When I was pregnant I really had no idea about what it would be like to have a baby. Although at the time, I thought that I knew everything. I’ve got three younger brothers and sisters so I thought I was really experienced and would give many first time mums a run for their money.
I was one of those annoying pregnant women who watched ‘One Born Every Minute’ and mocked how overdramatic the women were. ‘There is no way you need to make noises like that.’ I used to regularly chirp. ‘I doubt it’s that painful. So many women have more than one child, it can’t be that bad.’
Yes I know I’m making all of you mums rage. Believe me if I could slap that old self in the face with a fish, I really would.
I was constantly cleaning, tidying & organising my house ready for my little one (because she’s really going to be able to comment on how dusty it is). When instead I should have been resting and making the most of the time I had to myself.
I was cocky and prepared with all of the baby essentials that you would ever need. Only never having a baby before I actually barely had anything. No cotton wool, no nappy rash cream, no nipple pads or cream, the list could go on. I was also naive enough to think that as soon as my daughter came out I’d be able to go to the gym and work out. In reality, I struggled to find the energy to even make myself a cup of tea.
The first day we bought Evie home, it dawned on us that we had no idea what to do. I couldn’t remember how to change a nappy. What do you use? How do you wrap her up for bed? How many layers should she have? What temperature should the room be? We ended up you-tubing ‘How to swaddle a baby!’ before tearfully calling my mum to come over and help us.
Oh how naive I was! Here are 10 things I would tell my pregnant self:
1. Everything you think you know about being a parent is wrong. After your baby is born, all it will do for the first few weeks is cry, poo, eat and sleep. Listen in antenatal classes. Visit friends with babies. Read books. Do everything that you can to prepare yourself for life with a baby.
2. Have a lie in. You are about to experience exhaustion like you’ve never felt before. Stop being so busy on your maternity leave. Chill out and make the most of you time.
3. Enjoy walking around by yourself, doing the food shopping by yourself, going to the bathroom by yourself, showering by yourself. In a years time you’ll have a little one trying to clamber up on your lap as you pee and you will have to sing ‘Wheels On The Bus’ on loop in the supermarket so that your baby doesn’t cry.
4. Breastfeeding is really hard. It might be the most natural thing in the world, but that doesn’t make it easy. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Ask for help and for goodness sake use nipple cream. Trying to breast feed through sore, chapped, bleeding boobs is more painful than giving birth.
5. Don’t forget to be affectionate towards your partner. Yes, you’ll be too exhausted to even lean across to him and you may even feel resentment towards him (damn hormones), but he is going to feel replaced by your baby and needs your attention too. There will be times in those first few weeks when your hormones will make you despise him. Be patient. I promise that your love for him will come back tenfold.
6. Please have a duvet day. This will be your last one for possibly years. Get some DVDs, get your partner to have the day off, shut the curtains, put on some films and chill out. Enjoy your time together while you’re still a twosome.
7. Talk to someone if you’re feeling emotional. No one will judge you. Don’t sit on those feelings and think that you’re a bad person. Your hormones could take weeks/months to settle down. It is completely normal to feel the baby blues. You’re not supposed to enjoy every moment. No one said it would be easy.
8. If someone offers you help, take it. Don’t be a martyr. They’ve offered to cook you dinner and to let you go & shower. Accepting that help and having a break really refreshes you. Always say yes.
9. Don’t go on maternity leave early. You will be so bored and restless. There really is no need to have a month off. Two weeks at most, but by weeks three you’ll be chomping at the door and become a nag to all of those who still have a day job.
10. You will be going overdue. Don’t rush things! Make the most of that extra nights sleep. Enjoy having her attached to you while you can. Soon she’ll be running free and you’ll wish you could still protect her like this.
Can you resonate with this? What would you tell your pregnant self?
If you liked this you’ll probably like ’10 things I’d tell my pre-baby self’. It is VERY different despite the similar title. Luckily my pre-baby self wasn’t as much as a stubborn git as my pregnant self was.
If you are a mama already and you’re feeling like you’re a bit overwhelmed, be sure to read my ‘5 reasons to join a baby group‘ or ‘10 minute break for busy mums‘ to help you feel a bit more on top of things.