I’ve learned a lot since my son was born in August last year. Bringing him home was the most overwhelming time. Everything was so new and there was the constant fear that I was doing something wrong. It’s a total cliche but it’s also totally true: nothing can compare you for taking care of a baby for the first time. If I could talk to the brand new mum version of myself, here is what I would say:
Babies can get erections. Yes, this is a thing. You will be very surprised the first time you undo his nappy and a small boner pops out. You will exclaim “oh goodness!”.
Parenting forums are the worst, the WORST places to go for any kind of support or advice. Mum’s (and the occasional Dad who jumps on) can be judgey fucks. The more horrifying realisation is that you can be a judgey fuck sometimes too.
Co-sleeping is ok. You won’t kill your baby. You will get a good night’s sleep and all involved will be better for it. For god’s sake just bring the baby into bed. Once you do you will wish you had done it a month ago. Added co-sleeping bonus: the baby will want to sleep in his own bed after a few months and it will make you feel sad.
Your husband will often sleep through the baby crying. This is not his fault, he is a heavy sleeper and he will wake up if you kick him. There will be moments when you resent his sleeping form more than anything. You will feel better in the morning. Stop lying there ruminating over the fact that he is asleep and go to sleep.
Sometimes you will laugh in your babies face when he is crying because it is hilarious. You will then feel guilty. Don’t. It’s still hilarious sometimes.
You will feel illogical, inexplicable rage when your baby won’t go to sleep. Sometimes you will visualise throwing the baby into his cot, walking out and slamming the door behind you. You do not act on these thoughts. Having these thoughts does not make you a bad mother. You are a normal person who is sleep deprived and just wants to drink a hot cup of tea, dammit.
99% of the words you say to your baby will be “don’t put that in your mouth”.
One time your breasts will begin gushing milk when you’re having sex and you will feel super awkward and embarrassed. Your husband will be lovely about it and next time you’ll just leave your bra on.
There are long stretches between sex. You thought it would be different for you than other parents, but it’s not. Mainly it’s because you are bone tired and after having a baby cuddling you, pulling your hair, and sucking on your boobs all day you don’t want anyone else to touch you. Your husband will be lovely about it.
Breastfeeding will come naturally to you and the baby. I hesitate to include this because I know that this is not the case for many women and I’m not trying to be braggy about it. But you spent a lot of time before giving birth feeling anxious about being able to feed the baby. Luckily he takes to it very well. The problem is now keeping him off of it.
You will end up with an emergency caesarean, and you will both survive. I know it is your greatest fear and you have done everything within your power to avoid it, but it is okay. You are not a failure. Your body hasn’t failed you. You haven’t failed your son. By the time it comes to having the surgery you are exhausted and spent and you have fought so hard and you desperately want to meet him. His first cry is the most beautiful thing you will ever hear. You will heal. It will take time, but you will heal.
PS. Sultana’s come out whole. ‘Nuff said.