I have now successfully raised a child for nearly nine months. Some may say that's not long at all, but from my role as Executive Female Parent of the House, I say: "You're fired, get out and give me the car park pass back!" Even if you have been a parent for four hours, you should be proud because that's four hours more than you had done before.
When you are pregnant, there is a lot for you to take in. A lot. Whether that comes in book form, people form, hospital-handout form, doctor form or internet form, there is a lot out there to squish into your already overloaded brain. So when I think about how I felt way back when those little lines showed up and how I feel now, it's very different. I've learnt a lot, I've made a load of mistakes, I've had some serious mum wins and continue to learn more every day.
I always think about if I could go back in time, what I would tell myself. It would probably be this...
1. If you think you aren't going to get morning sickness because you have felt great for the first four weeks... you're silly.
Say it with me: "Hyperemesis Gravidarum". No that's not a spell from 'Harry Potter', it's a damn curse to anyone that suffers it. Basically it means your body hates the fact you're pregnant and will make you suffer for weeks with serious vomiting and self-pity. So, Amy, you are going to get this, and it will be f**king hard, but it means your baby is growing, your baby is strong and this will all end. Get a bucket, vomit in it if you have to and solider on. It will end, even when you feel like it won't. I promise.
2. Everyone has an opinion.
Literally everyone. The best part about it... they don't even wait for you to ask for it. People will tell you what you need to do, how you need to be, what you need to use, how to push your baby out, who not to listen you, who is right (them) and who is wrong (that's you) and most of all, people will tell you all the horrible things that can go wrong, how horrible you will feel, how hard it is being a parent, how your life is over, the 4500 different ways you can kill your baby and most of all... how you're wrong.
Do not listen to anyone but yourself.
You have got this. You have that little baby growing inside you and the only two people who know what needs to be done are her Mummy and her Daddy. Ignore the negative, don't let it in that little brain of yours. Go with what feels right, go with what works for you and forget the rest. Oh and also, you know those books you want to read... yeah you won't remember a single thing they said in a few months so don't worry about it.
3. Forget a plan...
The best plan is no plan. You will have a crazy labour, I hate to tell you. But the best thing is that you will totally embrace it and just know that your baby is going to get out of you, one way or another. The only thing you need to do is relax, be open to what may happen and don't lock yourself into something that may not happen because it will only cause stress if it doesn't go your way. At the end of the day, your baby needs to come out and needs to be healthy. As do you... so relax and go with the flow. Trust me... you'll thank me later.
4. Sometimes you'll feel s**t and think you're the worst Mum in the world.
There will be times when you think you have broken your child, that you literally are the worst parent in the world and nothing you do is right. Everything will be too hard, too much and you won't be able to see a way out of it. But you are not alone and you are definitely not a bad mum. You just care a lot and you're overwhelmed and you need a good cry. So feel shit if you feel shit, cry a lot if you need to, yell and throw pillows across the room (away from that lamp!). Soon this will pass and you will face new problems, but you'll beat those ones too.
5. I know you said you'll never let them listen to 'The Wiggles'...
But you will... and every one of those damn songs will get stuck in your head. You will have your favourites and you will book tickets to their show... and you'll be excited. It's okay... it'll be our little secret...
6. Your partner is not your enemy.
If you want to really test your relationship, have a baby. Forget moving in together and travelling, this one is a really corker. Late nights, early mornings, irrational small people screaming at you both for god only knows what reason.
Life gets tough and unfortunately you will turn on each other. But just remember you are both new parents, it's overwhelming for both of you, it's scary as hell for both of you, your lives have changed forever and it'll be so much easier if you stick together and be a team. Yeah he might not notice a dirty nappy, or stay sleeping when the baby is crying, but you will as well. Everyone stuffs up, and it's not worth making an enemy out of each other.
7. It's all worth it.
Having a newborn is really hard. The labour, the late nights, the teething and the not understanding who your baby is and what they want from you.
But it's so worth it.
The bad days are forgotten and you will remember those good days and they will make your heart melt like ice cream in summer. The first smile, the first roll, the cuddles, the quiet moments when it's just the two of you, the family excursions, the first time they eat solids, the first time they say "Mum"... it makes it all worth it. Ignore the people that tell you your life is over, don't listen when people tell you not to have kids. Do your thing, breathe through the tough days and know it's not forever, because it really is the best job in the world.
I feel if I had known all this information when I was pregnant, life would have been less overwhelming.
One of the biggest lessons I learnt while I was pregnant was to be positive. Do you know how refreshing it was to hear from another parent "Being a Mum/Dad is amazing", "You will absolutely love this new journey", "Babies are literally the best thing that's ever happened to me"?.
I remember a lady came over to me one day, a complete stranger who I didn't know from a bar of soap and all she said was: "You are going to have the best time." Isn't that the nicest thing? So whenever I talk to someone who is about to enter 'Parentworld', I say nothing but positive things, nothing negative, only happy thoughts, or at least an optimistic view of their new reality.
So if you take anything from this post, let it be this... if you are a new Mum, everything will be amazing and sometimes hard, but so worth it. If you already a Mum, make sure to spread some positivity to the new ones, you'll both appreciate the better outlook on life.