I’m sure it won’t come as a big shock to anyone when I say that I have noticed that there is a big culture these days of veteran mothers going around scaring new mums and mums to be. From the moment you announce your pregnancy, there will be people who want to tell you all about their stepsister’s aunt’s friend’s horrific labour, their emergency cesarean, or their work colleague who developed postpartum psychosis. I’m not sure quite what the point of it all is, personally I have never felt the need to scare pregnant women or reduce a new mum to tears with a few horror stories over cocktails. Some people do it, I’m sure, to come across as a superhero who has survived all these experiences and other people probably just enjoy the drama of it all. But I’m not about that, I’m here to tell you that it really isn’t all as bad as you’ve been told. You’ll more than likely be okay and be able to survive what pregnancy, labour and motherhood has to throw at you. Let me reassure you…
You might not have morning sickness. You could actually make it through your pregnancy with very few or even no symptoms. If that is the case though, maybe don’t go bragging about it unless you want to be hounded by a group of jealous pregnant ladies.
Not everyone gets stretch marks. Even if you do you’re unlikely to actually care as much as you think you will.
Your waters will almost certainly not break in public. This is something that the film industry has taken upon itself to promote for dramatic effect. I’ve never met anyone whose waters broke unexpectedly while they were shopping or having brunch with the girls. You’ll most likely be in labour for quite a while before they break and actually be relieved when it happens as it means the end is in sight! (However, here is an excellent post on what to do if your waters DO break early)
You might not poo during labour. Not everyone does and even if you do literally no one will care. You have bigger things going on than worrying about that!
You might well have an easy labour and a natural birth. I was convinced I would end up needing an emergency c section while I was pregnant, because everyone that I spoke to seemed to have had one or knew somebody who did. People don’t think to talk about positive birth experiences, everyone wants to feel like a war hero when they’ve given birth. But we’re all heroes, even if the labour and delivery goes smoothly.
You could get the birth you’ve always wanted, as written on your birth plan. Not everyone does, but you could be one of the lucky ones.
Your first postpartum poo could be fine. I know a lot of people talk about how awful this is but I can’t even remember mine, so it can’t have been that bad!
It’s unlikely that anyone will yell at you for breastfeeding in public. I didn’t have a single negative reaction for 16 months. For one reason or another people are trying to scare you. Don’t let them put you off.
You will sleep again. Even if your baby is a terrible sleeper and you are breastfeeding, there will be opportunities to sleep. Let people help you, let them hold the baby while you nap. It is hard to adjust to less sleep but don’t listen to anyone who says you won’t ever sleep again.
Soft play isn’t that bad. You will get used to the bright colours, the grubbiness and the noise. I’ve grown to enjoy soft play for the sole reason that it is a safe environment where my daughter can socialise with other children, it wears her out and it can be a good place to meet other mums. There is coffee, and cake generally. It really isn’t the horrendous experience that people make it out to be.
Life can go ‘back to normal’ to an extent. Motherhood is what you make of it and if you prioritise the bits of your pre-baby life that you really want back, you can probably have them. It will never be the same, but you don’t have to alter yourself completely to be a good mum.
Ultimately what I’m trying to say is that having a baby is tough, but so worthwhile! For every tough time there will be ten amazing moments that make up for it. Becoming a mum will be a roller coaster, you’ll feel every emotion underneath the sun and question your sanity at times, but it is so worth it for that little person who will one day look up at you and call you ‘mum’.