As soon as you have a baby on board the whole world and their dog and flippin' cat have advice for you. Not one to miss a bandwagon, here is my advice:
- Pregnancy is a strange an exciting time. You are growing a little person and it is bloody amazing. It's also hard work and plays complete havoc with your hormones. Crying in the middle of B&Q because they didn't have the exact shade of cream paint you wanted isn't a good look.
- Strangers will ask you very personal questions such as "Was it planned, dear?". Because your sex life is of course their business and you would definitely be more than happy to discuss it with them. Hell, offer them a glass of wine and tell them all about the night you conceived.
- There will be days when you are overwhelmed with excitement and just want to shop all day for cute little sleepsuits and scratch mitts.
- There will also be days when you think "What the hell have we done, I can't do this". Then you will feel guilty for thinking those thoughts. Don't worry, it's normal.
It's OK to feel scared and every pregnant woman is entitled to at least three major freak outs.
- Ante-natal classes are nothing like the movies. They are awkward, slightly embarrassing, and if you ask me, share way too much information. Seeing a pair of forceps did not in any way relax me and put me at ease about the impending birth of my baby.
- You will miss seeing your toes.
- When you think it is actually physically impossible for your tummy to get any bigger, it will.
- Make the most of every minute of your maternity leave. Nap whenever you want. Stay in your PJs all day and watch Breaking Bad. Paint your nails. It will be the last chance you get for a while.
OK, so there's only a couple of ways this baby is gonna come out, and neither of them are pretty.
- The journey to the hospital will be the most horrendous car ride you will ever experience. As you leave the house you will feel calm, in control, and excited that it is finally happening. However once in the car the combination of contractions, confined space and bumpy roads will lead your husband to believe you have been possessed by the devil.
- One minute you will be screaming at him to "hurry up" because quite frankly you need the drugs. The next you will be screeching "Stop the f***ing car!" as another contraction comes, along with temporary insanity.
- You will poo. When it happens you won't give a shit!
- At some point during your labour you will tell someone you love them, and it's far more likely to be the person giving you the gas and air than it is your husband.
- Gas and air is awesome
- You will make noises that you will never again be able to replicate. It's OK. In the words of Katy Perry, 'you're gonna hear me roar'.
- Your dignity will come back quicker then you actually want it to. Normally whilst you are still legs akimbo with people staring at your fanny.
- You deserve a fanfare, marching band, confetti, Gary Barlow singing you a song whilst playing the piano, the whole works for what you have just done. You won't get it.
- After the event, never ever look at where the action happened. I know, it's human nature to be inquisitive Trust me, don't go there. There are things in life that cannot be unseen. Please learn from my mistake, if only to make me feel mildly better from the image that still tortures me, to think 'I took one for the team'. Save yourself.
So they let you leave the hospital, just you, your husband and your new little bundle of joy. They don't let you keep a midwife, too. They seem to think you have this all under control and are perfectly fine.
- You will never know tiredness like it.
- You will spend hours just staring at your tiny person and marvelling at how awesome he or she is.
- If there is a hole in your body you will leak some form of bodily fluid from it.
- Your husband will come home from work and you will still be in your PJs, you will have no idea what you have done all day, but know that you had no time to get dressed although you attempted it several times.
- You will make mistakes. It's OK. We all do.
- You will talk about poo. A lot.
- Your body will never be the same again. There are superhuman women who ping back into shape three weeks after birth. If you happen to be one I may have to reconsider our friendship.
- Your body is now a human climbing frame. Your shoulder has the sole purpose of wiping snot and tears on. Your hair is there to be yanked and twiddled. Your hands will be used to shield yourself from wee and catch actual vomit.
- The human instinct to protect your child from any harm is overwhelming. But you're not allowed to punch or rugby tackle to the ground the poor nurses administering your baby's jabs. It's OK that you want too, though.
- The best sound you will ever hear is your baby giggle. Fact. And you will do the most bizarre things and act like a complete loon to make it happen.
- You will Google many random things like 'what does chickenpox look like' and 'how do you get Rice Krispies out of ear holes'
Everyone has an opinion on what you are doing. Listen to those you trust and ignore the rest.
Being a parent is the happiest and scariest experience. There will be days when you look back to your life before kids and remember when you could leave the house in under five minutes and you had a cute little handbag and not a great big Mum's bag, and although those days may have been simpler, you will also remember them as emptier.
You're in for the ride of your life, as long as you have love, a sense of humour and a lot of patience you will be just fine.
What advice would you give to anyone expecting a baby?
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