Before you have children of your own, you probably think you know what it will be like.
You might have had friends who had babies, you might be a very hands-on auntie. But nothing – NOTHING – prepares you for what happens when you have children of your own – the real truth about parenting!
To start with, pregnancy is a right laugh.
Morning sickness lasts all day, you need help getting off the sofa and you are so tired you could sleep on the head of a pin but apparently not in a bed, at night because that’s when the heartburn, discomfort and crazy dreams start. Mentioning this to anyone gets you the hilarious response ‘it’s preparing you for when the baby is here!’ which is so funny you might wet yourself.
Oh, and there is likely to be a bit of that too to be honest and FYI it does not magically get better when the baby is here.
Nope, giving birth isn’t the end of it.
Bouncing back is a ridiculous and entirely unfair myth.
You might see celebs and think they’re back to normal two days later but I guarantee you; the truth about parenting is that underneath those support pants is a wobbly mum tum and a maternity towel the size of a boat.
No one tells you about the night sweats, the rock hard leaking boobs (mastitis anyone?!) or the fact that the wonderful glossy hair that you were so proud of during your pregnancy falls out in clumps. I’m serious; I clogged the shower drain about twice a week.
You have to endure all of this whilst also attempting to keep a very new, small person alive. A small person who is hell bent on inflicting torture by sleep deprivation on you. If you can pass this stage with a colicky newborn and come out unscathed, then stick that on your CV because you are one hardcore mother.
Do you feel like it? Probably not.
Confidence in your own abilities as a mother comes with time; I doubt there is a single mum out there who upon giving birth thought ‘I got this’ and then went about her day bossing every single aspect of mothering.
The annoying thing about babies is that they keep growing; thus making all efforts to learn the right way of doing things obsolete very quickly. One minute you’re hearing phantom screaming in the shower, the next they’re in there with you (my advice is to get a decent cubicle shower). You may have cracked the nap thing, but next week they’ll probably stop napping so your brief celebration will be in vain.
You might think you can apply what you’ve learnt with your first to your second and subsequent children and there might be aspects of overlap but the truth about parenting multiple children is that:
1) You will forget everything and 2) Your children will not be the same.
Whether your child is 3 days, 3 months or 3 years; your first, second or twentieth, you probably won’t have it all figured out. Still, apparently that’s all part of the fun!
Good luck! You’re going to need it.
This is a collaborative post, written by Fran.