If you are an expecting first-time mum, the contents of this post will probably take you by surprise (perhaps even shock you), but please bear in mind that the last thing I want to do is to freak you out.
All I want is to get you more prepared for what is to come.
Why would I want that?
Tell the truth, if you are more prepared, the less shocked you are when the time comes. And the less shocked you are, the better chance you have to avoid postnatal mental issues and other problems many first-time mums experience.
For, believe me, in most cases the reason for new mums suffering from postnatal mental problems is unrealistic expectations of motherhood and a shock that comes with the arrival of a baby.
When I was pregnant, I thought (like probably most future mums) that the hardest thing I would have to deal with after my babies arrive was tiredness and a lack of sleep.
Well, I am not saying it is not challenging to be tired all the time. But it is the combination of tiredness, motherhood duties, constant baby’s crying, emotional swings and no clue what to do that make the early stages so unbelievably hard. Tiredness is only some kind of base but it is definitely not where it ends.
We also need to remember that there are different types of tiredness. When I, for example, compare the tiredness I was experiencing after wild nights partying and the tiredness I was experiencing as a new mum, it is two completely different things.
If you are tired as a non-parent, you can simply have a nap, or just chill in front of the TV. Even if you have to work, you still know that eventually you would finish and go home.
When you are tired as a new mum/parent, you don’t get a chance to rest. Not to that extent, anyway. And while tired, you still have to look after your baby. You still have to feed and change them, you have to do the housework, you need to deal with never-ending crying and even if you are asleep, it is not for long as your baby does not take any breaks and is extremely demanding.
Below is a real script of a mum of a few days old baby girl while having her mum over to help. Oh yes, this is how the days of a new mum can look like.
Certainly, every baby is different and so are the days of individual mums so please do not perceive it as a scenario that applies to everyone. But the truth is, that the nature of the early days is very similar for everyone. A mixture of constant tiredness and constant work are practically inevitable.
And like I said before, I am not showing this to you to scare or you or make you less excited about the arrival of your baby. Believe me, motherhood truly is a miracle, I just want you to be aware that it takes a while to enjoy it to its fullest.
6.30-10.00 – sleep
10.10-10.34 – feed
10.40-10.55 – feed
11.15-12.30 – feed
13.30-5.30 – sleep
5.45 – feed
6.06-6.30 – sleep
8.45 – finished eating
10.15 – finished 100 ml
10.2- 5 – in the cot with the dummy
10.30 – asleep, dummy taken away
11.00 – awake on a lap with the dummy
11.25 – lots of crying, finger calmed her
11.35 – back in the cot
11.35 – out of the cot; non-stop crying
12.00 – changed nappy
12.10 – still crying
12.30 – gave her 30 ml of milk; still crying
12.40 – gave another 30 ml; less crying
12.55 – quiet, sleeping in her grandma’s arms as she attempts to put her in the cot with the dummy
1.00 – seems to be working; no crying; out of cot in Grandma’s arms
She has now been awake and crying for 2 hours.
1.05 – quiet asleep in grandma’s arms with the dummy; attempts to put her back in the cot
1.10 – not going back, she is moving cot back and forth. I hear little grunts from her and she starts crying again; grandma gives her the dummy but I don’t think it is working
1.12 – she is out of cot again
1.20-1.30 – fed her 60 ml from she is resting on my chest. NO MORE FOOD!
1.38 – back in cot sleeping
1.40 – grandma back to bed, me too
4.20 – awake
Uff, what a day, huh??
I know, seems surreal at first sight but unfortunately, that is what we all have to deal with for a while. Some of us, who were lucky enough to have multiples, even twice as much!
But don’t worry, it is still just a temporal stage that will pass one day and over time becomes just a distant, vague memory.
And more importantly, you will gradually start getting back so many amazing, magical rewards that you haven’t even dreamt of before.