When women used to say to me "You really can't understand what it is like to have a baby until you have one of your own" I used to think "Riiiiigggghhhhttt!" and walk away thinking "how goddam condescending! I have a pretty vivid imagination I'll have you know! Yeah I know its not going to be a sweet walk in the park, but I think I have a fairly good idea what it will be like. I am tough! I did super well in school and uni, I am successful in my career, Ive got this covered Girlfrienzzz!"
It was like these women thought they had joined what I like to call the "Triple S Club"..........................
the "Smug with Spawn Sorority" and the ONLY way to join was to have one of your own (Ive heard of harsh initiation ceremonies for joining sororities... but pushing a watermelon out of your Clakka has got to rate in the top 3... surely).
But Alas, I hate to admit it... but I was wrong! (and I HATE, HATE, HATE! BEING WRONG!). The rumours are true... I have now joined the "Smug with Spawn Sorority".
I am truly sorry "non breeders" but you REALLY can't understand until you have had one of your own. Looking after a newborn baby around the clock is a SUPER TOUGH GIG! The actual "Job" of feeding, hugging, rocking, kissing, singing, changing nappies, is not "hard" Per se. Anyone can do it in small doses, and perhaps if you had a lot of help, or a nanny, or a large extended family living around the block it wouldn't be as tough. But it is the constant day in-day out, physical and mental taxing which takes a near super human feat.
So why does nobody ever REALLY tell you what it is going to be like?... are they all Evil narcissists just encouraging you to join the "Triple S" with the lure of super cute designer babies clothes and newly decorated nurseries, for you only to be sucked in like a fly into a Venus Fly Trap, slowly being enticed by the bright colours and then snapped into nature's jaws!
"HA HA HA IVE GOT YOU! TAG YOUR IT! YOU NOW HAVE TO PASS ON THE SORORITY TORCH BY NOT TELLING ANYONE ELSE WHAT ITS REALLY LIKE AND ENCOURAGING ALL OTHERS TO JOIN THE "TRIPLE S CLUB" THAT IS YOUR DUTY!"
Well personally Ive never liked rules! So I am going to let you in on the "Triple S Club's"
BIG SECRET! of why nobody ever REALLY tells you what its like.....are you ready for it? .............
It all comes down to one word...
The reason why nobody tells you what it is really like to have a baby...........
Its called SURVIVAL!
Yes folks, new parents are too busy SURVIVING to have the time to tell all the "non breeders" what its really like. So why don't they tell you once the child is older? Well remember our good "ol" friend "Amnesia" who helped us to black out the agony of childbirth?? I am pretty sure he also comes along and takes all the blurred sleepless nights, days of throbbing breasts and sore nipples, a whole month of bleeding and the tears of exhaustion... locks them in a vault, buries them under a volcano and fills said volcano with concrete.
That my friends is why people don't tell you what its really like.
Luckily I am smack bang in the middle of this crazy arse adventure and MR Amnesia is yet to "come-a-collectin"... so before I forget, I am going to share with you some newborn "true-ism's". You might want to make yourself a cup of tea (heck, pour yourself a wine) and let me shine a big "ol" torch under that volcano.
I dont know about you but I LOVVVVVVEEEE SLEEP! I mean I could marry my bed. I'd chose a good ol nanna nap over sex any day of the week! Pre baby I was known to sleep in on the weekend until the PM on a regular basis. After my little bundle of joy came into the world he was a hungry little beast eating every 2 hours day and night! Those first 2 weeks were a blur of feeding, burping, spewing, changing nappies and crying. The precious moments in between feeds were taking up with caring for myself, showering, changing maternity pads and breast pads, a quick lie down on the bed staring into space waiting for the whimpering wahhhhhhhhhh wahhhhhhhh to start the regime all over again. I know this time is different for everyone, some people have babies who also love sleep... (DAM THEM!!). My bubs is now 9 weeks old this week and is slowly learning to enjoy longer naps, the longest sleep he has had so far was 6 hours (this has happened once) and whilst it sounds like bliss I kept waking to check he was still breathing and had to deal with my explosive breasts leaking all over the place. For new mums still in the newborn faze not coping with the sleep depravation my advice is this... every week gets easier, keep on "milk trucking", you're doing a great job!
I was determined pre baby to keep my house noisy. I didn't want one of those babies where a pin drops and the baby wakes up screaming. I was determined to keep the TV up, radio going, vacuum roaring and pots and pans clanging! Most of the time I have managed to continue my household racket and luckily my baby seems to find comfort in the noises knowing I am still somewhere close by. However..... There have been moments of DESPERATION,,, when I needed sleep so bad I was near making a deal with the devil to get some shut eye. In the wee wee hours of the morn (on more than one occasion) my "noisy determination" and dignity was thrown out the window as I sat next to his bed patting, humming and shoving the dummy back in his mouth over and over again to finally see those sweet little eyes close. Then I slowly crawled... yes CRAWLED on all 4's out of his room to avoid even making the floorboards under his soft new carpet squeak to ensure he didn't wake up. Not only was I crawling, I was crawling with no top on after a mammoth feeding session. This little man had me well and truly wrapped around his little finger.
MY BREASTS FEEL LIKE PUBLIC PROPERTY-
My breasts no longer feel like my own! Apart from the stretch marks and constant suckling around the clock its the very tricky "whipping them out" in public places that I struggle with. Don't get me wrong, I am no prude and I am super grateful that our Aussie society is in general largely accepting of this practice nowadays, but I still find it a little uncomfortable. I was speaking to a friend recently who travelled to france with her 4 week old (some 20 years back mind you) and she was "LITERALLY!" spat on (or at) in the street for feeding in public!! At that time french hospitals routinely would dose women up on meds to stop the milk supply straight after birth. French "a la tits" were for "a la sexy times" ONLY. I am SUPER glad we don't have to deal with this sort of hostile response, but I still find the whole process quite challenging. First of all your baby is hungry, often to the point of screaming and flailing around like a half-cut seagull by the time you find a quiet cafe nook or park bench to feed your hungry sucker. Next ensue's this uncomfortable dance were you attempt to get your boob out without exposing yourself to every Tom, Dick and Harry ("nope nothing to see here... move along, nope I am not half undressing in public... yes my baby is screaming, thank you for staring, please now avert your eyes!"). Its not just the feeding in public that I find tricky, I also find it sometimes uncomfortable feeding in front of various family members. I don't know about you but pre-baby my husband was the only one privy to those "fiery biscuits". I am sure its not just me that finds it confronting, I'd like to think some of the family members also feel appropriately challenged by the situation.
WILL MY BITS EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN?
In short... welllll NO. I am sure this is different for everyone, and at 9 weeks since my birth I do feel like my vagina and bumhole are appropriately back in the right position. But I do recall in those first few weeks thinking "I am ruined!" I will never be the same again! Initially the post birth pain leaves you inching in and out of your seat, popping panedeine forte's round the clock and walking like a demented crab. Shower's, ice packs, heat packs, hot towels out of the dryer (pain killer's, pain killer's PAIN KILLER'S) Sleep (when you can), don't lift anything too heavy and change pads often. Again this topic seems to be one that barely anybody discusses with you before having a baby. "If you are yet to travel down this crazy path, did you know you can bleed for up to a month after giving birth?"
I thought that would be a "NIGHTMARE!" but in reality it wasn't that bad (I guess you have a lot of distractions...). Again I am just writing from my personal experience and all of the above varies greatly from person to person. Nine weeks on my bits feel fine... not the same, but fine and hopefully they will return to semi normal... until the next bub at least :)
Just throwing it out there... BUT, I HATE ADVICE! Nurses, doctors, parents, family members and friends! BE WARNED! What I want is a listening ear, a babysitter, a shoulder to cry on, a cup of tea made, my house cleaned... Actually I could go on all day with this list... ha ha ha! But what I DON'T WANT IS YOUR ADVICE! If I want to know something I'll ask for it (actually that is a lie "I'll Google it"). Number 1-(If you have had children) You had your turn... its my turn, things have changed, the world is different, please just enjoy the cuddle time and leave me be. Number 2- (If you don't have children...) "Then GET FARKED!"............
hmmm, that is all I have to say on that topic.
At your 6 week check up your GP will ask you "Have you resumed Normal Sexual relations?"
WTF! First of all, What is classified as "NORMAL" sexual relations? (is there a booklet and checklist for this?). Second of all... My fanny just got ripped open, it was a gapping bleeding wound for the first 4 weeks and even if I had wanted to attempt some sexy time in the last 2 since the bleeding stopped I am not sure when I was supposed to "schedule that in??". In saying that, at nine weeks I have jumped back on that bicycle and the relevant parts worked....ANNNNDDDDD,,,,, that is all I have to say on that topic.
Baby brain really is a REAL thing. First of all sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture... and now I can understand why. It can make you do (and for that matter SEE) some pretty weird things! I am not sure if it was a combination of the Endone (morphine pain medication I was on post birth) as well as the sleep dep, but twice in the first week I swiped my hand on the bed in front of me whilst feeding trying to "Shoo" away bugs.... that weren't there. Yep, I was literally seeing things!
Baby brain is not just privy to the mumma's of the world, the daddy's experience moments too. I recently watched my husband struggling to put the capsule into the car and when I bent down to look in the window to see why it wasn't working I realised he was putting it in back-to-front. Even though he had put the carseat in multiple times before, bub's was facing the front instead of the back (and the look on bubba's face was also one of confusion as to why he was being so jostled about).
Maintaining one train of thought during a conversation can also be VERY tricky. I feel more relaxed about this with people who are parents as they tend to kindly remind you what you were talking about after being interrupted 12 times a minute by your little bubba. But when it comes to talking with friends without children I tense up, my brain is saying... "Maintain the train of thought!", "Finish the sentence", "Don't just talk about the baby", "Ask them questions about their life...", "Remember their new boyfriends name"........ Ugh screw it, Just gunna hang out with other mum's!
THE "LET DOWN"
Pre baby I thought this phrase referred to situations such as purchasing music festival tickets only to have your favourite band cancel... or getting a cold before going on holidays. I had never heard of this "Let Down" term in reference to boobs before. The "Let Down" definition is the "accelerated movement of milk into the mammary glands of lactating mammals upon stimulation by massage or sucking" https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/early-days/let-down-reflex
This sensation is different for everyone and can be an enjoyable or very uncomfortable experience depending on how your body reacts. Who knew that when the milk gets started it sprays all over the place!! Yep if your babies mouth isn't sucking that milky juice down (or if he/she pulls away for a breather or to look around) you risk spraying the babies face, surrounding furniture or nearby people! (as I write this I look down at my smudged laptop screen and milk sprayed keyboard... classy). I recently sprayed an unsuspecting young woman at a friends baby shower event. This woman who has yet to have any children of her own and was slightly shocked/horrified (as was I). Spraying the general public with my bodily juices was definitely not a planned event.
POO'S AND WEE'S
If you are about to embark on this parenthood journey then get ready to deal with lots of poo's and wee's! Not just at nappy change time, also explosive "up the back poo's", spraying on you at bath-time wee's or covering your outfit when you finally got dressed moments. At the start I thought it was almost fun changing nappies, unbundling your little precious cargo and checking out the tiny colourful explosions that were waiting inside the nappy. But as they get bigger... so does the poo AND THE SMELLS! I have had 2 gag moments so far when a fresh hot steamy nappy has caught me in the back of my throat and I had to pull away for a moment for some fresh air. I was recently changing bubba at a shopping centre change room when a lady entered with her two children, one looked about 3 and the smaller one maybe 9 or 10 months. I could smell the smaller one as soon as she entered the room and as she started changing him on the change table next to me I had to use all my might not to vomit as she pulled off his pants and revealed what looked like an adult sized giant bog down his trouser leg. The trousers could not be saved, she had to throw them in the bin and then proceeded to use up nearly an entire packet of baby wipes to clean the child up. As she was leaving the room in a cloud of hot stench her 3 year old was shouting "Why does he have no pants on? MUM!! MAARRRMM Where are his pants??" the mother was embarrassingly shooshing her daughter "Shhhh, Shhhssshhh, we need to go to the shops to buy some more pants" the little girl continued loudly "But what was wrong with his old ones MUM?? Where are the other pants MARRRMM??". I glanced down at my quiet smiling baby who seemed unawares to the stenchy air and thought ahhhh what I have to look forward to.... those little mustard coloured (milky diet only) nappies had never looked or smelt so good!
WILL LIFE EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN?
I doubt it. Sure the sleeping will get longer, the baby will learn to be toilet trained, my stitches will heal and my bits will stop aching. My breasts will stop being sucked on or tugged out in public and I might get a nookie session once or twice a month. But life as I knew it will NEVER be the same. First of all, I am a mum! Even the terminology seems surreal, it still doesn't compute... and as I am about to experience my very first mothers day tomorrow that will never change now for as long as I live. I am glad life has changed, I am excited about the future and for all the pain and sleepless nights I am keen to do it again a few times over if my body and husband allows. Sure parenthood is not every bodies cup of tea, I get that, I respect that, if you have NEVER wanted kids and can't stand the idea of having them, then for their sake as well as yours its probably NOT a good idea. But if you are sitting on the proverbial fence thinking its your last chance and you don't want to look back with regrets that you never experienced it then my advice is GET A JIGGY ON A-SAP!
Things will NEVER be the same and I am loving this crazy journey!