Life with a newborn is the most beautiful, intense, unexpected rollercoaster. Even if you’ve done it before. The first six weeks of the rest of your life are transformative, exhausting, surprising and full of so much love you think your heart might burst clean out of your chest. These tiny, vulnerable little beings are so exceptional you’ll forgive them anything – the cracked nips, the feeling of all your organs floating in midair, the stitches… my god, the stitches. Here are the top three things that surprised me as a new mum about life with a newborn.
In the lead-up to giving birth, you have all sorts of chats with your midwife, your friends, and family about what’s to come. One of the biggies is feeding bubs. I found there was a huge emphasis on how breastfeeding was the best option, that it was natural and oh-so beautiful and that really, it was the way to go. What nobody warned me about is that it can be bloody hard at times. At first, it’s a choreographed dance where nobody knows the moves (except maybe your midwife who will be more than happy to grab that puppy and shove it into your kid’s mouth). It can be stressful, painful (hello incorrect latch) and embarrassing (getting your tits out in public, for instance, has been on the no-no list for a long time. Now it’s kinda essential – it’s an adjustment!). There are leaks, pumps that make weird noises and you now need to wear a bra to bed (I’ve got you covered, kid) for the extra support!
Needless to say, it gets easier (or it doesn’t, and you ditch it, and that’s cool too), but man was I unprepared for anything other than a ‘beautiful experience’.
Speaking of unprepared, boy was I unprepared for the post-birth recovery. In the days following delivery, as your spleen un-wedges itself from under your ribcage, and your liver scoops itself out of your butt (*NB: not medically accurate terminology), you have this weird, empty feeling where kiddo’s been holed up for 9 months. Your bump will still be there for a bit too – ‘post-baby bodies’ are not really something to worry about at this point, btw.
I think this was the most surprising thing when I had my first – babies don’t automatically know how to get to sleep! Some do, and high-fives to you if you’ve got one of those, but most need a bit of guidance. The good (and bad) news is that they love hanging with mum, and are way more likely to get a good kip if they’re with you (fair enough, they’ve just been IN you for a fair while). If you’re struggling with it, you’re destined to get a million opinions from well-meaning helpers, but if you hear the phrase ‘you’re making a rod for your own back’, run for the hills and ever ask that helpful person for help ever again.
I might circle back to baby sleep in another blog soon, as it’s a biiiiiig topic to dive into.
Anyway, that’s my top three ‘life with a newborn’ surprises. I’d love to know yours! Hit me up in the comments and let me know!
Take care of yourself, mama.
~ Sinem xo
Communicating your expectations and boundaries can feel like navigating landmines as you deal with other people’s expectations of how they’d like to be involved in baby’s life. Tread carefully and sensitively as after all, by the time they are toddlers, maybe that once a week sleepover won’t seem like such a bad idea!