There are a few things I wish I had known to prepare my husband and I for our new life under the rule of a chubby little egocentric dictator. This is not a North Korean relocation guide but 3 bits of unfounded advice I wish my pregnant self and my husband had known before embarking on our first year as a new parents.
“Preparing” for birth.
Don’t bother. Go to the NCT classes by all means but take them for what they are; a place to discuss the inner workings of the vagina with other mums to be and share toe curling stories of tears front to back while your “birth partner” AKA the person you have guilt tripped along to this bizarre weekly meeting sat next to you boring a hole in his right shoe wondering how many more role plays of deep breathing and back rubbing he has to do to be forgiven for not being the one that “actually has to give birth”.
Make a birth plan, if you must. Do whatever you need to do to feel in control, but be assured that nothing will go to plan. Best case scenario it will hurt like a bastard and then there will be a goo covered baby slapped on your chest ready for a first family selfie to be sent to proud dad’s entire social network for obligatory likes. Worst case scenario you will die and no amount of perineum oil and Haribo packed a month before your due date will help. I jest of course, but chances are if you are reading this blog as part of your birth preparation you don’t consider child birth mortality a serious risk.
Just do whatever will help you relax in a really, bloody stressful situation. The fact is, biologically speaking, like other bodily functions, and lets keep in mind that at the end of the day labour is just another natural bodily function, its much easier to do if you are relaxed.
You are on your own on this one, as nice and modern it is to say “We are expecting” it’s just not true, it’s all the woman. Realise it, get over it and during the contractions, breathe in for four and out for five. Repeat. This is the only sensible bit of advice I have to offer in the whole blog.
Living With A New Born
Its hard. You, the mother will go nuts, mainly at him, the father. Get some sleep it will all be fine.
In the first few weeks, mummies and daddies work together tirelessly around the clock to nurture the most perfect bundle of human DNA to ever be created then he sods off back to work. Going out to work, which used to be the unifying bane of both of your lives, now becomes a catalyst for major rows. Working dad makes a seemingly innocent remark as to whether mummy has washed his shirts seeing as she is in all day which fuels an irrational tirade of abuse from over tired mummy at the realisation that she married a sexist pig. Previous generation of women don’t help with this gender equality business. We went to a wedding recently where slightly inebriated new daddy bounded off into the distance with our bundle of joy and what I hoped was a crap filled nappy when my aunt marvelled at how lucky I was to have such a hands on husband. And that, dear Aunty, is why we call him Uncle Nob Head.
Admittedly men are a bit crap when it comes to saying the right thing to women, and that’s not new news but all of a sudden now there is a baby in the picture it becomes a major male failing. The problem is, and I don’t mean to be harsh on my sex because it is ridiculously hard being a new mum yada yada yada but we do go from this vulnerable, glowing, loving maiden to this rather quite frightening tutting, scowling she dragon who can’t be questioned on anything and whose every request should be pre-empted and god forbid you cough at night and wake the baby. Rather than being understanding at taking the time to explain we become martyrs to motherhood and shut him out. My main suggestion here is realise that being stuck at home is crap but so is being stuck in work, and as Micky Flanagan so eloquently put it, its probably because you didn’t really like your job that he started leaving it in in the first place.
Don’t forget to say its worth it!
There is a truth universally acknowledged by anyone raising the slightest hint of a moan or a joke about the trials and tribulations of having children that you must make sure you end with “But it’s all worth it” just in case there is a zealous health visitor or an 80s children’s BBC presenter lurking around the next corner waiting to teach you a lesson for tempting fate with your ungrateful attitude to parenthood. This rule doesn’t apply in other scenarios in life. Just because you slag off the geriatric driver hogging the middle lane for his rubbish lane discipline and crap car doesn’t mean you want him to career across the central reservation and no one expects you to follow that up with “Only joking, I love the elderly me”
But having a baby is worth all of the rows about sleep deprivation and faeces. I am not just saying that for fear of reprisals, in fact we like it so much we are getting another one in August. It is the most rewarding thing most of us will ever do, unless you are a Nelson Mandela in the making, then fair enough you will probably go on to do something spectacular and on behalf of the rest of us norms, thank you.
Laugh together at the ridiculousness of your situation, our one year old had us in fits last week because she ate her own poo, but ladies be careful not to laugh too much you might piss yourself, and no man wants to see that.