Every baby is different and every woman will experience motherhood in her own way, but there’s one thing that never changes. You will be inundated, flooded, besieged with advice on the best way to raise your child – you can count on it.
While most advice is no doubt well meaning, some can lead to nothing but confusion and stress. So in the spirit of cutting through the mixed messages, please find below my tips to surviving those first few weeks at home.
Google is not your friend. Especially not at 3am.
I think in one torturous breastfeeding session I discovered I might have elbow cancer and that we’d never be able to go to the beach again as my precious baby had a one-in-3.7 million chance of being eaten by a shark.
Your mum/in-laws/aunties/etcetera can be your best friend… or your worst enemy. Many a mum has been reduced to tears after someone ‘helpfully’ told them exactly what they should be doing. My advice? Nod politely and then back yourself in. It’s your child and you’ll learn together.
Contrary to those glossy magazines you’ve been reading while waiting in the doctor’s office, you will not be ready to walk down a Victoria Secret runway after six weeks, so give yourself a break. Your body has just done something pretty amazing. Forgive its lumps, bumps and repeat after me: Miranda Kerr is a freak!
You will make no sense a lot of the time. And while I’m on it, you will do things that make you think you should book into a neurologist. Case in point?
I tried to heat up a wheat bag in my freezer. For 20 minutes.
Remember those moments in labour where you have never felt so close to your partner? The teamwork, the love, the achievement … I guarantee you’ll be fighting within weeks of getting home with your newborn.
The lack of sleep, stress and a crying baby soon has you arguing over the really important things, like how loudly he eats his Cornflakes or the relative merits of The Real Housewives of New York as an educational documentary.
You will have more than one fit of the giggles when you realise that you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.
Just last week Miss Five had fallen off the stool (and was crying), Mr Three couldn’t get a fairy dress on Spiderman (and was crying) and baby was hot/cold/hungry/tired/gassy – we couldn’t work out which – and was crying. This is the moment you look around at your life and completely (and sometimes literally) pee yourself laughing.
“Oh my good lord … I think he/she is dying/has a terminal disease/must be rushed to hospital STAT!” Don’t stress. These worries are perfectly normal. I may have been on a first name basis with the Parent Helpline people.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had one child or enough to rival the Octomom, you will still ask repeatedly: Is this normal?
You will never, ever leave the house with just your phone and wallet again.
Instead, you will be loaded down with enough accessories to rival a Kardashian and you can be guaranteed two things. Firstly, the one time you forget the spare jumpsuit you will suffer a poo tsunami.
Secondly, it will grate on your nerves when your husband repeatedly asks “Honey, did we bring the such-and-such?” or “Honey, did we bring the thing-a-me?” What’s this ‘we’ business? There’s a reason he’s sitting in the car and beeping the horn. It’s because you’re the one who’s packing while he sips on his iced coffee and listens to the footy.
You know how the doc comes in for the last debrief and runs you through the importance of contraception, as you can resume your bedroom activities after about six weeks? Try to make sure hubby is in the coffee shop for that one then lie and tell him it’s a three-month hiatus.