Pre-children I had all these ideological ideas of how life would be once our family was larger, and like most mother’s to be this all started once I got the big positive on my pregnancy test.
Of course, as I’m sure you’ve guessed already, those ideals didn’t quite marry up with reality.
So let’s run through a few examples so we can all laugh at my naivety together and I can pre-warn any expectant parents on what life really will be like.
Only makes sense that we start at the beginning.
The expectation – when I found out I was pregnant both times I though great – morning sickness won’t get me or at least with the second pregnancy, the world cannot be cruel enough to make me suffer all the way through twice. I thought I’d have lovely thick hair, a pregnant glow and a bump that you could only see from the front.
The reality – horrendous morning sickness all the way through both pregnancies. I got the thick hair but didn’t realise that it is only temporary – once you give birth it all falls out! Slight exaggeration. but postpartum hair loss is a real thing and you will end up will frizzy little whispy bits when your hair starts to grow back. And pregnancy weight gain – you think it’s all about the bump – but oh no. I ended up with 4 chins and thigh chub rub(if you know you know) – not ideal.
The expectation – like you see on TV – a gush of waters breaking – few pushes and bam there is your baby, your hair and makeup is in tact for those precious few first pictures, and by the time you leave the hospital, you’ll be back in your pre-maternity favourite jeans.
The reality – it is nothing like that – or at least for me it wasn’t. I know every women’s labour will differ but I think I can safely say that the majority do not resemble those Hollywood blockbusters. For me, it took nearly 2 days from the point of ‘the baby is coming’ to his actual arrival. By then your hair is plastered to the side of your face, you’ve built up quite a sweat, and if you’re lucky like me, your newborn will wee on you, instantly to glam the lookup even more. But, we have our baby which is all that matters. Then there is your bump, I assumed like an elastic band, my bump would spring back and I’d regain view to my feet, almost instantly. Wrong again! Now there is no baby inside what was once a beautiful round, solid bump is now mushy flab and you will feel contraction like pains as it slowly starts to shrink back.
I’m due my second child within the next few weeks so I’ll update you on how that labour goes when it happens. This time round we have planned for a homebirth, although I am under no illusion that it will not be a glamorous affair.
The expectation – the new baby smell – honestly I wish you could bottle it! A beautiful sleeping baby. Good night sleep (because obviously everyone exaggerated about how tough it can be), a baby that feeds well and only does one poo a day.
The reality – I actually fell really lucky and I know some other parents have a much tougher time with colic, tongue tie, reflux and so on. But, even with a ‘good’ (hate that term – as if any baby is bad?!) baby, it’s not all rainbows at dawn. Yes, the newborn smell is there and it’s amazing – but this comes alongside with odour de sick and poop. Also, hate to break it to you, but everyone was not lying. Babies do not sleep through – not newborns anyway. You (or your partner depending on how you choose to feed) will be up numerous times in the night. Good feeding – again this varies – I struggled with breastfeeding past a few weeks – I ended up putting to much pressure on myself and emotionally crashed – but whether you breastfeed or use formula, you still feed regularly and your baby needs to adjust to your chosen method. Then there is the baby poo – the first one is black and sticky like tar, yeah no one warns you about that. Then after that that a runny green-ish yellow colour – thankfully generally odourless but still – it goes everywhere – that lovely outfit you put them, won’t last past one of these poops! Your washing machine will be on 24/7 dealing with them.
So yep in that late pregnancy and early motherhood days, it is not glamorous (unless you are Kate Middleton – that women always looks incredible) you’ll probably be wearing the same pyjamas all day and night, be walking around with baby sick on you without realising (we’ve all been there). But, even in this exhausted state you will be so blissfully happy and wrapped up within this love bubble for your baby you won’t mind in the slightest. So, yes it hasn’t lived up to the expectation, it is a lot harder. But, like most things in life the reality is always better as you, learn and grown and it is only with these hand-on experiences that you learn and become a confident parent.
Tell me about any expectations vs reality you had either pregnancy, labour or in the newborn phase. We’ll talk about toddlers in my next post so sign up and follow to make sure you don’t miss that hilarious instalment – like wine it only gets better with age – and with toddlers you’ll be needing a stash on standby.