If someone had told me the truth would I have believed them?
Probably not. The truth is a bit out there after all!
I was recently talking to a friend who doesn’t have children, she was asking a lot of questions and clearly had a few ideas of her own on motherhood. Maybe she’s considering it, maybe she was just curious about this alternate universe her friend resides in. Either way it got me thinking about what I have learnt and what I wish I had known before having a baby.
- Babies don’t stay babies very long. After years of dreaming, nine months of pregnancy and then untold weeks in the ‘baby bubble’ I suddenly realised my baby wasn’t really a baby any more! They grow so fast. With my youngest daughter it seemed to happen even quicker. All of a sudden they are out of your arms and you’re having a two-way conversation. We worry over the ‘baby’ stages, growth charts and feeding choices, we buy the ‘baby’ equipment, fretting over front or rear facing pushchairs and which is the best sling. The truth is it all matters far less than you think. My babies are now 7 and 2, I’m left seriously wondering WTF happened!!
- Pregnancy is so undignified. People are going to expect to get in your pants without even saying please (much less buying you a drink). Your husband may wonder why he went to so much effort when he realises there is now an open door policy! There are those who sail through but it is more likely you will suffer the indignities. God help you if you get piles, someone (as in the Dr) will probably have to have a look.
- Not as many people care how you feed/dress/birth your baby as you think. If we were to believe the media all of the time we’d be forgiven to think there was some kind of maternity police out there issuing fines for mummy misdemeanour’s. The truth is, mums in the trenches of motherhood are generally in it together. Yes there are the ‘mean girls’ but I tend to think that’s just how they are about everything so try not to take it personally. Raising children is difficult, for every victory you have in one area you will no doubt feel a total failure in another.
- Those pretty baby dresses are a total waste of money. On finding out I was having my eldest daughter I started to hanker after those beautiful miniature baby dresses and little skirt/top outfits. I’m not saying you shouldn’t indulge but lets be real for a moment. Once baby arrives you need a ton of easily washed baby gros and various layers depending on the season, that’s kind of it to begin with. It’s not being boring it’s just practical (honestly not the same thing!!). I realised this after putting said baby daughter in a beautiful size 0-3 month dress she had been given; the frills ended up over her head, she had a mouth-full of netting and was impossible to hold or feed! We did get one cute photo before she completed her meltdown, so perhaps that is the moral – be bought these dresses as gifts rather than waste your own money!
- Babies fart. Loudly. This may seem obvious to some but as I had spent next to no time with babies before I had my own this blew my mind. Left alone in my curtained cubicle mere hours after my eldest daughter was born by c-section; I was staring at her in wonder (as you do, a lot) when all of a sudden she did the loudest fart I have ever heard. I resisted the urge to call out to the full ward that ‘it wasn’t me!’. She woke herself up, started crying – I couldn’t move as I was attached to the bed by a catheter in my nether regions. I had to press the emergency call button over a fart.
- You will live in a constant state of worry. I once read that on becoming a parent it is like wearing your heart on the outside of your body, I really think that sums it up. It begins with pregnancy, the worry over eating and doing all the right things. Then they are born and you take one look into their innocent eyes and you realise (with a certainty bordering on insanity) that it is your job to keep them safe forever. There begins years of worrying about the temperature of the nursery, choking hazards, sickness and then the mean kids at school. Where does it all end, I’m not really sure. Does my mum still feel that burning panic over my welfare? Probably not, but then she knows I’m tucked up in bed by 9pm every night. I should be more worried what they are getting up to these days! Someone recently asked how I’ll cope if my girls want to go off backpacking…I said we’ll have a great time!!! They’re going to love me.
- You will love uncontrollably and even on the worst days it will still be the best thing you ever did. I know, crazy right. Who would believe it.
What do you wish you had known before having a baby?