Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 1)

17 May

babies are cute

Babies are cute, that’s how they trick you!

This was some advice I received from a dear friend of mine about having babies. It came 6 years, 2 months and 1 day too late! I was the first of my friends to become a mom so I didn’t get this kind of advice sooner. And people of my parent’s age seem to forget some of the headaches of having a baby…or they just want to watch us young moms suffer by playing the silent game! Either way, through my 6 years of being a mom, and my friends eventually starting to join the “Mommy Club”, I have realized that there is a LOT they don’t tell you about having a baby.

New moms, BEWARE!

What you are about to read is potentially life changing. This is an unveiling of the raw, uncutesy, “what was I thinking?” side of having a baby. This is not meant to scare you, but rather help you to embrace motherhood with everything it has to offer. I asked a group of women about things they were never told or didn’t expect about having a baby. Listening to other moms is so helpful, because we often experience “abnormal” situations, emotions and reactions that are actually VERY normal. Here is Part 1 of some of the beautifully honest responses I received.

1. Childbirth is completely unattractive and undignified. There are no personal boundaries. But you don’t seem to care.

You will be poked, groped and prodded throughout the birthing process. Your cervix will be measured, you will receive an enema, your waters may need to be broken, you might receive an epidural, your knees will end up past your ears and your most private lady parts will be on display for all to see. The good thing is that you will be so eager to “GET THAT THING OUT” of you that you will eagerly go along with it all.

2. No one told me how the afterbirth works! You think when the baby is out it’s all over, but that’s not true. And it looks so awful too.

When you have a natural delivery, you will have to push the afterbirth out as well. And it’s not pretty. You should be informed about this and other birthing processes if you attend an ante-natal course.

3. A Caesarian is quite traumatic, especially when you’re expecting natural.

Many moms choose natural delivery. They want to have their baby the way God intended, when the baby is ready, and they want to enjoy a quicker and less painful recovery. But gynecologists/obstetricians are often concerned about the baby and insist on a scheduled Caesarian. Other times there is an emergency during the birth when the baby needs to be delivered by Caesarian. This can be very traumatic for moms, the body and baby too.

4. What I learnt by default is that not all advice is good advice, especially from pediatricians and obgyns!

The lady who made this statement followed it up with “The best advice I got that I cherish to this day – follow your gut!” – which I can only agree with. When I moved to Johannesburg I was 6 months pregnant and needed to find a new gyne. I went to a highly recommended one but didn’t feel comfortable with him. My internal alarms went off when I told him I wanted a natural birth. His immediate response was to list reasons why women may need Caesarian. Trusting my gut, I didn’t go back. I later found out from an intern at the hospital that he had not performed a natural birth in over 300 deliveries! I’m convinced he would have found some excuse to conveniently schedule me into his diary (between golf and a weekend away) and add me to that list. New moms are constantly bombarded with well-meaning “good advice” from their mom, grannies, aunties, friends, doctors, pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, parenting books, magazines, TV shows, and (most frustratingly) the expert stranger who doesn’t know a thing about you, your child or your parenting capabilities apart from the last 2 minutes they’ve witnessed you trying to scrape your crying toddler off the shopping mall floor! In the end, go with your gut! I also recommend taking a parenting course. It will help you discover a method of parenting and solutions that you and your partner can agree on.

5. Your whole body changes and buying new clothes is a nightmare.

Don’t bother shopping for a new wardrobe soon after baby has arrived. Your boobs, hips and weight will be changing quite substantially in the first few months. I went shopping when my second baby was 6 months old, thinking my body was pretty much doomed to keep this extra weight (I lost my weight immediately with my firstborn). In the next 6 months I managed to lose 10kg and my new jeans didn’t fit as well anymore. Everyone is different when it comes to gaining and losing weight, but you can be guaranteed your body will change; so try not to splurge too much in the first few months!

6. Preggie/porridge brain is a permanent condition.

Huh?

moms never rest

7. No one told me that you never get a rest, NEVER, not even when you’re sick.

Being a mom is a full-time job! Every situation is different, whether you are single, married or dating, have 1 child or 5, are working, working from home or a stay-at-home mom (which is a full-time work anyway). Moms never stop. Even when we’re sick, we’re still cooking (or picking up the phone to order pizza), cleaning (and trying VERY hard to get our older kids or partners to pitch in) and doing every other thing that doesn’t even exist in a man or child’s world.

8. You have to schedule in a shower!

As you have just read, parenting is a full-time job. When your baby takes a nap you need to prioritise which chores need to be done first. Washing? Dirty dishes? Sterilise bottles? Make fresh baby food? Feed the pets? Shower? Get that desperately needed nap of your own? If you’re lucky you will have a domestic lady or a partner to help you with chores. If not, get scheduling!

9. No one told me about baby reflux.

Urgh! Be warned…you WILL need burping towels with you wherever you go for the first few months. A smelly, unattractive accessory for every mom; and a huge reason for the necessity of scheduled shower time! Make sure you have spares and a plastic bag so you can hide the wet, smelly ones away.

10. That I would feel guilty every time I go out without my baby.

I felt completely naked the first time I went out without my baby and it’s only been marginally better since. To go from carrying a baby, nappy bag, blanket, burp towel, snuggly toy and perhaps even a camping cot to just a handbag is incredibly distressing! You have that constant feeling that you’ve forgotten something. And you have…your precious little munchkin that you’ve carried in your belly for 9 months who is probably lying awake fretting about how you’ve just abandoned her! This is not really the case (your baby will be FINE for a few hours without you), but it is certainly how it feels.

Keep a look out for Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 2)

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