Congratulations, you made it through the birth, you’re exhausted, elated and you will probably be overwhelmed with emotion at the fresh human in your arms. The parenting books will tell you how many vests baby will need in the hospital, to bring a pen to fill out all of the forms, and that Mama and Baba will need their rest, blah di blah. However there are several things that they don’t tell you.
If you’re having a natural birth, then chances are, you’re going to need stitches. I was one of the unfortunates who had to have an episiotomy, shudder, and by God, it hurt like hell. So be prepared for waddling issues, weird smells from your healing hoo-ha and it stinging like frak when you pee.
Your baby will be dirty. It will be covered in mucus, blood and an array of bodily fluids. They basically dry the little tyke off, dress them and hand them to you. They like to keep a layer of what I can only describe as dragon phlegm on the tot, to protect their new delicate skin. So it will look a bit like a dragon sneezed on a freshly hatched goblin.
You may be running on an adrenaline rush, I was showered, dressed and pushing my newborn down to the maternity ward half an hour after delivery, gabbing on the phone to my Mum about how teeny tiny my little boy was. I felt no pain, I was ecstatic. A few hours later was a completely different story.
Take all of the painkillers offered. Seriously, there are no martyrs in a maternity ward let me assure you! I thought I was fine the first night, until 9pm came and I felt like someone had kicked me in the vagina down a flight of stairs onto a heap of broken glass and pine cones. TAKE THE MEDS! Take everything that they are willing to give you.
Pooping, or lack thereof. You can become constipated, not only that, but you can suffer psychological constipation, really, it’s an actual thing! I was already dealing with the agony of my stitches, that I was literally too scared to crap myself. This in itself is an issue, added in that you don’t want to leave the baby for too long and you have no idea how long the sh*t show is going to take you. They offered me something to ease the pooping process, but I just had to brave didn’t I? Oh no, I’ll be fine, it’ll happen naturally, I thought. It did… six days later. It was worse than giving birth. The baby was screaming downstairs and I was sobbing on the toilet, a combination of excruciating pain, and the guilt of letting my newborn cry it out all alone. Trust me, try to have a poo in the hospital.
It’ll be weird. You have all of this alone time with this tiny person, who, to be honest, is like an eating, pooping, sack of meat. You don’t know them yet, and you might feel a bit strange, or disconnected to them, and that’s okay. You still have to get to know one another, and it is perfectly acceptable to check Facebook, or play a game of candy crush instead of constantly staring at this fresh human. It does not make you a bad mother, it makes you a real person.
The nurses will offer to take your baby for a few hours on the first night, so that you can get some rest. They do this for everyone, and please, you need to know that letting them care for your baby, which is part of their job, is helping them care for you. You need to sleep, you will not be getting any decent rest when you get home. Take all the help you can get.
PANIC! Extreme, unadulterated panic! Every time you close your eyes, your baby will move, sigh, cough or cry and you will automatically wake up and stand to attention. WASSAT!?IMUP! MUMMYSHERE!DONTYOUWORRY! ILLFIXIT! You will be in a constant state of confusion and fear. Did you put the nappy on right? Is the baby breathing? Did it cough? Has it got mucus in it’s throat, what if it’s whooping cough, has it got bubonic plague? Try to relax and if you are worried, don’t be afraid to ask one of the midwives/nurses. They have heard it all before.
You might get upset, and by upset, I mean sobbing uncontrollably, while the baby in your arms sobs uncontrollably, because you don’t know how to comfort them. It’s 3am and you’re trying to calm your baby in a bright, hot, silent room, with other mummies and babies who are trying to sleep. You feel all alone and like a complete arsehat because your little bundle of joy has set of a chain reaction of crying babies in a room of sleep-depravated hormonal women.
I hope I haven’t frightened you too much, but all of the pain, emotional pain and self-doubt I felt were completely normal. No-one should feel like they are failing at being a mother just because they don’t fall into the pre-conceived notions of what you should feel post partum. Remember, if you have any queries, concerns, or want to share, then throw down a comment or give me a tweet!