1. You will know exhaustion like you’ve never known before. So cut yourself some slack. Even if it’s the third day in your pj’s and you have to answer the door. If anyone’s going judge you, at this fragile period of your life, that makes them an asshole. Not you. So eat the biscuits, use the dry shampoo and sleep in the daytime. Sleep whenever the hell you can. Day or night. In bed, on the sofa or in the bath. Just do it.
2. You will learn the art of ‘nodding and smiling’ as elder generations impart their (usually useless) advice on babies to you. Apparently the fact that their children survived is an actual qualification, that no modern GP can match. Just nod. Just smile. Then do whatever you feel is best for you and your baby. Because at the end of the day, its nobody’s business if you breast or formula feed. If you top and tail wash or full on bath them. If you feel they need Calpol or not. Your choice alone. Mentally give them the finger. I said Mentally.
3. Your partner will feel left out. It’s normal but it’s pretty twatish if they say it out loud so they’ll just sulk (if they’re a man) or pretend everything’s fine (if they’re female). So, whilst everything revolves around you and baby (and rightly so), ask them for help when you need it. And you will need it. They’ll feel more helpful and involved and it lightens your load. It’s win/win. FYI: the arguments will die down. Your hormones + less sleep for you both x the overwhelming responsibility dumped on you = a truck load of arguments. I remember us two arguing over a pan of chilli. For 15 minutes straight. Concluding that we should divorce for the sake of the new baby. Before he grows too old to know any different. Lol. It happens and it DOES die down.
4. Your vagina will hurt. You will feel like you’ve been kicked between the legs by an ice skater 20 times. But it heals, like no other group of muscles in the human body. It’s pretty magic if you think about it. So get the heat pads on it, use lavender oil in your baths (honestly, it’s amazing), sit on cushions, take the paracetamol and keep your partner WELL away from your ladypiece for a good while. If there is any sign that things aren’t healing well, don’t mess about. Seriously. I ended up in hospital on the verge of sepsis after my second. If you think something’s amiss, ring your health visitor, even if it’s the 26th time you’ve rung them this week. Just do it.
5. You might not get the instant bond everybody raves about. And it’s totally fine. In the long run, it doesn’t matter, it has no bearing on how you mother your child nor about the bond you will have with them in the future. I had no bond with my first and I truly hated myself for it. I couldn’t hold him when he was born because he wasn’t breathing properly. Then I couldn’t cuddle him for 5 days as he was in an incubator receiving light therapy. But, you will not find a more protective and loving mother to my boys than me. I did get that bond with my second. He settled immediately on my chest and there was nothing but love. It was an amazing feeling and in that moment, it was just us. But that’s all it is, one moment in a lifetime of moments you will have with your child. Nothing more, nothing less.
6. You will have to eat a great big piece of humble pie. Because you will become all that you said you wouldn’t. You’ll be posting pics of your newborn left, right and centre. You will type #blessed and #makingmemories. You will overshare on every milestone of your baby’s first year and expect everyone to ‘like’ or ‘love’ it. Even though you’ve rolled your eyes hundreds of times when other’s have done the same in the past. It’s ok, you’re only human. We can all be a bit judgy if don’t understand something. But now you understand. Just remember, there will be someone rolling their eyes at your “aww, where did the time go?!” photo. It’s just how it is.
7. Lastly, Every cliche is true:
‘The days are long but the years are short’
‘It’s the hardest job in the world’
‘They’re not baby’s for long’
‘They’re tiny miracles’
‘cherish the moment’
of course you’re not going to remember these when it’s 4am and the third time you’ve got up to feed. Or when you’re cleaning poo from under your finger nails after a particularly bad nappy explosion. But, and I’m really not meaning to be patronising, saviour the nice cuddly moments, the bathtimes, the smiles and baby giggles. Because one day, all you’ll have are the memories. The good, the bad and the ugly.