Things that no one tells a soon to be Mamma.
Please be aware that this is a NHB (No holding back) post which may contain TMI for some readers! 😂😂
If you read this and wish you hadn’t, too bad really… But you can’t say you weren’t warned!
The Early Days
1. The first visitors to the hospital will be a blur. I was so out of it on adrenaline and whatever horse tranquilisers they’d given me that my first visitors still talk about how “great” I was… And yet I don’t remember a thing about the first day!
If you have other kids, manipulating the visitors so that your kids and then Grandparents are first in, is a military operation! Hopefully it will only be your nearest and dearest who come along initially.
Most people are good at knowing that it’s best to wait until Mamma is settled at home before they visit. There are no rules of course, but in my little rule book, only go to the hospital if it’s one of your closest friends or a close family member.
2. The interruptions: You’ll just have drifted off to snooze after finally getting your little one to nod off and the door of the ward shall swing open and in comes “The Beeper”.
The Beeper is the little Blood Pressure monitor and fancy trolley the lovely nurses push from ward to ward to make sure you and baby are doing OK. It looks like Johnny 5 and has a habit of appearing at the most inconvenient times.
Don’t get me wrong. The nurses have a schedule and have to do their rounds and it’s all in your best interest, but you will learn to loath the Beeper. But it’s only for a few days and it makes going home to your own bed all the sweeter.
3. Your first toilet trip: With Mini-Me, I read all the books. ALL of them! My Darling mother happily answered my questions with brutal honesty. When I found out I’d be having her by section, my amazing friend told me all about hers in her colourful language.
Having grown up on a farm and having helped out, hands on I might add, with MANY C-Sections on Cows, I felt quite prepared. I put my faith, my trust and my vulnerable self in the care of the surgeons and all was right with the world.
But NO ONE prepared me for the first toilet trip…when you go for your first pee, apparently it’s normal to feel like you’re being sliced open again without anaesthetic this time! I swear to God, I thought I was going to die right there on the loo. It was not pretty. The pain almost made me puke.
And as if that wasn’t terrifying enough, the first poo is fecking horrendous! I have it on good authority that it is the same for Mummies who deliver vaginally. Again, I thought my entire insides were falling out.
I roared so loudly that The Him actually called for a nurse and she had to come in to convince me that no, I hadn’t just passed my bowel and no, I wasn’t going to die. But don’t tell anyone. How undignified and ridiculous right?
4. The Boobs: Now, for me, this was a big deal. And I mean Big in every sense of the word. As a woman of the Fried egg club, to wake up on day three with two bald heads in my bra, was quite the trauma. I swear to God I looked like Jordan. I’ve always wondered if I’d like to have boobs… No. No I wouldn’t . Thank you. No. Give me my fried eggs any day.
5. The journey home: My memory of this one still makes me laugh. The walk from the ward to the car with your lovely car seat is one of the most surreal experiences of your life. I hadn’t stepped more than 6 foot to the bathroom in 4 days.
Suddenly I had to waddle my way down corridors, into lifts (oooooh that bump takes on a whole new level of weirdness after a section!), through a lobby (carrying balloons to boot!) and out into the car. It was like running 20feet and then thinking you’re ready for a marathon the next day.
Daddy is grinning like a Cheshire cat while you shall be torn between scolding him for swinging the seat too much when he walks, and holding your ladybits in because they feel like they are about to fall the hell out of you with every step!
Getting into the car is a challenge and then there’s the drive home. I dare say The Him didn’t go above 40mph the whole way out to the house, because of the precious cargo and of course because of my delicate state. We both give out about Dooters on the road, but Oh my did he dooter out the road that day!
6. The tears: Oh tears. You unpredictable little feckers… They come in waves. You have NO control over them. They’ll arrive at the worst times. And you’ll possibly laugh at the same time because you will have no idea why the hell you’re crying! But let them flow. It’s completely normal! I’m still crying over anything and my Baby is nearly 3!
7. The Visitors: While you’ll want nothing more than to see people and introduce your new bundle to your loved ones, bear in mind that your first day or two at home will be exhausting, emotional and terrifying. If I had been able to pay the midwives to come home with me, I would have. I remember getting to the house with The Him and the Car seat and being soooooo frightened. There was no buzzer. There were no nurses down the hall. It was just us. But we were fine.
8. Newborns aren’t overly interesting: Ok, they are actually much more interesting than you ever thought they were. But here’s the key. YOUR newborn is interesting. To YOU and your partner . Don’t be offended if your visitors only start at the baby for a few minutes. Yes of course they’re interested and of course they’ll think your baby is gorgeous, but while you can watch this little person doing NOTHING for hours on end, to others, it is exactly that…a little person doing nothing!
They don’t see the miraculous progression from yesterday, or that the baby is holding your focus for a few moments longer… or that her grip seems more purposeful. So don’t get offended that your friends seem to politely stare at the baby for only a few minutes, declaring his cuteness or that she has your eyes, before moving promptly on to some other topic of conversation. It’s normal.
And be honest, you’ve probably done it yourself many times. Because other people’s babies are not that interesting are they?
9. Lasagne can make you cry: The gifts and parcels and flowers will come and be hugely appreciated. But the most welcomed and remembered offering to the home of the newborn…is food! And the best kind of food is something that can be portioned, reheated, frozen or even eaten cold from the casserole dish. Think curry. Think chilli. Think lasagne. You never realised how good lasagne tastes. It’ll make you so happy that may cry tears of joy.
10. You suddenly won’t care who washes your knickers: Maybe this was just me. Before I had Mini-Me, the thought of someone else doing my washing would have driven me mad with shame. Not because there’s anything wrong with my smalls, No! But I could never have even entertained the thought of my Mum or Mother-in-Law washing them.
And then I got over that VERY quickly. Because the first time I realised that the washing machine was going without me having started it, my initial panic was so overwhelmed by total gratitude that I even surprised myself. Now, I still don’t like the idea of someone washing my knickers, but for the first few weeks after birth, you really shouldn’t give a damn.
So now you’re home. And you could probably add 10 more things to this list. Add away Supermums.
I spend much of my life muttering things like “I’ll talk to myself”, “Nobody listens to me” and “Talk to yourself Mammy”.
Actually, if I ever get around to publishing my s-mumblings, my title might just be “Nobody listens to Mammy.”
It makes me want to claw out my own eyeballs sometimes. Sometimes, I actually do answer myself.
But going on holidays last week, I experienced something that has made me feel a whole lot better.
Lying by the pool one afternoon, I found myself laughing at the tirade of statements floating around in the air above me. All of them had been said by a Mum or Dad, and ALL of them had been dutifully ignored by their respective Minions.
Here are just a selection of the floating statements that I both heard AND said at least 39 times in one week away.
- Don’t run!
- You’re going to fall.
- Stop running!
- Japonica I will NOT call you again
- Where’s your sister?
- Sit on your seat.
- Do not lick the water. (This was NOT just me, I assure you!)
- Mind the lady.
- Don’t jump!
- Get over here NOW!
- Good girl!
- If I have to come over there…
- Don’t RUN!
- You’re going to slip.
- Let the baby past.
- Wait your turn.
- Go ahead now.
- Don’t let people push you.
- I don’t want to hear it.
- Stop fighting.
- Do you need a pee?
- Why are you hitting your sister?
- Lift that unicorn…
- Well done!
- Oooooooh you’re a mermaid!
- Stop splashing people.
- You need more suncream!
- Use your legs
- Watch your head.
- Hear my voice!
- Am I talking to myself?
Well actually, that’s just it Mammy Dearest. You are indeed. And you may get used to it, because it seems to be a universal gift that children have, which transcends borders, nationalities and continents.
A few times, I heard myself. I heard another Mum saying exactly what I had said 10 minutes previously. And I returned the favour I’m sure, letting other parents hear ME saying the exact same things that THEY had earlier too.
Lesson learned? Nope.
Because the next day, I still called out the “Mind where you’re going!” and “You are going to FALL!” and “Stop RUNNING!” Because I like to give out? Because I’m a saddo?
Nooooooooo. Because it’s my instinct to keep my minions safe and even if they’re not LISTENING to me, if there’s at least a chance that they might HEAR me, I’ll keep on talking to myself gladly.
And I’ll answer myself too.
I quite like conversations with myself actually. Good job eh?
If not, why not?
“And that’s how valleys were made!” says Daddy, utterly proud of himself as he helps Mini-Me into her carseat. He’s just had her looking over one of Donegal’s most beautiful valleys, The Poison Glen.
They’ve stood out, looking and pointing and chatting, with Daddy being ‘the business’, informing her, teaching her, being the Daddy of all knowledge, and her little ears taking it all in. I’ve been in the car with a sleeping Princess who quite frankly couldn’t give a hoot about anything other than when she next gets to eat or sleep.
He straps himself in and starts to drive.
‘Did the Ice-age really happen then?’ she asks, still wide eyed.
‘It did indeed.’ he answers smugly.
‘Oh Millions of years ago.’
I’m enjoying this. It’s nice having someone else answer her questions! It reminds me of when I was her age and my Daddy knew EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING too. I was in awe of him. (I still am.)
The Him’s enjoying it too. He smiles his handsome smile at me as he stops at a junction. Superdaddy…
‘Millions of years ago Daddy? Really?’ There’s doubt in her voice/
‘Yep. Millions and millions of years ago…’
‘And was it really cold?’
‘It was. So cold that everything was covered in ice!’
(I know what’s coming in the way that only a Mammy can know what’s coming…)
‘So did Granny have to buy you a warmer coat?’
And just like that, his ice bubble was shattered into millions of pieces. It’s amazing how quickly thathandsome smile can be replaced by Grumpy grump!
I turned up the heating. It was suddenly quite chilly in the car…