “The Young Mummy” – she has just given birth to a beautiful little girl – and she uses these freezer ice packs made for your vajayjay – I WISH SOMEONE TOLD ME THOSE EXISTED.
As you give birth to your baby, everyone else gives birth to a BIG FAT UNWELCOME OPINON.
I’m not talking about the advice you ASK for – the help and guidance I’ve received from friends and family (mostly mummies themselves) has been critical to my survival. I’m talking about that knobhead who pipes up about how “dangerous” cosleeping is when their knowledge on the subject is hilariously poor. I’m talking about the person who insists that you should let your baby cry it out (shudders) – because they’ve classed your baby as ‘far too demanding’.
Suddenly after you give birth every Tom, Dick and Harry turns into a baby sleep/nutrition/developmental expert, and apparently you should definitely listen to them, because they sourced their information from their window cleaners cousins daughter who just had a baby – and thats how THEY did it. And their baby was walking, talking and packing their own bloody lunchbox for creche at 6 months old – so that must be the best way to parent your baby.
p.s. IF YOU’RE A BREASTFEEDING MUM – everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject. Sorry, but if your nipples are not directly involved in the feeding of my baby and your not his father, then your opinion is unconditionally invalid.
Having a baby is the ultimate relationship test.
Andy and I are lucky, our ideas of parenting are pretty much identical (so far – remind me about that when he’s telling Tobias he’ll pay for his first lads’ holiday and I’m being medicated for panic attacks at the very thought).
I think Andy and I were so clueless going into this that people started to mistake our naivety as a “chilled parent” vibe, and then that sort of stuck. We realised it works well when we aren’t in a tail spin about how many spoonfuls of food Tobias just had, or how he naps far too close to bedtime. I’m not saying we don’t care, I mean obviously we care, but we don’t worry ourselves sick like many new parents might.
However no matter how similar you and your partner are , when you’re sleep deprived, confused and adjusting to family life, you will inevitably end up at logger heads over how a nappy should be put on, or how many layers the baby is supposed to be wearing, or how ridiculous it is to launch the baby in the air to celebrate a last minute goal from Arsenal………….. (just an example, plucked from thin air, obviously).
What I’m going to say is this… Think of it in the same way that you and your partner struggled through your first Ikea trip together. You both have to follow the same relentless path around the bloody store, you have to agree (or atleast compromise) on whatever piece of flatpack you will be taking home, and you have to do it without snapping and being arrested for murdering him/her… In the end however, you will leave that big blue Swedish box that little bit stronger as a couple. What I’m really poorly trying to communicate is, that it’s a journey… and although challenging and tough, it will make you SO much stronger. Between explosive nappies and the boke down your back, and the wrestling with a pram in the pouring rain, you’ll look at each other and think HOLY CRAP we made this little human, we’re a great team, the baby is surviving and he’s happy and safe and “OH MY GOD LETS HAVE ANOTHER ONE” (someday).
I honestly could go on FOREVER about the things I’ve learnt so far, and someday I’ll jot some more down, but for now I’ll leave you with those. What I’ll finish with is this, however scary, however many shocks to your fragile postpartum system, and no matter how many times your baby bokes into your freshly washed bra, every second is precious! Enjoy it all!
p.s. FINAL ONE WHILE I REMEMBER. Would have been really nice if one of my fellow mummies had talked me through breast pads… so if you’re a pregnant momma, I’m going to impart some wisdom. The sticky side, it sticks to YOUR BRA, not your skin, I nearly lost a nipple several times during the first couple of weeks of breastfeeding Tobias.