Advice: 11 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Gave Birth

August 28, 2016
I was so confident that I was 100% prepared for our little O. We had everything a baby could ever wish for, and everything a baby could ever possibly need. He had more clothes than most high streets, and a number of toys he wouldn’t be playing with for months. This would be simple, right? Wrong.
If only you had seen me the day after I gave birth. I have photographic evidence, but for the sake of your own eyes, I won’t share. It’s funny, because I felt like I was so prepared to have a baby. Was I mentally prepared? Haaaaaa! I thought of a few of these earlier and thought they may have been rather useful and slightly terrifying to someone who has not yet had their baby and is also becoming a first time mum.
1. Labour really fucking hurts. They weren’t kidding when they were screaming on One Born, or when the lady down the road asked you for a sixth time in a patronising voice if you were nervous. If you weren’t nervous, you probably should be. I thought labour was going to be a breeze and that I would only need gas and air, yet I ended up demanding every drug they had on offer. I didn’t even have a vaginal birth but feel incredibly sorry for you, and your foof, if you are/have already.

2. Funnily enough, they also weren’t kidding when they say you will get no sleep for the rest of your life. I thought this was some kind of unfortunate myth that had stuck around, like that one about how you might get your head flushed down the loo when you go to big school. Can you imagine me after I had given birth, wondering why my new human was demanding my breast every 2 hours. After about three days I realised things weren’t going to get much better in the sleep department for a very long time.

3. Milestones and what age they will reach them are all a load of crap. The best advice I can give you is that your baby will not be the same as your friends baby who may be doing things slightly faster. My little Osc started holding his head up properly (18 weeks old) and I was worried sick because I stupidly read online it’s normal for them to do it at 12 weeks. After much unnecessary panicking from me, in the same week, he learned how to roll onto his front and is now vigorously trying to crawl (almost 20 weeks), so I don’t suspect it will be soon until my life is chasing a little wiggly baby around . One day they will just surprise you.

4. Every day will not be fantastic. It is amazing having your baby, and there is absolutely no love like it, that bit is true, but sometimes they have their off days, and you usually find that when they have their off days, you also have an off day. There is only so much screaming that one person can take, and you are NOT a bad mother if you sometimes feel like screaming over the top of the baby screaming, although I am sure you probably wouldn’t.

5. Despite all of the adverts, every brand of nappies are the exact same when it comes to absorption and comfort levels, and I have found that the best ones for my baby are ALDI’s, which, luckily for me, are some of the cheapest I can find. I went through a stage of falling into the nappy trap and only putting him in pampers, but regardless of whatever nappy my son is wearing, without fail, when he shits, it will end up all over him in places I didn’t even know it could get to. Of course, a lot of babies are allergic to certain brands, in which case they are slightly different, but for me, I have come to accept that poo time means a change of clothes and a 60 degree wash, no matter what brand he is wearing.

6. This one is quite a sad one, but nobody wants to associate with you anymore unless they have a baby themselves. It’s not fun to sit in a cafe with someone and their irritated child, or go for a long walk when you have to stop every couple of hours to feed/change a baby, apparently. You stop being invited places because people will assume you will say no. I mean, you probably will, but it’s still nice to be asked.

7. Your house will become a battleground with your other half. I think it is the stress, the sudden routine change, and the lack of sleep, but you will want to strangle them by the time your baby gets to around 3 weeks old. Please don’t, it gets better.

8. That you suddenly become obsessed with baby talk. Every conversation becomes a discussion about baby things. “How old is he? Can he crawl? Has he said his first word? How much does he weigh?”, and you find yourself asking other people these questions, whether you’re stuck in a lift with them, or sitting at a bus stop. Everyone loves baby talk.

9. Time flies. Seriously. It feels like my pregnancy lasted 9 years and these past 6 months have disappeared in minutes. I wish I appreciated the time I’ve had with O a bit more, because he doesn’t seem like a baby any more, and it’s almost time for me to go back to work. Soon he’ll be toddling, and then celebrating his 18th birthday. It’s scary.

10. Similar to option 8, you find yourself becoming obsessed with how much your baby weighs, whether they are gaining weight and how long they are. You don’t even care about how much you weigh yourself, just as long as your baby is growing and you can feel satisfied knowing you’re doing a good job.

11. Last but not least, get ready to spend more money on fabric softener and non-bio products than you can ever imagine. My washing machine is inundated with O’s clothes. When he’s not shitting (as above), he’s throwing up all over himself like he’s had a few too many on a Saturday night. Hopefully he won’t be doing that for a very long time.

What do you wish you knew before you had a baby? Let me know below
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