I just found out that one of my best friends is pregnant.
This will be her first baby so I offered her some advice (like the seasoned veteran I now think I am).
And this is what I told her … “eat out as much as you can and sleep a lot. REALLY … A LOT. And appreciate the fact you still can”.
Crap advice, huh? What a cliche I’ve become. I’m not sure it’s even possible. It is really hard to appreciate things like sleep and freedom until they’re gone.
I think what I was really saying was: “geez, I’m tired … does anyone else feel like Thai food? Oh that’s right … I can’t sleep or go out at nights … wish I was you right now”.
So, I felt like a failure … why didn’t I have any useful advice? Surely after having kids of my own – not to mention the fact I am the editor at a pretty well-known PREGNANCY and PARENTING website – I’d have something of use to offer.
So in an effort to save my bruised ego I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’ve written this post for my friend.
5 things no one else will tell you about pregnancy and parenting
1. “Find yourself a few seasons of a great TV to watch”
I know right? Everyone else is saying you won’t have time to shower or look in the mirror and here I am saying you can watch a few seasons of 30 Rock. So who is right? All of us! You WON’T have time to shower because you’ll be stuck in a chair feeding a newborn for anywhere between 6-12 hours a day! So use that time wisely … it is precious as you’ll only be able to do this with your firstborn. Once your second baby comes along you’ll spend that time watching your toddler crack eggs in the loungeroom and climb on the TV cabinet.
2. “Rusks taste good.”
They’re kind of like the shorter fatter cousins of the breadsticks on the table at Italian restaurants.
3. “Always take off the baby’s socks before you change a pooey nappy.”
I don’t think I need to paint a picture here. Just take my word for it. Oh, and also … never bend over in front of the changetable. Best-case scenario here is a kick in the head.
4. “Check yourself.”
You’ll be so tired that you’ll probably – at least once – forget to put your boob away after a feed. Just don’t answer the door like that.
5. “Don’t forget these numbers (for emergencies)”
… Channel 22 on free to air and 134 on pay.
I also want to get in early with this list too:
3 things everyone will tell you, but you will ignore …
… but you really shouldn’t ignore
1. “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
Uh-huh. Right after I wash the poop out of these pants, wash up, put a load of washing on, shower, eat some ice-cream … Wait … The baby’s awake? Damn!!! I get it. But try to do it at least once in a while.
2. “Cook and freeze!”
I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy cleaning windows because everyone knows babies hate dirty windows right? I wish I had cooked and frozen some meals so I had one less to worry about in those early weeks.
3. “Let me know if you need anything?”
People will ask you this and they’ll really mean it. Don’t feel like you’re imposing if you ask for help when you’ve got a new baby. If you’ve got friends coming over to see the baby – ask them if they can pick up some milk for you. If someone offers to cook you dinner or fold your washing, let them!
Oh just thought of another list:
Things everyone will tell you and you should ignore …
… even though it will be hard
1. “My baby slept through from five weeks until forever.”
High expectations will be your worst enemy. It is best to assume your children will never ever sleep – then when they do you’ll be ecstatic.
2. “‘My daughter/sister-in-law/great-aunt’s neighbor’s cat had a 240 hour labour/nearly died/squeezed out a 18 pound baby and had 16 stitches/no drugs …”
Everyone wants to tell you their horror story. I found the best way to handle this rudeness is to put your fingers in your ears and say “la la la … Not listening” but there are a few ways to help deal with unwanted comments in pregnancy.
3. “You won’t be able to do it without drugs … Your hips are too small … Your baby is going to be huge”
Unless the person saying this is your midwife or OB then their learned opinion means squat. Believe in yourself and believe in your body. Do want ever you want to do.