As a first time Mum, I often find myself saying this a lot. No one ever tells you…
Closely followed by “they say” this is one of the most common things that I hear so many new Mums saying.
No one ever tells you… morning sickness can last all day. It’s not limited to the a.m y’all. That horrible hungover feeling without the gratification of a big night out the night before, (unless you count falling asleep and drooling on the couch at 7pm, or the three wake-ups to pee) can last all day.
No one ever tells you… your feet can suddenly go up an entire shoe size and none of your shoes will fit during pregnancy. Don’t expect them to go down anytime soon after the birth either. All that fluid retention – they might even go up another size just to keep you on your toes… just kidding your toes are fat and puffy too.
No one ever tells you… you might not crave anything. Here’s me dreaming I’ll have an excuse to eat yummy fried chicken, or something equally naughty that pre-pregnant me loved alllll the time. I didn’t crave anything, however, I had huge aversions to so many things! I went off bacon (my one true love) for a good 8 weeks, then any and all meat for a month or so. I didn’t eat a single piece of fruit the entire 36 weeks and 6 days. I couldn’t stand the texture or feel of it in my mouth. Bananas, apples, citrus none of it. I mean you read things about people eating laundry powder or walls…they definitely don’t tell you that, so I guess I had it easy!
No one ever tells you…your teeth will protesteth thy baby in residence, and your gums will be tender and bleed lots. I’m a big skite when it comes to my teeth. They’re not very straight, but at 32 I have no fillings and haven’t even had an injection in my mouth before. When I was pregnant I had constant toothaches and so many ulcers and such sore gums. I know, I know, I just said I ate no fruit – but I took a vitamin C supplement, and a multi-vit, but after looking on Aunty Google – turns out it’s a thing. Pregnancy hormones can mess with your pearly whites!
No one ever tells you… your going to sweat. A lot. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, all the time. A curious effect ‘le bebe’ had on me, was that my sweat changed its scent. Weirdly, it smelt sweeter but not in a good way. I’ve never really been a “sweater” as such, but when I was pregnant thanks to the fluctuation of hormones I would frequently wake up drenched. A few times it was so bad I thought my waters had broken, but nope – just sweaty preggy Peggy over here. Breastfeeding was the same, having a body working in overdrive to heal a wound, produce milk to feed a human, and function off zero sleep, it was like a marathon workout 24/7. Having your own tiny portable human heater on you around the clock feeding also contributes.
No one ever tells you… you will lose a lot of hair once the baby is born. Some people do, some people don’t. I did. So much. Like, I could start a wig shop lots. My brush was so full, I couldn’t even run my hands through my hair without shedding a small poodle. I’ve got long straight hair that shed quite a bit anyway, but with those horrible hormones again wreaking havoc, this was ‘clog the vacuum cleaner’ stuff. I was actually getting a receding hairline of baby bum fluff hair what the heck is with that?! Luckily it evened out a little over time and after taking a good quality zinc and vitamin d supplement, has almost stopped. I was seriously worried for a while there – until once again, Aunty Google to the rescue – I read it’s normal. I also read many other horror stories so probs don’t google it and just take my word for it ok?!
So here comes the #realtalk team…
Turn away prudy judys…. scroll down or tap out…
No one ever tells you…your nipples get BIG and they get dark. I like to think I had dainty small nipples. I mean they were in proportion to my tiny boobs pre-baby, but ohhhh wow this one was a surprise. I’m talking NZ Summer, 8 layers fake tan gone wrong, darkest emoji, next level dark. It’s weird. There are veins and swelling, and the skin gets all wrinkly and dry and they just get so big! This is a natural response from your body and our good friend ‘el hormono’s’ are to blame once again, this time increasing melatonin production. I’ll give you a tip… it’s not just the nips that get the special treatment… a few other nooks and crannies will too… bigger, darker and hairier. Eeeep. I’ll leave that to your imagination, and as much research as you are brave enough to do yourself. They bloody never tell you THAT wee gem do they!
No one ever tells you… about your first post-birth poo and/or wee. Sorry guys I had to address it. Cesarean or not, that shit gets real. Every pun intended. I’m not going to go into huge detail here but a few things come to mind. Shards of glass, stinging nettles, as bad as contractions (not too dissimilar actually) searing hot jolts of lighting up your wahoo. Take the laxatives they offer you, do it in the shower if you can, take a squirty bottle of warm water with you, freeze some maternity pad iceblocks for after (ask your midwife about these) expect the worst, and hope for the best. Enough said.
No one ever tells you… about the bleeding for 6 weeks after birth. Yup. It’s a thing. I don’t know why I thought that ONE thing I could take solace in from having an emergency C section was hopefully limited damage to my hoo-haa. I mean I had no choice. I had to have a major surgery to get Bubs out safe and sound, and I’d do it again 100 times, but I thought oh well one good thing has to be that I won’t have to suffer as much “down there” after birth. Well. Please refer to the previous paragraph. Hah. I also still passed some pretty epic blood clots the first 6 weeks, and because I had fully dilated and been allowed to push for a while, yeah…didn’t get that pass card. Passed go, but no $200 sorry.
Breastfeeding. Where do I start? oh, the things. All the things. All of the everything. Insert maniacal laughter here. Mastitis, milk blisters, engorgement, thrush, oversupply, undersupply… I’ll stop now.
No one ever tells you… about cluster feeding. That your baby might stay attached to your nipple feeding… for hours. Yes. Hours. They might want to feed all night. Every night. Even after feeding all day. Every day. Now please don’t get me wrong. I am fully aware that breastfeeding is a luxury some mums don’t have. For so many reasons. I am a hundred percent pro-choice, do whatever you can/have to and whatever is best for you and your baby. But HOLY SHAMOLY cluster feeding nearly broke me. I am truly lucky to still be breastfeeding feeding nearly 9 months on, but I didn’t always think I could, or would, or even wanted too. I’m working on a few more posts exclusively about breastfeeding. I reckon I could write a book.
No one ever tells you… there will be days you can’t put your baby down. They will be in your arms all day, all night with no relief, for many reasons. Cluster feeding, colic, reflux, 4th trimester, wind, or just cause. You are all they know, you are their home, their life, their world. They want to be near you, close to you, on you all.the.time. It’s real, it’s exhausting and it’s unexpected. I wish I had been more prepared for this.
Then there are a few things that people tell you, but you don’t believe…
I’ve got two nieces and a nephew. I have several very close girlfriends that have kids of varying ages now. I’ve managed many staff members who are Mums, and I have never before actually truly “got it”. I love being an Aunty, I love my friend’s kids dearly, but seriously, I never knew how polarizing motherhood could be. I never understood how you could feel so many things at once. I didn’t know I would feel so conflicted and so much inadequacy and uncertainty. So clueless and helpless and doubtful of my ability. Grief for my old life, the old me. But also, the good stuff. Sheer joy. A heart so full I can literally and physically feel it expanding and nearly exploding with love, happiness and an overwhelming inability to express all the inexplicable instincts that just suddenly exist within you. Feeling a sense of completion like a piece of your soul you didn’t know you didn’t have, that suddenly just feels complete. Also that despite feeling these amazing feelings, sometimes horrendous ‘killjoy harry hormones’ will override the amazingness and have you wondering what the heck you’ve done! Amongst the chaos and the exhaustion and all the things “they never tell you” even if it’s just a fleeting moment or you are lucky to feel it every day, the gift of a child, and reward and of being a mother is something no one can describe, and truly is the best thing in the world.