Everybody talks about the baby when your pregnant and how amazing it will be when the babies born! But know one ever talks about the reality. For everyone it is different and we all will experience different recovery’s depending on our individual journeys but here are a few things I wish I would have known before I gave birth that I think would have helped knowing and been prepared for.
I’ve made it to 36 weeks now. It has gone so fast and seems to get faster each pregnancy. Around this time it all gets very real and you think a lot about the labour and when baby is born how life might be. It is a mixture of excitement and anticipation and obvious nerves but you get to the point where you can’t wait to meet baby and that supersedes all.
I can remember being a brand new mum and not knowing what to expect at all. One thing I wish I would have known about was what you go through after your baby is born. Everybody seems to talk about how amazing it is and no one wants to talk about the other stuff. I feel that if I had known about it before I might not have felt so vulnerable and off my head as it were the first time with Henry. I would have known it was normal….
Like when you believe in Santa Claus and you find out he ain’t real (Sorry I take it back he is real kids…) but it’s not Christmas Day everyday now is it…
It’s magical it is!…honest.
Okay so the things they don’t tell you…
1. You will leak from every oraphice. Now someone I worked with did mention this to me but I didn’t realise the extent of it. I mean I understood that I would have breast milk but I didn’t realise it leaked out everywhere! Please do not under estimate breast pads, stock up. Also other padding for down there…there will be blood for a few days/weeks after.
2. You will be mentally unstable. I’m sure I’m not alone in this but when I was in the hospital for a few days I felt secure knowing that the midwives were at hand and I was getting used to the new baby. As soon as I was allowed to go home it felt very weird getting into the car and arriving back home for the first time. I remember having a house full when we arrived back and it was overwhelming! It was nice but it was too much. My first birth was really traumatic and I was all over the place. I felt like I was in a dream and my mother in law was cooking hallumi which was great but I just burst out crying.
3. You will be exhausted. There is tired before kids…pregnancy tired…then there is the real tired…newborn baby tired. The type of tiredness that you could never imagine. The type of tiredness that makes you want to slap yourself silly for ever saying you were ever tired Pre-child. The type of tiredness where you wish you would have rested more and took more naps like people said instead of thinking shut the hell up. It will become your norm though so don’t worry…and your body can survive on very little sleep surprisingly! Coffee is your best friend…
4. You may have swollen legs. I had an epidural so afterwards I had to have a catheter in and be monitored. I also had a spinal and couldn’t move for 8 hours post theatre. When I got home my legs felt like Jelly. And my feet were huge! Make sure you wear the ted stockings they give you, they really help with the initial water retention. If you decide to have a bath make sure help is around…I got stuck lol I was just so weak…
5. Breast feeding can be hard work. I did try stick with it but if you go onto bottle don’t worry about it!!! I struggled and hated myself for not liking it. I was exhausted and felt like a cow. This is just me though and I know some mums are amazing at it and take to it well. I don’t think it makes no difference in my opinion in terms of bonding and it is such a controversial subject. I have so much respect for woman that can breast feed, if you can do that great! I couldn’t…I felt self conscious and didn’t have a good milk supply and my babies were hungry. I did it for a while and drove myself insane with the pressure but the only pressure was from myself. Everyone had an opinion! But In the end I did what I thought was best for my baby. If you bottle feed good for you! We should support each other whatever way we feed our children and celebrate our differences. Do not feel pressured to do anything you feel uncomfortable with.
6. You will feel a roller coaster of emotions…euphoria….numbness…confusion…scared…all of this is normal considering you have gone through a trauma to your body giving birth, sleep deprivation and a new born. It’s tough. Make sure you rest when you can and have support around you. It’s okay to feel tired and sad and like you are not enjoying your new found motherhood. Sure it is amazing! Of course you love your baby but don’t be out of sorts if it isn’t as magical as you thought it would be…depression could set in at anytime and it might not be at first because you have so much adrenaline pumping around…it could be a few weeks or months after..also you may have baby blues that normal and doesn’t automatically mean you are depressed but try keep an eye on your emotions and talk to people who are your support don’t be alone. I tried to put on a brave face and shut everyone out…it doesn’t help just makes you feel worse. So just be mindful of how you are feeling.
7. The come down -once the hype has died down and the novelty of the new baby wears off…reality checks in…for some it comes a lot sooner..the partner goes back to work…people stop coming around as much and it’s you and your baby and yes you are responsible for keeping this little precious baby alive…FOREVER!!!!!!!The responsibility!!! OMG..you may freak out but don’t worry you can do it and…well you have to do it because your a mum now. But you are totally capable and CAN do it. You are a good mum! Your babies don’t need you to be perfect they just need you! That’s all they want, you are their world. Are they fed? Are they clean? Are they loved? Are they alive?…Great your doing a good job, the rest isn’t important, so don’t worry.
8. Things WILL get easier. I promise you.
9. You will feel like yourself again…kind of…but you will always be a mum now and it’s hard some days and others not but it will all be worth it.
10. Get out of the house, it may be the last thing you want to do but even if you get some fresh air, go to the supermarket, see a friend, you will feel better and it will break up the day.
11. I didn’t really want to mention this one but I will….the ‘poo fear’…it is a thing…when you know…you know…grit your teeth and bare it. 🙈👍🏻
12. Your thick pregnancy hair may fall out…Don’t panic
13. You will want to ‘do it’ again…surprisingly…and it’s not as bad as you think lol
14. Your boobs will never be the same, embrace your new hot mum bod!
15. Do your pelvic floors…it’s hard to remember but it will help with your urinary incontinence (did I mention you leak from everywhere…pad up)
With my second birth it was a lot easier! And the recovery was a lot better. I was much more aware of my emotions and got help. Don’t try rush back to normal life because it will never be the normal you once had. Just give yourself time to adjust. Don’t put pressure on yourself to go on a crash diet and loose baby weight. Give yourself 6 weeks at least before you go back to exercise and wait for your GP review. If you are not wanting to get pregnant again anytime soon make sure you talk to the midwife at the hospital or your GP at your check up. Life does get super busy so try and be organised and take care of yourself because it is still important. You might not feel like it but you are important and have to be okay to be able to look after your baby.
I hope I haven’t scared any new mums too much 🙈🙌🏻 . This is just my experience as well so it may be completely different for you. Take care, take a deep breath, look after yourself and enjoy the journey! They are not tiny babies for long (everyone says this to you when it’s hard and you will eye roll…but it’s true! Take it all in, they are not babies for long) xxxxx
Here are some links for post-partum survival