Labour is (often) the easy part! This is what you should focus on before the baby arrives.
Labour is what most mums-to-be think and worry about the most.
They spend a lot of time researching all the possible (and impossible) information on this subject and trying to see if there is a way to ease the pain that comes with labour.
I was the same, of course. But here is what I want to tell you now, after 3 and something years of being a mum. Labour is – in most cases – the easy part! I totally understand where the worry comes from. Labour is something we have been worried about since we were little girls, isn’t it? We are scared of the pain and the unknown. I get it.
But the truth is, that baby comes out one way or another. It just will happen. There is no point in worrying about how it will happen. What matters is, that it will happen. And the professional team will (most likely) do everything they can to make it as easy as possible for you.
So there is no need to worry (again – in most cases).
Also, keep in mind that there is a lot you cannot predict or plan on labour so instead of worrying, try to believe it will go as smoothly as possible for you.
Another thing we research a lot before the labour is practical information on looking after a newborn. Which is only understandable too.
I spent months thinking about and planning my ideal labour. And when I had it all worked out, I started to worry about whether we had all the baby stuff ready.
When I was around 30 weeks far, all we had was a baby cot, a few baby grows, some baby blankets and a perfect twin buggy I was very proud of as we had spent ages researching and looking for the perfect one. However, we ended up getting another second-hand buggy one last minute in the end as the perfect one turned out to be not so perfect after all…
When I went into labour, I was 34 weeks which was way earlier than I expected. I had no hospital bag ready, no knowledge about looking after a newborn, no antenatal class passed, and a baby nursery with a lot of baby stuff still missing.
My planned perfect birth ended up being an unplanned, emergency c-section. But the babies were fine and so was I and that was all that mattered. Everything I worried about before went out of the window in an instant.
Will Smith once said that the moment of maximum danger is the moment of zero fear. How true!
I was so scared of the labour but once it came to it, all I cared about was that my boys were fine.
Besides, when in labour, you are drowsy and overwhelmed by a variety of emotions and by many other things that are going on around you, that you don’t perceive and sense things like you normally would. So trust me, you will be fine! Even with no hospital bag ready 😉.
I lost count on the number of posts I read on how to prepare your hospital bag, not to mention the number of posts on social media from future mums who lose their sleep over their bag not being ready the way it “should” be… It is surely useful to be prepared, but trust me, you will get everything you need in the end. Most hospitals have spare baby clothes, nappies, and other important baby stuff… And there is always someone who can help you to get whatever you need, whether it’s a friend, partner, or a family member. So please, don’t worry about the bag too much either.
And then, there’s also a great amount of time spent on wondering about how to bath the baby, how to change the baby, how to hold them…..
Again – trust me, all these things you will learn as you go along. Even if you attend a class that prepares you for all these practical things, things go usually completely different once the baby is here. You suddenly feel like you know nothing. And that’s fine. Because you will learn as you go along… Just like we all did.
I’d say that most antenatal classes are more for peace of mind. But thinking of an antenatal class as of something that will make you 100% confident and prepared for motherhood is like thinking of a driving theory test as of something that will teach you how to drive. You cannot learn how to look after a newborn before you become a mum, just like you cannot learn how to drive without taking driving lessons.
I had no idea how to look after my babies when they arrived. However, the midwives showed me the most important things and the rest I tried to work out myself.
Some things I learned quickly, some of them took a few months for me to work out, and that’s ok. Don’t forget that we are supposed to learn.
Now, what we really should think about before the baby arrives, is the emotional element of having a baby.
How am I going to feel? What emotions are normal to experience and why? What is postnatal depression? What signs should I look out for? What should I do when feeling down? How do I get my partner involved? When should I ask for help? These are the questions people should ask and talk about…
Remember that all the practical things you will learn sooner or later. But if you don’t know what emotions are normal for a new mum to experience or how to recognise the signs of postnatal depression, it can make your life hell.
I believe that one of the reasons new mums (myself included once) suffer postnatal depression is that they are not informed about any of this beforehand. They don’t understand the importance of the emotional side of things. They think they don’t have to worry about it (well, why should they if people don’t talk about it, right?).
But let me ask you – did you know that it can take a few months for you to feel love for your child? Did you know that breastfeeding can be a very painful, draining and stressful process? Did you know that it is normal to feel down, regretful, or tearful in the early stages? To even dislike your child at times? Did you know how important it is to ask for help and why?
And the list doesn’t end here… Yes, it is very sad that things like this are not spoken about for it’s no doubt the most important information every expectant and new mum should know…