What your best friend *might* tell you about pregnancy and new babies
As you may recall, I had quite a gap between J and S – 10 years in fact – so when I was pregnant with S, I decided to buy some pregnancy books and magazines. Well, to be fair, I bought just about every magazine on the shelf as often as they were published, along with two or three chunky looking books at WH Smith which I was sure would see me through every question I had. Come on, I had forgotten an awful lot.
However, my first port of call was to re-read the pregnancy diary I kept for J. I say ‘pregnancy diary’ but it actually went to birth and beyond. Boy, things had changed and so had current thinking – weaning her at 12 weeks would be totally frowned upon now, dummies you could put honey in, whatever next?!
I attended NCT classes with J and also with S. In hindsight, the classes with S were a mistake because I went to the ‘2nd time or more pregnancy’ offering from them and most people had children 18 months to 2 years apart, not 10 years like me. I really could have done with a 1st time mummies class again – thank heaven for my local doctors NHS run one as I made some great friends and it was nice to revisit some areas.
However, there are some things about pregnancy and having a newborn baby that the books don’t really get across to you. This is where a friend with young children comes in or, indeed, a friend with a great memory. If you are lacking either of things “The Best Friends Guide to Pregnancy” by Vicki Iovine is crucial reading (trust me, even though it’s American, it will tell it how it is). I have never laughed so much or nodded so furiously reading a book like it.
In case you don’t want to buy it, here are a few things you need to know about the adventure you are on and what awaits you. Be prepared (as the Scouts say).
1. Your body will do horrible things to you when you are pregnant. It will fail to respond in the way you want or expect it to. Wind will come at inopportune (when is there a good time though?) moments, piles will form, bits of you will stretch in strange ways and your bladder may well have a mind of its own.
2. Your boobs definitely get bigger and for a short period of time, this is a fantastic thing to be proud of. Unfortunately, this euphoria is short lived as your bottom will suddenly begin to grow at an equal pace. Come on, it’s just Mother Nature’s way of helping us not to fall on our faces every few steps. Shame though...
3. For many women, morning sickness is an pain in the butt (if you’ve not already got the piles there of course). Who called it ‘morning’ sickness? For heavens sake, I felt sick all day and when I wasn’t feeling sick I was thinking about when I would next feel sick. This did not go away at 12 or 20 weeks, it continued for much of my pregnancy.
4. You will cry at anything even remotely weepy. For goodness sake do not watch any commercials featuring children/animals/beautiful sunsets.
5. No, your fella will not bash babies head when you are having sex. I don’t care if his name is King Dong. However, sex really could be the furthest thing from your mind or that of your fella. There is a tendancy to feel like there is a third person involved here which can be somewhat off putting.
6. Yes you will want things NOW! and there will be no logical reason as to why you break down in tears shouting that nobody loves you if you don’t get those things. It’s hormones baby, it won’t last long, honest. However, it is worth making sure your fella always has cash at hand, knows the nearest 24/7 shop and has the car/motorbike/aircraft full of fuel just in case one of those whims hits you.
After the pregnancy comes the birth. A few things you need to know about birth and afterwards, not necessarily in order!
1. Birth is messy. Fact.
2. Babies go through the most mind blowing amount of babygrows/vests/nappies. My husband could not believe that I had taken a five vests and babygrows into hospital with me and when he left at 2am (we had to stay in overnight with S to check her breathing), S was in a lovely new one I’d put on her. When he called in the morning to say he’d be in at 9am, I asked could he bring another half a dozen – yep, she’d gone through the lot (mostly posset).
3. Sleep will become a stranger. Even if your baby is sleeping, you will not be. Most likely when they are sleeping, especially in the early days, you will be watching them sleep. If you are not watching them sleep, you will be running up and down stairs checking they are breathing and, occasionally, prodding them gently to check this fact until they wake up. Paranoia is part of parenthood, accept it and move on.
4. You will find your conversation turns quickly to number of poos/wees/sicks with almost anyone who will listen. This will show you who your real friends are!
5. The ability to eat a full roast dinner (if you ever have the time to cook one) single handed with a blunt fork will be your new party trick. You will also either eat at the speed of light or happily munch stone cold food. That is, if you get to eat as babies inevitably have a way of waking and demanding food or attention the second your plate gently touches down on the dining room table. I recommend a swing-seat. This gave me my first 5 minutes of peaceful dinner in about 3 months.
6. You will find that most of your clothes and those of your partner have strange little marks on them. The times hubby has arrived at work with what he thought was a clean jumper on –yes, he gave them a cuddle goodbye – only to find as he took off his motorcycle clothing, the familiar odour reached his nostrils and the small, crunchy patch on his shoulder/back became noticeable. Cover any part of you that baby will touch/lean upon with muslins. This is a law for all parents who are dressed for work.
7. Make sure you have a good washing machine and tumble dryer. Trust me, you will be washing like a Chinese laundry, 24/7. That or you will need a gold credit card and limitless access to baby clothing stores. I’d opt for the former.
There are so many more things but I think this would give any newly pregnant lady or mummy a good idea - and hopefully a good laugh.
What kind of things do you wish you had been told prior to getting pregnant or having your baby?