Ever wondered what to expect when you’re a new mother? I didn’t quite know what to expect when I became a mum for the first time in 2013.
Well, I suppose I expected the obvious things – to be up all night, to have sore boobs from breastfeeding and to have a baby join our family!
There were a few things I did not expect, however. I know better second time around but it doesn’t always get any easier!
What to expect when you’re a new mother:
1. Lack of Sleep at Night and All. Day. Long.
As I’ve already said, I completely expected to be up all night with a sleepless newborn – that’s a given, isn’t it? I did not bargain for that same baby to survive on little sleep in the daytime either.
And for my babies, no sleep means crying – a LOT. I have been blessed with adorably cute but high-needs, crying babies.
I expected to spend my days sitting on the sofa/in cafes/in the park cuddling my babies and us blissfully gazing into each other’s eyes. No no no.
Thankfully for my daughter the sleeplessness only lasted for the first couple of months until she got bored of the drama and settled down. Phew! Hopefully her little brother will follow suit.
2. ‘2 Minute’ Showers
Ooh , how I used to love a long, leisurely shower or a soak in the bath with a book and (large) glass of wine.
Those days are over.
Well, for at least 10 more years I suspect.
With a newborn you are time-poor – to the extreme. Every second of every day revolves around taking care of your baby and quite rightly so. I cannot scrimp on a shower though, I just can’t.
I’ve got my showers down to a fine, 2 minute art now.
That’s just about enough time to feed the baby, put him in his bassinet, slowly and silently edge backwards out of the room, ease the door closed, turn the shower on, wash the ‘essentials’ and turn the shower off hoping, wishing and praying that the baby hasn’t awoken and screamed the house down.
Showers are no longer relaxing, ‘me time’. They are a well-rehearsed, fairly terrifying, panic-inducing military operation. Thankfully the pregnancy hormones dried my hair out to a sufficient enough degree to only have to wash it twice a week.
3. A Brand ‘New’ Body
Squishy tummy? Stretchmarks? Extra-wide hips? Not quite the ‘new body’ that most ladies are hoping for.
Pregnancy takes it’s toll on us all differently and thankfully those cute baby bundles are more than worth it!
4. Becoming Invisible
What a difference a (birth) day makes. One minute you’re pregnant and lapping up the constant attention, lovely compliments and smiles from strangers.
The next, the baby is out and way cuter and more interesting than you.
You are now invisible.
Which might be a good thing sometimes as you may not wish to show off your sleep-deprived, ‘2 minute’ showered, squishy self to everyone too soon after the birth!
When the baby arrives, you hand your spotlight over to them. Everyone wants to talk to the baby, cuddle the baby, ask how the baby is and before long you might start to feel a bit neglected.
Fear not, they’re just overwhelmed by the excellent work you’ve done in producing such a wonderful, bundle of joy! Stay smiling and congratulate yourself on a job well done, even if some forget to tell you themselves.
5. Being asked when you’re having the next Baby
I’ve saved my ‘favourite’ one til last. You know who I’m talking about – those baby ‘bullies’ who unwittingly think it appropriate to pry so far into your personal life as to ask when you’re ready to conceive again before you’ve even passed your six week check up.
I know all too well because I was once one of them. In my slightly naiver, childless days, “when are you having the next one?” was one of my most-uttered questions to my parenting friends.
I know better now.
These days, after having baby number 2, I pre-empt that question before anyone has the chance to think of it, let alone ask it.
“This is my new baby boy and I love my children but I’m never, ever, EVER having another baby ever again” seems to do the trick quite nicely.
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What about you, what surprised you when you became a new parent?