When I was pregnant with my first child, I would lay on the couch, cupping my swelling belly and dreaming of the journey of motherhood that I was about to embark on.
I imagined being barefoot, the wind flowing through my long hair, glowing with my children on my hips all while being so organic and one with the earth. I imagined birth to go swimmingly, and that I would be blessed with a sleepy little newborn, in where I could spend my days discovering myself, and even take up a hobby, like painting.
Bringing a baby into the world is an event. One in which a lot of people will not divulge all the little details because they donít want to burst your perfect bubble. But I am here to let it pop in your face and tell you all the things I wished I had been told about what happens once you give birth.
1. The heavens might not open up when you see your baby Visions of angels singing, a golden aura around your baby and tears of joy might spring to mind when you think of giving birth, especially a birth that youíve watched in a movie. The reality is, you may be exhausted and whilst youíre overwhelmed with love for your new bundle of joy, you might still be trying to grasp that you just gave birth and actually feel quite calm, quite unemotional or even completely overwhelmed of how your birth just went. Do not fear, those love surges will come out quite powerfully on day 4, when you cry for every. little. thing.
2. Your body will change Going to the toilet will be an event post birth, it may even be an unpleasant experience, so do not be afraid to get assistance. It wonít be the last time you go to the toilet alone either.
You know why mums sport around those mum buns? It is more than just a relaxed look. Itís to save the lustrous locks you grew over 9 months from falling out in clumps. The hair you grew now resembles something on the floor that looks like chewbecca just got attacked by a razor. The good news is, it will grow back, and youíll have a whole set of baby hairs, which are a bit of fun in themselves.
The best thing about being pregnant is not having a period for 9 months, well stock up on those maternity pads ladies, because Aunty Floí is coming with a vengeance, and will last anywhere from 2-6 weeks.
Stitches, bodily fluids and enlarging breasts are all what you will be trying to deal with all while getting to know the little tiny human that is now resting beside your bed.
3. You won't sleep Everyone has something to say when it comes to newborn sleep, and advice will come far and wide, but do not be fooled, Newborns do not sleep. Somewhere between 1am and 4am, when youíre rocking and patting your baby to sleep, you will be wondering how you can put your baby back in your tummy. Good news is that after 4 months, when they become even worse sleepers, they become easier to manage and might even surprise you by giving you longer blocks of sleep. (I canít guarantee it)
4 Breastfeeding is hard Breastfeeding is an artform and once you master it, itíll be blissful. Mastering it is hard work though. Latching can be difficult, positioning can be difficult and it will feel very foreign to you. If your latch isnít going well, or your baby has a tongue tie, or a lip tie, you can even experience a lot of pain. There is a lot of assistance you can get with breastfeeding and lactation consultants are an invaluable source of help. Regardless of what you choice to do, there are always options, and formula can do the job when breastfeeding canít.
5 You will feel things you've never felt before Between sleep deprivation and surging hormones you might find your emotional state in a disarray. You will be crying a lot, and for reasons that donít even make sense. Your baby farted and it was the most magical moment ever. You might cry because they sneezed, smiled, or even just opened their eyes to look at you. Youíll cry when they cry, and you might cry because itís too much and you are overwhelmed. Crying is okay but make sure to chat to your doctor and maternal child health nurse so they can ensure your mental health is in check, after all, you are important in all of this too.
6 You will be overwhelmed with love You will feel the greatest love youíve ever felt, and nothing will compare to it. There might be days where you havenít showered, gone to the toilet or even had a chance to eat. You might feel like the days blend into the nights and you donít know how you will go on anymore, but then they will look at you and give you a tiny hint of a smile, and all will be well with the world again.
Motherhood is the hardest job youíll ever have to do, but itíll be the best job youíve ever done.