All new mums are entering into unknown murky waters when becoming a parent for the first time, nobody can prepare you for what’s to come once your child arrives.
However, there were certain things that I feel I could have been better prepared for if people had been honest with me.
There seems to be an unwritten rule that mums don’t tell mums to be the full truth. I am not sure why mums do this – is it because they don’t want to scare you or because they don’t want let slip that there are times when they have found it really hard or perhaps just a combination of both.
Is it just me or does it seem like most pregnant women act like it’s a wonderful experience to create a new life and that they enjoy their pregnancies from start to finish. I have actually done this one myself – I have lied about enjoying pregnancy at times. Because that’s what you are supposed to say, right?
You would not seem normal if you said to someone ‘I am hating being pregnant, it’s awful, my body is being taken over, I’m sick, tired, emotional and I can’t even have a gin and tonic to take the edge off!’ I think this comes from a sense of feeling like we have to enjoy this experience because there are so many women out there who would love to be in our position but can’t or that we would not seem maternal if we didn’t enjoy the experience. But let’s be honest, it’s not all fun there are changes that your body goes through while being pregnant that nobody can find pleasant.
Yes it is a miracle and you get something amazing at the end of it, but at times it is shit – I’m not going to lie to you!
One person was actually honest with me when it came to childbirth. When I was pregnant with my first baby a friend from work was also pregnant with her third baby. One day I asked the question ‘the birth, what’s it like? I saw her think for a minute, I imagine she was trying to decide whether to lie out of her ass and tell me it was a beautiful experience or tell me the truth, she chose the latter.
Her response was ‘you pretty much feel like you are going to die, but you will be okay!’
My response was a fit of laughter she was exaggerating…. right? I have a high pain threshold, I thought, I will be fine. Turns out she was right and in the throws of childbirth in the delivery suite I thought back to what she said – it was excruciating like nothing I’d ever felt before but I knew I was probably going to get though it.
Breastfeeding is a tough one, I am not sure if mums lie about it or if it’s just that it comes naturally to some and not to others. I tried breastfeeding both of my babies and had to give up twice.
I was so determined the second time, I questioned myself over and over for giving up the first time and was so driven to not do it a second time but was quickly and painfully reminded why I did. I even bought the best breast pump on the market so determined that even if my nipples didn’t allow it I was still going to get that breast milk into my baby in any way I could.
It didn’t work either, the milk never came, I ended up in pain and I was heartbroken all over again.
I will never go down that road again and I will feel no shame for not trying. I know it’s driven into us as new mothers ‘breast is best’ etc, etc it’s EVERYWHERE but if it doesn’t work out it’s okay.
Once you leave the hospital to bring your new bundle home, it’s exciting. You then also have an abundance of family and friends visiting who want to meet your new addition, it’s a special time. But then the visitors stop, your husband returns to work and all of a sudden you are on your own. Although it’s lovely to be able to spend all day with your new baby, it’s a huge adjustment.
You spend your days feeding, winding, changing nappies and putting them to sleep. Then when they are sleeping you are washing bottles, sterilising bottles and washing an endless amount of soiled baby grows and muslin cloths. It can get extremely lonely and you can feel completely cut off from the life you lived before.
That’s normal everyone feels that way and your hormones can trick you into feeling worse – but it does pass. My only advice to any new mum is to get out of the house once a day – go for a walk, visit a friend or even just go to the supermarket just get out it really does help.
But all this aside I also wasn’t told all the amazing things I would feel once becoming a new mum. The love you feel, it’s like nothing you will have ever felt before. How overwhelmingly protective you feel over this new little person you created.
Becoming a parent is truly an experience like no other, it’s rewarding and it’s tough in equal qualities. But people are right when they say it’s all worth it.