So with baby number 2 on it’s way I thought I would revisit this post I actually wrote over a year ago. Most is still the same and a good reminder for me! Here are some of the things I wish I knew when pregnant first time round or would have found helpful as a new mum. Don’t worry this isn’t yet another “top tip” list or lecture on how to do things, just a light hearted run through of what I wish I knew based on my experience of pregnancy and motherhood so far.
- It’s ok to not feel like a “mum”. If I’m being totally honest I felt this overwhelming sense of not knowing who I was for the first 7 or 8 months of motherhood. To me a mum had a certain look and I did not feel like that person at all. Calling myself mum was so strange and even breastfeeding I felt overly self conscious and anxious. It wasn’t until I seen other mums online that I thought it’s actually ok to still be me and a mum at the same time, I don’t need to wear a certain thing, stop getting tattoos or never go out and enjoy myself ever again.
- Doing things for the first time after the birth. Please tell me I am not the only one who was scared to go in the bath for the first time or poop? Sorry if that’s TMI but it’s true! Thankfully I didn’t have any complications or tears during the birth but I was still terrified to go in the bath, I’m not sure what I thought would happen but it was fine. Also the other was fine too!
- I know everyone says it and you think “yeah ok” but honestly, treasure the sleep. I cannot put into words how tired you will feel. You will hate each other and feel like the only 2 people awake at 2:45am but it does eventually get better. Many times I found myself half slumped in bed with Abel asleep with boob still in mouth and though oh sh*t, then I would look over and see Mr sound asleep all comfy and nudge him just for funsies. Don’t feel bad if you live in a onsie for weeks on end, you will get there.
- Don’t be scared to question advice. I’m sure most of you agree that becoming a parent is like a magnet for advice, some good, some daft, some ridiclous. Trust your gut and if you think something doesn’t sound right then get another opinion. We have had misdiagnosis from doctors, health visitors giving us their opinion rather than impartial advice and people tell us to give our baby whiskey… no thanks!
- When you go into labour DO NOT WEAR A HAIR DONUT. Under any circumstances do not put that thing on your head. If you did wear one and it stayed put then amazing, honestly, fun buns for the win. Being pregnant is hard, I spent Christmas Eve in labour (although I didn’t know this at the time) so as you can imagine I just wanted to stick my hair up and get organised for the next day, queue donut as my hair wasn’t playing ball. To cut a long (and painful) story short I basically ended up with the donut about 3 inches off my head like a mushroom whilst the midwife spoke to me after giving birth. I couldn’t have cared what I looked like at all at that moment but as soon as my other half told me AFTER she left I was mortified and luckily seen the funny side.
- Speaking of hair, find a go to up do. Hair washing becomes a luxury in motherhood but this doesn’t mean we all need to actually look like it’s been a week or more. Personally I went for wearing a headscarf as I also lost a lot off hair around my temples and behind my ears – good look. More recently I have got an undercut too, my hair never grew back normally underneath and always looked like I had chopped a big chunk shorter, plus it takes about half an hour off blow drying!
- Make time for each other. We actually done pretty good at this, we promised ourselves from the start that as long as everything went ok we would go away for a night 1 month after the birth. It was really hard to leave him and I didn’t get that good a sleep as I had to get up and pump milk about 4 times through the night but it was amazing to go out and enjoy each other again. Also it got easier the more he stayed with his gran or auntie for him and us. I think we all need some time off now and again, it makes up for all those occasions you have actually wanted to kill each other and have maybe said a few *beeps*.
- Make time for you too! I am the worst for having “me time”. Like seriously at any opportunity where I should sit down and chill I am cleaning or doing dishes or tidying up. Over time the guilt has not gone away but I force myself to do it and I’m glad when I do. I took this picture maybe a month or 2 after he was born, my mum ran me a bath when I was at hers and forced me to go relax. I even find myself asking for permission to do things sometimes and Mr is like why are you asking? I think it’s natural when you are the parent at home most to feel like you can’t leave without it being ok’d first. Even if it’s just having a bath or a full blown night out, make sure you do it and feel good about it, it’s ok to miss them though.
- Honestly try not to worry about what others think. Breastfeed for as long as you want. Wean how you want. Dress your baby how you want. Do not listen to anyone you don’t want to. I let people get to me and stopped breastfeeding at 5 months which I so regret now. I got stick for choosing to combine baby led weaning with spoon feeding. I get comments on how Abel wears leggings and has a man bun. Compared to my new mum self I am like a rock now and I so wish I had that to start with.
- Learn to eat when and where you can. With one hand can help too, and something you don’t mind eating cold. This picture basically sums it up (on the toilet, with the seat down…).
- Online friends are awesome. I remember signing up to netmums and thinking I have loads of friends I don’t need the chat section. Oh how times change. It’s ok if your friend count dwindles, quality not quantity. Don’t feel ashamed to meet new people online, I have met so many incredible people online, some I speak to everyday and it is amazing. This is from one of our insta meet ups!
- Finally, it’s ok to not have a fricking clue what you are doing. No matter how perfect someones instagram is or how great they tell you parenthood is for them, everyone (well mostly everyone) deep down inside is winging it and probably googling half the stuff they do or phoning their parents for help.