Sometimes I wish they made a post-pregnancy Emma’s Diary. Partly so that we can see how Emma’s perfect life has changed, transforming her from this beacon of pregnancy idylls to a leaking crying mess dealing with her screaming baby and absent husband (he didn’t seem very supportive in the magazine), but also to give us an idea of what we’re supposed to expect from our bodies, minds and lives once pregnancy is all over. Let’s face it, we don’t have a midwife to help us anymore. We’ve been shoved out of the postnatal ward and into the harsh, lonely world of childrearing. Our only guide along the way is an occasional visit to a health visitor, who plonks the baby on the scales, tells you off because they don’t weigh enough/weigh too much/their weight is too perfect, asks you what your plans are for feeding/weaning/sleeping, then tells you off because your plans are wrong, and sends you on your way again with confidence in tatters.
So if you find yourself lost in the wilderness of the early days of parenting, here’s a few more of my ‘What I wish they’d told me about life after pregnancy’ facts.
- Baby brain isn’t limited to pregnancy. You’ll find yourself making stupid mistakes and forgetting just about everything. If someone asks you your baby’s age, you’ll stare blankly at them for a bit before you can remember how long ago you popped them out.
- You’ll be lost without the routine of midwife appointments. Those appointments weren’t just my method of keeping track of how pregnant I was, they were my way of keeping track of the days, full stop.
- You can be prone to smugness when your baby sleeps through the night at eleven weeks, only to eat humble pie when the four month sleep regression hits and your baby has forgotten how to nap.
- Being away from your baby for even a short amount of time can cause an existential crisis. This is evidenced by the fact that after dropping SB off at the nursery for an hour-long settling in session today, within twenty minutes I was complaining that I didn’t feel like I was a parent any more.
- Your ex-bump may feel doughy and empty and gross for a few days after birth. Side effects of this include an uncontrollable urge to punch anyone who claims they ‘just snapped back’ in the face.
- Everyone knows how to parent your child. Except you. You’re just… y’know, the kid’s parents. If you have the audacity to suggest that you know what you’re doing, be prepared for everyone within a 20-mile radius to go into a fit of hysterics and call social services.
- You will get bored of explaining that your ‘handsome son’ is a girl, or your ‘beautiful daughter’ is a boy. No, dressing them exclusively in blue dungarees or pink dresses will not help. We should see it as progress, really, that people can see a baby in a pink pinafore dress and tights and think it’s a boy. It’s great… until it’s your baby.
- Just when you think you’ve figured out those post-birth periods… er, nope, sorry.
It’s about time Bounty make themselves useful. Forget a thimble of Sudocrem and a tonne of leaflets about savings accounts and newborn photographs, we need an honest post-pregnancy guide. Like, ‘hello, this is what your life is from now on, good luck have fun’. I don’t even care if it’s on the same level of undeserved smugness as good old Emma’s Diary – these are the things that new mums need to know!