Having a baby is the most fundamentally life changing event. One of my best friends has just become a Mummy for the first time and it has hurtled me back down memory lane to when I first had children; what I thought it was going to be like and the reality of life with a newborn and all that it entailed. In the spirit of breaking the silence and sharing:

Here are the 7 most useful things I wish I had known before having a baby:

This demanding life friends childbirthChildbirth is NOT as they advertise in the movies

I can’t blame the movies for this one. If we went into childbirth thinking that we would need scary looking instruments to deliver our children or that there would be 6 people all looking at our ‘down there’s’ at the same time, the chances are the human race would start to peter out

pretty darn quick. Much better to think ‘it’ll hurt a bit*, I’ll probably get a bit sweaty but it will be worth it’. 

This Demanding Life Childbirth

*Hurts like a bitch. Forget NCT classes and their ‘breathing through it’, take every drug you’re

offered and get to the hospital nice and early so you’re not too far along for pain relief. Even better, be like my sister who, when phoning to tell the hospital she was on her way, very firmly told them she also wanted an epidural as soon as she got there.

Relationships would change

I expected that my relationship with my OH would change, after all, we had more to consider than just ourselves, there was now going to be a baby who would push us to the very precipice of sleep deprivation and utter, unconditional love. What I wasn’t as well prepared for was how our relationships around us would change with family and close friends. 

While the focus of new parents is utterly around them and their new baby, there are still people who are becoming grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, godparents and they are going through a change in their relationship with you too. Never again will they have the primary focus of your attention that they once did. It can be a difficult adjustment where unsolicited advice is given, people can overstep the mark from ‘interested and helpful’ to bossy and domineering. I never expected to feel as overprotective of my baby as I did and didn’t like being parted from him in the beginning. Now that he’s a bouncing, inquisitive 6 year old, I’m only too eager to hand him (and his brother) over while I head to the gym. 


Your body will never be the same again

Some people snap right back into their pre-pregnancy size, others don’t. Before pregnancy, we all think we will fall into the first category. I remember saying to a friend, who had her baby a long time before I had mine “you’d never know you have had a baby” her reply: “No, only me”. Pregnancy may only be 9 months, labour can only be 1 day (if you’re lucky) but the scars and changes can last a lifetime. I spent the last 6 years wishing for both, healthy, happy children and my pre-pregnancy body. 6 years later, I realised the 2 are mutually exclusive and to love my body for what it had achieved, rather than what I perceived society to think it should look like. 

Priorities would completely change

I’m not the first person to think that life would go back to being exactly the same, just with a cute mini-me in tow. For a start, my children look exactly like their father so there isn’t a mini-me in sight. That gig I was so looking forward to going to, when I booked it (at 7 months pregnant), was going to be my first sign of ‘adult time’ when the baby was here……. I ended up not going as the baby wasn’t well and I didn’t want to leave him. The job I loved didn’t seem quite so worth it when it meant being away from my family for 12 hours a day. 

This demanding life time vortex

Time will become a vortex

Some days you’ll feel like you’re in a parallel universe where the world only makes sense to you. Everyone else does not GET IT! The hours between 4 and 6pm with a baby will be the longest hours of your life. Just to mix it up a bit, the 20 minutes before you need to leave the house looking presentable with a newborn, changing bag, and car keys reduce to approximately 0.0001 second.

This demanding life - baby poo

You’ll do things that you previously considered disgusting

From the mild end of the scale….. letting a toddler spit mushed up food in your hand to wiping poo off the sheets with a baby wipe, throwing a towel over it and going back to sleep. Ok I never did the last one but I’ll bet someone who is reading this has. The bottom line is parenthood certainly has its less savoury moments and nothing will prepare you for the gross things that happen when parenting a small person. 

It’s totally worth itThis Demanding Life me and my boys

This is the chant of parents everywhere. Remember the time your child did that really cute thing? How about the first time they said ‘Mummy’? It’s not just that. Having small people certainly makes life’s tapestry a lot richer, their brand new perspective on life, on fun and love makes the endless feeding, sleep deprivation and challenge so worthwhile. For everything else, stock up on chocolate and wine. 

This list feels like it’s just a drop in the ocean. There are many, many things I would love to have known before having children. Just so, you know, I didn’t spend all my time feeling they were running rings around me!

What do you wish you’d known before having children?