Over the past month, two of my favourite people in the world told me that they are expecting their first babies! As soon as I heard the news I was just filled with excitement for them to be starting their own family and it made me think back to when I was pregnant. Those 9 months were mixed for me, some days I absolutely loved it and other days I just wanted that phase to be over with so we could meet our little baby.
Then I started to think about what I would have liked to know all those months ago. What little things weren’t mentioned to me, but would have helped a great deal? As I toast to these two fabulous ladies and share their antipication, here’s a few things that I can tell you now that we’re 15 months on. As anyone knows from reading my blog, I am no expert in this field but there are things that I remember from those early months, when things seemed quite tough.
I want to say the right thing to you, offer you some advice that I would have liked to hear too…you’ll have heard all the cliches already. Get lots of sleep, ask for help, it’s OK not to be able to do it all – these cliches are all true, of course! But beyond this I want you to know that I am beyond excited for you as this jump into motherhood, to creating your own family is just beautiful.
Those nights in hospital after the birth might be a bit overwhelming and daunting – so stock up on yummy things to eat to keep your strength up. For me, that second night in hospital was tough and I’ll be forever thankful to my brother bringing 2 bags of goodies…that’s the kind of visitor you need straight after the birth! I want you to know that it’s normal to suddenly be overcome with worry for this tiny teeny baby who can fit in the palm of your hand. And so normal to laugh at yourself as to why you brought ear plugs and an eye mask to hospital with you…the reality is that you will spend the entire night staring at your perfect creation.
I want you to know that it’s more than OK if you feel emotional beyond the 3-5 days after the birth, as the NHS advise. It doesn’t mean you’re failing, or not getting to grips with it quick enough. You’ve just been thrown into a huge change and if you need to have a cry, let it all out! A walk in the park on those harder days does make the world of difference, even if you feel like a zombie from Dawn of the Dead at the time. Most of all, know that everyone is different and for me it took much longer than this to not cry every time I dropped something or if I couldn’t find cheese in the fridge.
I’m going to be honest here, you’ll be inundated with advice. Not just from family who already have kids, but anyone and everyone you come across day to day. I know that this advice will make you doubt yourself and everything you’re doing day to day, they usually mean well. But remember this, you’re the Mummy. And Mummy Instinct rules over anything else. I once caught a shooting poonami with a nappy, avoiding spillage on our cream carpet. Mummy Instinct is the only explanation for it!
You can do this. Some days it won’t feel like that, especially when your baby is cluster feeding so often that it feels like there is no break between feeds. I remember in those early days, I felt so overwhelmed. The sound of Emma crying made me feel like I’m not cracking it – sometimes she’d be wailing and then I’d remember I hadn’t changed her nappy for ages. Ooops. But you’ll learn all those little things about your baby so fast and even after 1 week, you’ll feel like you’ve been a Mum forever. And the best thing of all, is that to your gorgeous baby, you are their world through and through.
I could ramble on forever but I’ll just say this: I love you and I’m always here for you, as you were for me at 3am so many nights. I promise you will become an eat-with-one-hand Superwoman, who can do it everything super fast! Remember to be kind to yourself always and eat as much cake as you need in the afternoons. You’ve got this mama-to-be; I’m already so proud of you.