As a first time mum, there is a WHOLE heap of things I wish I knew before I had our little babe. Eva is now eighteen weeks old, and now, I finally feel like I’ve kind of got her figured out. We are definitely through the newborn tough times, and have settled into our own routine. I know what her cries mean and most of the time, how to fix it. But gosh, there are so many things I wish I was told before I had her.
I have an older sister with a baby, so I feel like I had a bit of a glimpse into what life with a tiny baby was like, the ups and downs, but I suppose it’s only when you experience it first-hand that you can really understand just how hard it can be.
So, here are a few things I wish that someone had told me before I had a baby.
Sitting down bloody hurts! Why did no one tell me this? I had a 21 hour long, natural birth with Eva. I was pushing for 2.5 hours and due to this she bruised my tail and pelvic bones, oh and lets not talk about the tearing too. I could not sit comfortably for about six weeks after birth. So, I carried a little cushion with me around everywhere, including to the park and cafes! I may have had a few strange looks, but mums would smile at me like they knew what was going on!
It can be freaking hard. Oh gosh it can be hard work and I was one of the super lucky ones with no issues at all. Eva latched on straight away, my supply was fine, so it did just work. But it is relentless. When you’re the only one who can feed your babe, and in the early weeks when they’re just on you 24/7, even having a shower felt sometimes nearly impossible. I loved all the cuddle time and her falling asleep on me, but sometimes I just felt like I wanted a bit of personal space, I wished that my partner could feed her so I could have more than 2 hours uninterrupted sleep. There is so much emphasis on breastfeeding, which I think is great, but I also believe that we should be more encouraged to do what is right for you, for your partner and your baby. If that means they have a bottle (with breast milk or formula) every now and then so you can sleep, then so be it.
It just disappears. Where has eighteen weeks gone? I have no idea! I wish someone had told me just how quickly those first four weeks would go. To sometimes stop worrying about the housework being done, dinner being cooked, clean washing, and to just sit back more and be in the moment. The days would start and end in what felt like five minutes.
It happens, take some deep breaths and remind yourself you’re doing a good job. Hearing your baby crying (when they’re not) whilst you’re in the shower, on the toilet, doing basically anything, is completely normal. This one drove me a little nuts, I would hear Eva crying all-the-damn-time, even when she was sound asleep. I still do it every now and then, but mostly it’s stopped. I found that just taking a few slow breaths in and out really helped calm me.
I think as a new mum we doubt pretty much everything we do. Is she too hot, too cold, hungry, over tired, sick etc. etc.? I still doubt myself, quite a bit, but for the most, I’m getting better at going with my gut. Trusting myself and what I’ve learnt in these last four months and going with it. I’ve also discovered babies are so random, and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, they go and change again!
These are some of the things I wish I’d been forewarned about. But I also think, sometimes, you just have to experience these things for yourself. Maybe you can’t be told these things, maybe it’s just part of your mum journey to discover them yourself, make mistakes and learn from them. We’re all just doing the best we can for these tiny little humans and at the end of the day, when they smile at you with all the love in the world, we gotta be doing something right!