First time mum. I’m SO excited for you! It’s such a magical phase – whoever you are and whatever your path in life!
Huge CONGRATULATIONS to you and Wills on the birth of your SON!
My children just asked me whether your baby boy will enjoy playing Princes and Princess’s like they do, and I like where their heads are at! It’s an interesting question. I suppose it’s a bit like Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy pretending to be an international superstar! If it’s the norm at home, does it lose some of the magic?
Anyway – I digress….
This new parenthood game is an amazing one. Trust me – you’re gonna LOVE it!
Exhausting yes, but rewarding beyond your wildest dreams! I’ve been there – twice!
So just for you (and all other newbies) here’s my lowdown from the other side:
- You will be TIRED!
That’s T-I-R-E-D! And I mean tired like you’ve never known. EVER! Tired, tiredy, tired! With bells on! When my daughter arrived I felt cheated that none of my mates had warned me – like they’d tricked me into becoming a fully signed up member of the Knackered Possy! That said, even if they had warned me, I wouldn’t have “got it”. This is a whole new level of tired baby!
Tired BC (before childbirth) = a few big nights out in a row
Nothing a fried breakfast and a large coffee can’t cure!
Tired AD (after delivery) = nothing else you’ve ever known!
It’s being woken up several times a night – for months on end. Sometimes it feels like you haven’t even been to sleep when you’re up for that next feed. You walk around in a slightly deranged state and I guarantee at some point you’ll wake in a panic and search the duvet for your baby, only to find them sleeping soundly in their moses basket next to you. It happens! My man once found me scratching at the bedroom wall on a midnight loo run, convinced that’s where the bathroom door was – such was my level of delirium! So, on that topic, do yourself a favour and ……
- Sleep when THEY sleep!
No arguments – just DO IT! You feel like there are a million things to achieve when your baby naps, but the best thing you can achieve is REST! It’s not an indulgence, it’s a necessity! You truly won’t have the energy reserves to cope if you don’t prioritise yourself.
You’ll get overwhelmed – and fast. And nobody wants that! So get that eye mask on and catch those zzzzzzz’s! Also…..
You give birth to a baby – and cue the bizarre dreams! A whole new level of responsibility brings with it a whole new world of possibility for nightmares! You have been warned!
- You will STILL have a belly!
I remember having my first and treating myself to that post-childbirth shower. I felt all light, lythe and gorgeous as the water hit my exhausted body .. and then I looked down. WHOAH! I was SO not ready for THAT! It looked like someone had double-sided-sticky-taped (see what I did there!) a wrinkled leather bag onto my front! I don’t know where I thought the baby belly would go but I DID think it would “just go”! Hmm.. not so much! All that stretched skin just concertinas down to become a mass of wrinkled skin on fat. It can even hang down so you can pick it up! Nice! Be ready for it – it’s a bit of a shocker – even if, like you dear Kate, you DID look smaller at 9 months pregnant than I did at 3!
But then again, I did put on 5 stone with each pregnancy. Yeah. Ya heard!
Here’s how I still looked TWO MONTHS after giving birth!!! So don’t be hard on yourself!
On the subject of belly….and I know Kate there’s no way you’ll listen to this one but, for what it’s worth,
- Don’t sweat the weight gain!
Why are we all so obsessed with “losing the baby-weight” – like it’s some terrible cross we bear, shameful that it hasn’t fallen off and you haven’t pinged back into your Donna Ida skinnies by Day 2! WHAT? How ridiculous! When you have a new baby there are WAY bigger priorities than your increased waistline. Don’t waste a precious moment of that new life worrying. Live in the moment and celebrate your new body for the fact that it’s just CREATED A HUMAN! HELLO!
Now when I see new mums who HAVE “pinged back” I actually feel sad for them, that they focussed on the wrong things in those early weeks. As a midwife once said to me
“9 months to go on, 9 months to come off”!
- Enjoy the BABYMOON!
The first few weeks are the most AMAZING time for you as a THREE. So make sure you take the time to enjoy it! In some countries, new mums literally take to their beds for that “fourth trimester” and get waited on hand and foot. So don’t try and do too much, and don’t feel the pressure to call all your mates. In your case Kate, I’m pretty sure your mates may already know about your little man!j Just a crazy hunch of mine!
When we had Kaya we put a message on all of our answer-phones saying:
“Hi – thanks so much for calling. Kaya Sky Farley was born on 17th July weighing 9 pounds 6 ounces. Thanks for all your messages! We’re enjoying the Babymoon for a few weeks, but we’ll be in touch as soon as we come up for air”!
Which leads neatly onto…..
Your OH (hey Wills – that’s YOU!) needs to be the Gatekeeper and keep visitors to a minimum. Visitors should only stay a maximum of 30 minutes. Trust me! Otherwise you get way overtired. And while we’re at it – nobody is judging the state of your house (nice re-vamp by the way!), or whether you’ve lost the baby weight, or how amazing your hosting skills are! I remember getting totally stressed out – like I was having to be Superwoman AND Supermum.
If visitors come, they can make their own tea and one for you while they’re at it – even if they ARE the Queen of England!
- Breast is Best!
Yup – we all know it and however great your plans for breastfeeding right now, it is TOUGH! So be sure to get lots of help with those first few latches and make sure you’re drinking and eating enough to get that milk flowing! Oh – and do yourself a favour – if you have guests, go in another room to feed so you can concentrate on the job in hand and not worry about mates seeing your boobs. My latches were always terrible when people were there as I rushed it to get my boobs hidden!
“The art of feeling better about thyself by proving thou art a Mother Superior – Literally’! Shockingly, this starts immediately, so be ready for it! Yup, I’m talking who has the best changing bag (I’m sure you’ll win, hands down!), who’s baby sleeps through first, who’s baby is a rocket scientist by 3 weeks! It’s competitive! And pointless. So don’t rise to it!
- You will feel like you know NOTHING!
I remember the nurse leaving my side in hospital after giving birth, having latched me on for my first breastfeeding experience, and with outstretched arms like a pre-schooler being left for the first time I called out in the smallest, most panicky voice I’d ever heard “Oh no…. but where are you going” as she headed off into the sunset!
But the best person for your baby is YOU! Trust your instincts. To a degree there’s no right or wrong way of doing things – just your way! I know you’re heading to your mums (happy days!) so I hope you get the privacy you deserve to be able to fully enjoy your Babymoon. And take all the help you can!
The baby phase is like the craziest ride. For me it was tougher than I ever imagined, but boy was it magical. And it goes SO fast! My eldest is about to turn 7. How did THAT happen?!
One final thought “When a Baby is Born, so is a Parent”!
So don’t sweat it! ENJOY!
And parent YOUR way! To a degree, there’s no right or wrong way of doing things and it may feel as if the world is watching but just do what’s best for YOU and YOUR baby! The muddling through is half the fun!
Do thank Wills for saying I’m his fave Blue Peter Presenter of all time! That was kind! You two happen to be my fave Royal couple too! #justsayin
And if you need a cuppa, I live just down the road from your mum!
Love and Hugs