When you’re pregnant, everybody will have a word of advice for you. Do this, don’t do that, this happened to me, I’m telling you. As a first time Mum you may listen intently, taking it all in. And then you have the baby. And some of it is like it is described, and some of it is far more different than you could ever have imagined. You’ll sit there, bleary-eyed with baby and say: ‘I just didn’t think it would be like this.’ So to prepare all you expectant Mums and remind all you experienced Mums, here are the top 10 things that no one tells you about having a baby.
1 Baby high. Who needs drugs?
In the lead up to and after the baby is born you will feel really, really high. You will feel elated and so terribly proud of yourself. Did you see what I did? I had a BABY. Look at her amazing poo. She made the poo. And I made the baby. I can make anything!
2 Baby low
With great highs, come great lows and not many a Mama gets away without having some tearful days and feeling pretty rotten about the whole thing. Usually, the blues will really kick in when the high has dulled a little and sleep deprivation kicks in (week three for me). She did another poo? FFS.
3 Who am I? And where has my independence gone?
With baby responsibility comes a distinct loss of independence. It’s a bit like being grounded, only, instead of your parents forcing you to stay in, it’s a tiny squawking infant. If you have a c-section, you won’t be able to drive for six weeks and after initial recovery, you will feel imprisoned and prone to climbing a wall or two.
4 You are no longer you. You are ‘Mammy’
After a few weeks you will begin to refer to yourself in the third person as ‘Mammy’. You will speak about Mammy out loud. ‘What’s Mammy doing, is she tickling you?’ and ‘Mammy’s funny, isn’t she?’ (as you tickle her) and, ‘Mammy’s tired. You’re going to Daddy now.’ You may even talk about ‘Mammy’ while speaking to your husband. You are no longer you. Sorry.
5 Aaaagggghhhhhh, I’m a Mammy!
One day it will hit you that you are a mother. There you are sauntering along, looking after baby, chatting to your best friend about what it’s like when suddenly it hits you – BAM – you’re a Mam. Of course you knew you were a Mam; you spent nine months preparing for the little thing, but a mother? Like your own mother? It’s hard to believe. It feels so grown up. And who said you were ready?
6 Feeding problems
Feeding problems may present themselves in all different forms and they will really upset you. Your baby may have nappy rash, reflux, won’t feed, feeds too much or in our baby’s case, present with green poo. In all cases, you will probably feel like it’s your fault. I sought out the help of my local hospital helpline called Parentcraft and in another desperate weekend, the Cuidiú breastfeeding counsellor service that is amazing. Seek professional help. (The hubby and ma-in-law don’t count.)
7 Sleep regression
All babies have different sleeping patterns, but I could not believe when my baby started sleeping through the night at five-and-a-half weeks. I thought this only happened much later. So the night feeds were over and I began to get a rest again. Until three-and-a-half months. And then the fecker began waking again. No sleeping routine is ever sacred.
8 Bugged by buggy
Good luck negotiating your buggy around shops / footpaths / anywhere in general. Shopkeepers do not care if you can get through or not. At this stage I don’t even stop to pick up what the buggy has knocked over. Just keep on going. Think baby bowling ball.
9 The washing
Ah, the washing. Sometimes you will lull yourself into a silly sense of achievement where you can nearly see the end of the wash basket. But the next day, yep, it’s right back up to the top. You will NEVER get all the washing done. Why? Because baby is a puking, peeing and pooping machine, requiring four changes a day. The sofa will have to be steamed. Next week.
10 Meet the strangers
When you have a baby, people not only feel entitled, but obliged, to stop and goo and gaa at the baby. You will have random strangers poking into the buggy, enquiring about the name, age and sleeping patterns of the child. This is nice at the start but a bit tiresome if you’re trying to get the shopping done and get home before the next feed. Sometimes I hide baby in a sling. It works.