I avoided the truth when I was pregnant. I was one of the lucky few who glowed and loved the feeling of growing new life inside. If I was tired or my feet were swollen or my back ached, I would come home, settle myself comfortably on the couch (or at least as comfortably as my belly would allow) while binge watching Netflix shows or reading my book until it was time to eat/sleep/pee (in no particular order).
After birth – I realized how unprepared I was for the real world of parenting and just living in general….
Here are a few things that THEY don’t tell you will happen after you give birth:
- Going to the toilet after giving birth will require a jug of water… even if you just went to pee. Trust me – it helps, pouring water is far better than rubbing toilet paper anywhere near the area that *just pushed an entire 3.3kg baby out*.
- You will walk funny for the first few weeks.. now, I only have the experience of natural birth – but it seems that for the first weeks after giving birth, I had embraced my inner duck.. yes, I was waddling. But not only that – I was leading each step with my hips forward and my feet outwards. Bring on the Charlie Chaplin top hat & cane please! Oh and lets not even start the topic of hemorrhoids…
- Black tar like poop … Babies… not yours! But it’s true, the first poop from baby might be black and tar like (called meconium) and is completely normal! And talking about poop, some ladies struggle for their first one after childbirth.
- Buy Sanitary pads in bulk… after months of not needing them, you will suddenly require doubling up in the first few days. You might even want to invest in disposable panties or cotton ones that you are willing to toss away… as those first few days after birth are like a flood!
- Worrying about breaking Baby….I remember trying to put clothes on Monkey the very first time and the fear of breaking her arm as I tried to put it through one of those dinky sleeves. For the first few weeks, I only used the clothing that had buttons down one side in fear that I might hurt my child while trying to dress her. Things have changed since then….
- Breastfeeding…those that can & do will experience cracked nipples, pain, engorgement and discomfort. Not to mention the topic of doing it in public while trying to smother/cover babies head and the “offending” breast from the gaze that may or may not settle there. Those that can’t and don’t will experience a level of guilt that is hard to define. Sure, it sounds easy enough just popping in a bottle of formula, except that you have to test out different types to see what works best and is actually accepted, getting the whole sterilizing process in play and buying bottled water in bulk.
- They are noisy when they sleep… I don’t remember all the sounds Monkey made when we first brought her home, but I do remember thinking that this kid was noisy when she slept!
- A proper nights sleep will elude you… as per above, you either don’t sleep well because there is this foreign noise in your bedroom or they are so quiet that you can’t sleep for fear of sudden infant cot death. And just when you think they are sleeping through the night… they wont and you will watch 2/3/4am and reconsider your entire life and its purpose for existence. And by sleeping through the night, I mean they don’t require your intervention in the middle of the night, but might wake up and have a conversation with the teddy bear on the window sill or decided to throw their pacifier as far from their cot as possible or… And of course, 5.30am is a perfectly acceptable wake up time if you went to bed at 6.30pm. And they call this “sleeping through”.
- Bathroom activities will now have an audience… ha ha… you laugh. But seriously, if you are home alone with baby and you need the bathroom, what do you do? If you need to shower? Poop? Pee? You take them with you – thus starting the future trend of having a little face staring up at you as you partake in your morning ablutions. I can honestly say that I no longer have performance issues… or very much dignity left.
- Getting sick is never the same again…pre-baby getting a cold or flu meant that you felt like sh*t, but you could lounge around on the couch or in bed taking copious amounts of drugs, liquids and feeling sorry for yourself. You might watch an entire season of *Bones* or read 2 books… but you were sick. Post-baby getting a cold or flu means that you need to continue with life as if you don’t have these germs invading your body, still get up at 5.30am to change nappies, give bottles, cook food & feed child, do laundry (because if you are sick… there is a good chance that they are too) and provide some level of entertainment for the offspring. I know this because this past weekend, I lay on cushions in Monkeys room while the game she had spontaneously invented involved moving all her toys from her toy box to on top of me while I moaned/groaned occasionally. Much to her delight… the more grunts I emitted, the harder she threw the toys at me.
it sounds like I am moaning… which I am not, because I wouldn’t change my life for anything… I just wasn’t as prepared as I thought I would be, especially when it comes to:
- Feeling love… although there are moments where I can lose my temper and have zero patience in the blink of an eye, there is also this level of love that I didn’t know that I was even capable of. Watching HIM take care or engaging in a game with her makes me love him even more than I thought was possible. And no mother can disagree that the love that you feel for your offspring when they are fast asleep & angelic looking far outweighs the drama of any day!
- Finding joy in the simple things… suddenly the things that I would have just ignored are now making my Monkey smile and laugh (rain on the window, how a ball rolls, smiling and waving at a stranger & watching them smile & wave back) and if they make her happy, then I too should learn to slow down. I had to release my inner OCD self (but only a little) to sit down for 10minutes for a cuddle or to roll the ball, rather than jumping up to hang the washing because the laundry is finished and the machine is now beeping.
- Priorities… spending money on new shoes for me versus getting a super cute pair of baby shoes for Monkey? No contest! Spending a morning at the hairdresser/salon/spa versus time with my family? No contest! Sleeping in versus morning cuddles? No contest – however it should be noted that on the latter item, I don’t really have much of a choice as sleeping in is now a distant memory!
There is no denying that our lives have changed and there is so much that nobody told us about this new stage in our life!
Is there something you found out about after giving birth that you weren’t prepared for?