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So, you’re pregnant – here is what the books don’t tell you:

You think you know everything about being pregnant? There are many things that are so worth knowing before the birth happens. Don’t let this list put you off, or scare you. Having a baby is an amazing experience, your body can do all these fantastic things by itself! You get to choose baby names and stare down at this most beautiful, bundle of joy – thinking that you never ever knew how much you could love someone. But there are down sides too, you don’t know what tiredness is until you have a newborn, you’ve no idea what pain is until you’ve given birth, there’s no more going out for drinks with your friends because you have to be up at four in the morning, the list goes on… There are many things that the books don’t tell you, but it’s best being prepared right?

So, you’re pregnant, your hormones are majorly messed up and will be, not only for the entirety of the nine months, but until your child is two! Yes, you read that right, two! Pregnancy hormones, in my opinion, are one of the worse aspects of pregnancy. They drive you insane, they drive your partner insane, they make every silly little thing seem so much bigger. They make you jealous of everyone and everything , they make you cry at the stupidest thing, they are enough to make you give up… but don’t, it will get better.

Don’t rush out and buy lots of new bras as soon as your boobs are bigger, it is an unnecessary waste of money. Buy just one, a week later they will be a different size anyway, so you’re just going to have to keep buying them. Make sure you get measured up properly because by the time you’re pushing nine month pregnant and waddling like a duck (yes you will,) your back will hurt badly and your boobs will need all the support they need, to not drape on the floor.

Yes, a lot of births run exactly to plan, exactly how it says they will in the book. But, more than most need some kind of medical intervention. Whether this is a simple, yet horrifically uncomfortable ‘sweep’ to make your waters break, or forceps to help deliver your baby. It is a good idea to read up on these situations, not to scare your self, but to be aware and prepared of what might need to be done.

Poop, yes, you will poop in front of everyone in your hospital room. You won’t be embarrassed though at the time, your mind will be else where, but be prepared to loose all your dignity and swear at people like you’ve never sworn before. That baby is coming and nothing, I repeat nothing, is going to stop it!

So, you gave birth twenty four hours ago, your body aches like you’ve been run over, your lady parts are so sore and swollen that going for a wee stings like (insert appropriate swear word) and now you need to go for a poop. Believe me when I say, it totally feels like your lady bits are going to explode, it’s almost like giving birth all over again.

Your boobs are full of milk and I suggest you invest in some breast pads as your boobs will leak milk and highly likely when you’re out shopping. The lactation process will start whenever you are in earshot of a baby crying – the possibilities for leaky boobs are endless i’m afraid.

To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? Perhaps you feel pressurised to do so because your mum breastfed you, or the midwives are pushing you. Remember, it may not be right for you and if it’s not, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, there is nothing wrong with formula milk. Yes, ideally breastfeeding for the first few days is good, as all your anti bodies will be passed on to your baby and protect it, but after this there is no real added benefit. With my first, my son was an agressive feeder and would draw blood (ouch,) so he would drink more blood than milk – I stopped breast feeding him after four days. With my daughter, it just seemed like she wasn’t getting enough and was hungry all the time – I fed her formula an hour after arriving home from the hospital. My children are no worse for wear for having been bottle fed.

I was given some fantastic advice when my first child was born, (yes I have two, the first one didn’t put me off,) this advice won’t even sound like advice and is so simple it’s unreal. Here we go, the baby will stop crying. I know, sounds daft, but when you’ve had what feels like hour, after hour with a crying baby and nothing seems to make he/she stop, remembering that it will stop crying keeps you going – trust me.

Chance are, you will get postnatal depression, get help, please. Not only are you very, very tired, sore as hell, your hormones are going crazy and your life has been thrown upside down and inside out – you’re not going to be thinking straight. It is nothing to be ashamed of either. Sitting there crying because you feel all alone and so incredibly helpless, is only going to make yourself feel worse, it won’t help anyone.

And then when you think the worst bits have all past, you’re not pregnant anymore, you’ve given birth and everything at home is starting to settle in to a nice routine, your six weekly check will come up and you’ll have to have a lovely internal exam to make sure everything is getting back into the right place. Yes it’s unpleasant and humiliating but it’s a necessary hell.

I wish I had known all this before my first pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, it wouldn’t have put me off and I wouldn’t change a thing – all the good bits about being pregnant and having a baby, totally outweigh the bad bits.

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