Warning: this may scare the absolute bejeezus out of those about-to-be-a-mum readers, but believe me you have to know this stuff

So you’re up the duff.

Not just up the duff, but ankles swelling, weeing more often than breathing, skulling bottles of Mylanta pregnant. You are about to do the equivalent of squeezing a chook out of your nostril, and then post a pic of yourself on facebook hiding the pure shock and replacing it with that ‘glow’. ¬†You know that look of bliss new mums get from being so bloody grateful the birth is over, and too early to realise what is actually about to happen. You’ve read books, you’ve checked the web, you have carefully asked friends for advice, and let’s be honest, vagued out through the gross stuff. And no doubt you have received tons of unwanted advice.

Well dear girl, here is a bit more. This is the stuff that no-one tells you, but you really need to know.

BIRTH

1. The only thing you can actually hope for about giving birth, is that there is an anaesthetist on duty when you are in labour. (Aim high and hope for someone like Patrick from Offspring, but believe me if Cleg walked in wearing drag, you would be that bloody grateful for what he had in that needle that you wouldn’t even notice!)

2. Don’t bother buying anything to give birth in. Ultimately, by the end of it, you’ll be as naked as the baby you are squeezing out of your vajutz and you will not even notice.

3. Feel free to write a birth plan, but you may as well leave it wrapped up in the bag with the outfit you bought to give birth in, alongside the CD you made and underneath the scented candles you had packed for the occasion. Birth is miraculous, there is no doubt about that. It might go well, and even then it is gross, painful, overwhelming, scary and will teach you more about what you are capable of than anything else you have ever done in your life. And if you still want to bring a birth plan, then make sure it says CALL THE ANAESTHETIST AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

BUBS

3. If the nurses at any point agree to take your precious bundle of joy away so you can sleep. Let them. They know far more about what they are doing than you do.

4. Allow visitors at the hospital. Believe me, you will survive 27 people coming in to check out that gorgeous baby within in the first 8 hours of being a mother. And you want to see people. The adrenaline is pumping, you are desperate to share the joy with others, and here you can have everyone all at once without having to move off the bed or make a cup of tea. The alternative may well be the next month of back to back visitors, without nurses coming in to tell them to bugger off. (IGNORE THIS IF YOU GET MOVED TO THE HILTON. SOAK IT UP AND ORDER AS MUCH FOOD AS YOU CAN)

5. Everyone will give you advice about everything. Ignore it, all of it. Including mine, until you need it. Because until now, every conversation about sleeping, eating, feeding, birth, stitches, hemorrhoids¬†and vomit has been on the sidelines, meant for someone else. This is all about to change. Seek advice if you need it, ignore what doesn’t feel right, go with what does. While no-one knows your baby like you do (blahblahblah) they have at least cared for a baby of the same species and some stuff might just help.

BOOBS

6. If, like me, you have been wearing two sports bras to do any kind of physical activity since puberty, then your boobs were never your best friend. And if, like me, the size of your gigantic pregnant boobs were the main indicator of your pregnancy , then I am afraid you haven’t seen anything yet. Those Pammy Anderson knockers that suddenly stand up all by themselves will take on a life of their own, and it will happen overnight. With my first baby, the nurse asked to have a look at my boozies to see if my milk had come in. With my second baby she didn’t even need to ask. Those first few days my boobs woke me up more than my baby. Don’t panic. They will soften again and slightly reduce. And if not, soak some nappies, pop them in the freezer and tuck them into your singlet in between feeds.

7. Breastfeeding is wonderful, but it is by far the most difficult skill I have ever had to learn in my life. It sucked (pardon the pun). And by the way, babies are born with mouths filled with razorblades. Birth was painful, but there were drugs and it ended. Breastfeeding for me, was monotonous, and for a while I was petrified of that next feed. I persisted and it was worth it. (I think) But you do not have to. No one can point to the toddlers in the playground and tell you which one was bottle fed and which was breastfed. Go with your gut on this, or rather your boob.

8. And while you might not love the pregnant boob, or the breastfeeding boob, by far the worst boob of all is the I breastfed two kids for a year each boob. Because now they are like stockings with sand in the bottom of them. And these days, there is very little need for those two sports bras.

……………

Having a baby is absolutely a gift that I adore. It is a privilege and one I don’t take lightly. But if you want the images of warm, clean, smiling, sleepy newborns, then you can watch a Kleenex commercial. You will get these moments. They might just be in between using the Kleenex for wiping your own tears away, or cleaning another baby vomit off your clothes. So before it’s too late there a couple of things to do before life as you know it ends;

  • Drive your car, with your own music on, casually and in no screaming hurry to get anywhere.
  • Sit at the table and use both hands to eat dinner, that you have cooked yourself and finish the entire meal while it is warm.
  • Go to a cafe. Sit down. Order. Enjoy. Read the paper. Sit some more. Breath. And smile at the woman with the crazy children who is JUST TRYING TO GET A DAMN COFFEE.
  • Have a conversation. In full and with your full attention on the person talking to you. You may never do this again.
  • Walk around the house with no top on. Don’t be ridiculous I hear you say. You’ll laugh later, believe me.
  • Have sex. Even if you don’t feel like it, because there is a fair chance you still feel like it more now than you might for a really long time.

Babies are confusing, scary, difficult and demanding. But they are also absolutely spectacular and the smell of a new baby, especially your own, washes every other moment away. At least until the next feed.

 

 

 



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