Becoming a first-time mum is wonderful and scary at the same time.
You have millions of questions running through your mind and it seems impossible to answer them all.
Am I going to be a good mum?
Do I have everything ready?
Have I missed anything?
What does a good mum look like?
How painful is childbirth?
What if something goes wrong?
The list is endless.
We want to prepare for the arrival of the baby as much as possible.
We read tons of books, attend antenatal classes and NCT classes, talk to other mums, watch movies about pregnancy and motherhood, and spend countless hours on the internet looking for answers to our questions.
All of his is totally normal of course.
Every new mum wants the best for her baby so she looks up the information she believes is the most important for her and the baby.
That said, who can answer baby and motherhood-related questions better than mums who have already been there?
So I asked 35 different mums what they wish they had known before giving birth and what, in their opinion, every new mum needs to know.
Here’s what they said!
What Mums Wish They Had Known Before Having Their Baby
- I wish that I had more mum friends and family. It’s just me and hubby. We’re a great team but there is never ever a break. Even when he’s at daycare there is work or chores, never a break.
- That babies can have night terrors at a very early age.
- The fact that they can crawl, sit and stand in their sleeve while they are asleep.
- That children are little heart attacks.
- That it would be the most transformational experience of my life! Coming out of the darkness of PPD (postpartum depression) and 4 years of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) after a traumatic birth I know can experience all of the stressful moments easier. I see the opportunity to connect with my kids on a whole new level.
- It’s OK to do what works for you. Forget what others say!
- That the milk may not come in at all.
- That it’s not sunshine and rainbows like everyone paints it out to be.
- That it’s a total shit show in the beginning.
- How hard postpartum is.
- That teething can take months.
- You can’t plan anything or mentally prepare for motherhood.
- That I would be doing it all. I love my babies but I’m a very tired mama.
- That you will never be the same, and it can be really hard to come to terms with.
- What a sleep regression is. That babies don’t just sleep when they’re tired.
- My midwife did not tell me that my baby wouldn’t just drift off when tired. Or that the more tired they get the more screaming at night.
- That breastfeeding can be painful.
- I wish I would have known more about postpartum. The first month after my son was born I had the baby blues really bad and I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did after having the baby that I had been dreaming of my whole life. I wish I would have been more aware of the lack of sleep. My son wanted to eat every hour for an hour and a half up until he was 5 weeks old. Luckily, after that, he started to sleep 4-5 hours at night before feeding but wow the exhaustion was like nothing I could have ever imagined. How important it is to have a support system. Nobody should have to go through the early days of motherhood alone. Breastfeeding is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I would really educate myself on it. I thought I had but looking back if I would have know what I do know I definitely would have tried longer to stick with it. (I talk more about postpartum life and what antenatal classes don’t tell you in my book Motherhood – The Unspoken).
- That it will take me 4 hours to leave the house lol.
- It’s not the magical thing everyone paints it to be. It’s literally the hardest role I’ve ever had to take. Breastfeeding wasn’t the magical experience I thought it would be. The fact that I almost died from uterine atony/hemorrhage after a scheduled c-section and no one told me it was a possibility floored me. Postpartum depression is an absolute beast and you have to be very honest about your feelings and thoughts to seek help. I became a new person after my twins and I don’t regret it. I’ve had to learn to love the new me. The whole process didn’t go the way I imagined but I have two healthy babes, I am mentally in a better place, and seeing them grow, learn and become real little people is worth every second of bad shit I went through.
- PPD and PPA (postpartum anxiety) are very REAL and come in different forms. Not to stress so much about breastfeeding and getting babies into routine. Let baby lead and go with the flow, things will fall into place naturally.
- That not all toddlers are angels. Just cute little demons half the time lol.
- How much you will want to say no to every social event.
- That it changes you. But it’s SUPPOSED to change you. I always thought I’d “be the same person”, but of course, I’m not! A huge event happened in my life, and I am forever changed. And for the better, I think.
- That they are all different. It gets harder the more but rewarding as well.
- That it’s okay to parent kids differently. They have different personalities and different needs.
- That the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is true, and you may or may not have one. It’s okay to be gentle to yourself if you can’t do the things you want to do for and with your kids some days. And that no mother is perfect, no matter how they try to appear to be on social media!
- To set clear boundaries for yourself and your children.
- Know how to tell people when you don’t like what they’re doing and when their advice is unwanted/unnecessary.
- Breastfeeding is not for everyone. It’s not always beautiful and magical. And that’s okay. (I felt so guilty when I hated it. Instead of bonding with my baby, I resented her. )
- How much more meaning your life would have and how important you are! (You’re the whole world to your children and no one can ever replace a mum).
- How lonely it is with me and my baby with no friends or family for support.
- Pretty much everything. I read so many books and still wasn’t emotionally prepared for the toll it would take on me mentally and physically. Then add the lack of sleep. I lost friends I didn’t think I’d lose because my priorities changed, and suddenly I became “selfish” by putting my child first. Everyone’s experience is going to be a little different, so I’m happy for those who love it, but it is hard work all day every day. Support is key. On a positive note, I never imagined this kind of joy seeing my child grow, learn, and become a kind human.
- Breastfeeding/pumping is really hard and might not work out for you but it’s okay as long as your baby is fed.
- That my own mortality slaps me in the face when I hold my baby in my arms.
35 Things Mums Wish They Had Known Prior to Baby
There you go!
I hope these honest confessions support you and give you the answers you need.
Is there anything you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
PS. If you want to discover more unspoken truths about motherhood most mums find out TOO LATE, read authentic stories from other first-time mums, and learn how to avoid the mistakes the majority of new mums did so that you can be the BEST mum for your children, check out my book Motherhood – The Unspoken.