BeHere are seven things to be aware of before the baby arrives:
- GIVING BIRTH: The birthing experience was a bit opaque for me even though I had done the NCT prenatal course. I suppose you don’t know what you don’t know so you can’t ask and you can’t research it. Noone told me about what would happen during birth until a friend offered to take me out and just fill me in. But her kind gesture to prepare me was so greatly appreciated. If a friend is pregnant and you’ve been there, done that why not offer to share your knowledge of what happens with her?
- FITTING INTO YOUR CLOTHES: One of the first things you will notice after giving birth is that you will not be able to fit into your old pre-pregnancy clothes for a couple of months. I was so bored with the small selection of clothes I’d been wearing during pregnancy (I had never found the lovely dresses I’d been hoping to wear during pregnancy) so I was keen to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes again. I was surprised and upset at finding that my skirts/jeans wouldn’t fit and the shirt buttons wouldn’t close. So be prepared for this. You’ll get there.
- DISAGREEMENTS WITH YOUR PARTNER: You may find yourself arguing with your partner about every detail of looking after your baby, from how many layers he/she should wear to whether a baby hat is required when you’re taking a walk outside to the method used to sterilise the baby’s bottles. You may think that you and your partner have discussed how you’d like to raise your baby and you have the same parenting style but when the baby arrives, it may not be that simple. Perhaps these differences in opinion are because you and your partner were raised differently but these differences are something that will take you a few months to work through.
- OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE TENDENCIES: You may be so pedantic about how to look after your baby that it verges on obsessive compulsive behaviour. In those early days, when your baby is tiny and you’re inexperienced it’s normal to worry about everything. I washed my hands with anti-bacterial soap after everything. I checked on the baby probably every 15 minutes lest the blanket had come up too high on him or it wasn’t tucked in properly. It’s ok to do this. Trust your instincts.
- AM I JUST MUM NOW?: If you were previously a career woman or held down a professional job, the reality of day to day life as a stay at home mum can be a shock to the system. You will find yourself vaccuming in the middle of the day or buying your groceries at 11am or 3pm. Well at least you’ll beat the afterwork crowd at the supermarket and you’ll know when all the sale items come out but it’s still a strange feeling. I liked Penelope Cruz’s comments in Baby Magazine recently saying how she loves being a housewife. Maybe we need to embrace that notion more. I felt cutoff from my previous life but I would make the effort to still listen to my daily BBC World Service News podcast to make myself a bit more aware of current affairs. There was no more time to read my Economist magagzine even though I kept paying for it. Instead I was reading about baby weaning, choosing a nursery or looking up toddler activities on Pinterest.
- BEING EMOTIONAL: Your husband will think you’re crazy/you’ve changed. The hormonal changes that take place make a big impact on a woman. I was generally a happy, optimistic type of person but I found myself having a little cry every day for a couple of months after giving birth. Perhaps giving birth in winter also made things more difficult because there was not much sunlight. But my husband did think that my behaviour had changed. A friend of his who already had children reassured him that I would return back to equilibrium in time.
- LAUNDRY: Oh the laundry. You will do so much of it. When the baby soils his/her clothes you may need to change the vest plus the baby sleepsuit plus the bedsheets. And this may happen three times a day. When your baby starts to be weaned, you will find stains all over your own clothes too so your clothes need to be washed after one wear. Oh the laundry. Remember to use non-bio detergent by the way and get it in a large size so you don’t have to buy it that often.