What they don’t tell you about being a new Mum
Oh, you’ve just had a baby - congratulations, from now on we promise that everything will be sunshine and rainbows!
While birth is amazing and meeting your new little baby will be perhaps one of the most special times of your life, people often neglect to tell you the shit parts about being a new Mum. And because we believe in full transparency, we’re going to give it to you straight.
1. You might still look pregnant after birth.
Thought you’d get your pre-pregnancy stomach back straight after birth? Sorry to break it to you but this is unlikely to happen.
The reason you may still look pregnant after giving birth is due to the size of your uterus. As soon as your bub is born, hormones will cause your uterus to contract, and it will begin to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy state. This process can take 6 to 8 weeks or even longer, depending on your body.
Think of your belly like a balloon during pregnancy. As the baby grows, the balloon inside your abdomen is slowly inflating, and when you give birth, the balloon doesn’t pop - but instead initiates a slow leak. It’s the same as the old saying, “slow and steady wins the race!”
2. You will be really, really sore.
Whether you have a vaginal or caesarean birth, we can promise that something is gonna hurt. Caesarean deliveries are major surgery to the abdomen and uterus, so there will be some pain and discomfort for a couple of weeks. Check out our post here on everything you need to know about caesarean aftercare.
If you had an episiotomy or any tearing during a vaginal birth, there will be some pain, especially after pain relief wears off. And let’s not forget that you literally just pushed a human out of your vagina!
Here’s a fun fact for you: did you know that your placenta has a diameter of approximately 22cm?
When a baby is born, Mums are urged to take it easy for at least 4 to 6 weeks and for a good reason. After the placenta leaves the body, a wound remains on the inside of the uterus where the placenta was once attached. This wound takes at least 4 to 6 weeks to heal. During this healing process, women are still susceptible to infection and haemorrhaging. Haemorrhaging can still occur even after a complication-free birth. So, no wonder why you’ll feel a little sore. Oh yeah and if you’re breastfeeding your boobs are going to hurt as well - sorry, but we’re just being honest!
3. You’re going to be tired AF.
Unfortunately for parents, new babies don’t operate on the same sleep cycle like us, so there is going to be a point in time where you are likely to feel totally and utterly sleep deprived. Below is an example of what 24-hours might look like with your bub. You can see that you are likely to be awake at least three times between midnight and 7am - especially if you are breastfeeding.
The thing is, every bub’s sleeping pattern is going to be different, so no advice parents get about newborn sleep is going to be perfect - which sucks. The best advice we can give is to get a chance to nap whenever you can. If that means leaving the washing until tomorrow, do it. If that means cancelling a coffee date with your friend because you’re exhausted, do it. Every person who has a newborn has been there, so we get it.
4. Breastfeeding is really tough.
Breastfeeding is not an easy task, and sometimes it will take you time before you and your bub learn what to do. And it’s important to remember that physical complications, with either yourself or your baby, may make this process difficult or even impossible. This may mean you can’t breastfeed your bub and that is okay - because at the end of the day informed is best.
A lot of women who have difficulties breastfeeding in the beginning persist through the challenges and after a couple of days or even weeks can get their bub on their boob without a worry. However, this persistent behaviour can also negatively impact some women’s mental and emotional well-being. These negative feelings can contribute to postnatal anxiety or depression. These feelings include:
Feeling like breastfeeding is too demanding of yourself physically or emotionally
That it takes too long or is wasting time
That it’s causing stress, discomfort or pain to both yourself and bub
That it’s prompting feelings of failure or inadequacy
That it triggers anxiety about the baby being dependant on her
It’s important to remember that you should never feel ashamed about your inability to breastfeed because there are often multiple factors contributing to why you are unable to breastfeed that are totally out of your control. You can also opt to not breastfeed at all when your bub is born. Some women who have had negative experiences with previous births to do this and some just simply choose not to, and that’s 100% okay.
Remember, INFORMED IS BEST!
5. You’re going to get a lot of unsolicited advice from everyone.
While we really wish this didn’t happen, unfortunately, it will likely happen to you. People love to share their experience and their tips, and while most of the time this is great, it’s often not relatable or helpful to you.
Sometimes, this advice can come across as pressure and make you feel guilty for not doing things a certain way. So, it’s essential to take on that which only benefits you and bub.
On a recent Facebook post, one of our lovely followers put it like this about taking advice from other people: “As to the advice, take on board what relates to your situation otherwise your common sense, which you are loaded with, will prevail. You will be a great Mum.” And we honestly couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Overall, you need to remember that welcoming life into the world is truly a miracle and while you may feel some of these shit feelings every now and then, most of the time you’re going to feel nothing but pure joy and love.
This is only a little insight into what to expect as a new parent, but our Bump, Birth and Beyond course prepares you for everything and anything you need to know about becoming a Mum or Dad! We would love to have you at one of our courses, and to say thanks for reading our blog post - we’re offering you 10% off! Simply use the code MAMA10 at the checkout - oh, and your support person can come along for free.