5 things you don’t expect when you’re expecting a baby

We asked Rebecca Maberly from Doctor and Daughter antenatal classes to list the five things that surprise her pregnant clients the most…

1. Pregnancy is not always a breeze

You may have been fantasising about how it will feel to be pregnant, with the miracle of new life growing inside you: glowing skin, boundless energy, neat little bump… an enthusiastic partner who will support you in your nine months of sobriety and rub your tired feet every evening.

Sod that. The reality is very different.

Many women quickly discover how inaccurate the term “morning sickness” can be. Some spend months rather than weeks retching and feeling hideous, throwing up into plastic bags at 7pm on the Northern Line. And as the sickness subsides, other little issues can rear their ugly heads.

You will want to punch the ten people a day who touch your bump and try and predict the gender of the baby.

Constipation, haemorrhoids, indigestion, spots, skin tags, swollen ankles, aching hips, pins and needles and sleepless nights are some of the most common complaints. Most of these are fairly benign, but can take their toll especially if you are working hard and don’t have quite enough time to take it easy.

The good news is that most of these irks will disappear as soon as the baby is born, but in the meantime most are treatable with over the counter preparations.  There is more information on this here 

2. You will be bombarded with advice

From the moment you announce your pregnancy (which will no doubt be greeted with exclamations of “we knew you were!!) you will have to deal with well meaning friends and relations wanting to impart their very best advice.

By the time you are six months pregnant friends will start recounting horror birth stories: in labour for three days, forceps, caesarean … blah blah blah. Block your ears!

You will want to punch the ten people a day who touch your bump and try and predict the gender of the baby. You will want to slap the stranger in Sainsburys or your weird office colleague who just touches your bump without asking.

The best advice and support is probably going to come from your Antenatal Class Whatsapp group.

And that is just the start of it…when baby arrives, the streams of unwanted advice will multiply. Your own mother will start to drive you crazy with her tuts of disapproval as you pick up your own crying baby: “you’re making a rod for your own back”…

And when your Uncle Bob who hasn’t seen a new born baby since 1979 starts offering child-rearing advice you will consider banning all visitors completely!

Stay calm and remember that just about all women (apart from those who also have a newborn) develop a false memory syndrome when it comes to babies. Seriously….women with a baby even just two months older than yours cannot remember anything about that episode of their baby’s life.

The best advice and support is probably going to come from your Antenatal Class Whatsapp group. Share stories and tips on feeding and sleeping with a fellow knackered mum, rather than a smug mum who is well past the baby stage.

3. Pregnancy is just the foreplay

The real deal starts when the baby arrives. Nothing can really prepare you properly for it. For now you’re fixated on the birth but very soon you’ll be changing nappies, topping and tailing, breastfeeding and bathing your baby.

This is why it is vital for you to appreciate what will happen to your body and emotions after the baby has been born. Knowing what to look out for and what is normal is really important so that you can seek help quickly if you should need it.

For advice on postnatal issues please see here 

4. It is all so expensive!

You hear people saying that babies are not expensive – they don’t need much apart from a blanket and their mother’s love.

Most mail order companies do next day delivery, so you are never more than 24 hours away from the gadget you need.

Well how come most of us end up dropping more than the price of our first cars on a buggy?

From maternity clothes to new bras and big pants, from antenatal classes to yoga classes, from special pregnancy pillows to exercise balls, from moses baskets to cots, from bouncers to slings, from sterilisers to breastpumps…it’s a seriously expensive business having children.

But, if you are smart and happy to shop around, borrow and buy second hand you can do it all at a fraction of the cost! There is no shame in a second hand buggy/sling/bouncer and don’t turn your nose up at anything you’re offered by friends… .babies only get more expensive as they get older.

Buy the bare minimum to start with and get the rest as you go along. Most mail order companies do next day delivery, so you are never more than 24 hours away from the gadget you need.

We have spoken to hundreds of women and have compiled a great list of What to Buy and What Not to Buy 

If funds are tight right now, we also offer a scheme that allows couples to attend our classes free of charge or for a discount

5. You might not bond with your baby immediately

The week after I had my first son, I will never forget my best friend asking me “Are you just madly in love with him? Is it an amazing feeling?”.

I paused..and then said “errr…no not really, I mean..I do love him …but its not like I imagined” I then put down the phone and cried like only a post-natal woman can.

He sucks on your nipples until they are cracked and falling off, and still he is not happy. Still he cries and refuses to sleep.

Think about it..a stranger you have never met before comes to live with you. He does not do very much except cry most of the day and night and refuse to sleep.

He sucks on your nipples until they are cracked and falling off, and still he is not happy. Still he cries and refuses to sleep.

He looks very cute in his little babygro and you know he is your son and you definitely love him, but he doesn’t even look at you properly and in your sleep-deprived haze you’re wondering if you really signed up for all this.

Its is ok not to bond with your baby immediately.

Don’t worry, you are not alone. Its is ok not to bond with your baby immediately. For some mothers it takes days, weeks or even months until they felt that deep love for their child. There is no shame in this – its good to be honest and to share feelings like this so that new mothers don’t beat themselves up about not feeling how they think they should!

A difficult birth or difficulty with feeding can exacerbate issues with bonding sometimes, so it can useful to get help with feeding or support with any issues surrounding the birth.

If any feelings of sadness persist or you think you may be suffering from Post Natal Depression, it is important that you seek help.

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