Posts Tagged ‘moby wrap’

Inspired by a previous post I thought I’d take the opportunity to get down the many things about pregnancy, birth and early parenthood that noone tells you while you’re trying to conceive.  Not that they would necessarily put you off, but they can be a bit of a shock, and people deserve to know!


1.  It might take you a lot longer to get pregnant than you expected.  Years of teachers, health care professionals and magazines telling you that it only takes one ‘accident’ to get up-duffed mean that it can be a bit of a surprise when you work out that you’re actually only fertile for a couple of days a month, and you could quite easily do the deed every other day for six months and not get pregnant.  The chances are there’s nothing wrong with you: don’t panic.  If you’ve got to a year with no joy, go and see your GP.  But before you do that, read Toni Weschler’s ‘Taking Charge Of Your Fertility’ which will teach you more than you ever thought there was to know about cervical mucus and basal body temperatures.

2.  Skin tags will grow in the most unexpected places.  I got two on my neck and one right in the middle of my tummy button – it appeared when my tummy button popped out.  They might fall off after you’ve had the baby, which is pretty gross in itself, or they might not.  A GP can take them off for you.  Don’t accidentally scratch one off because it will hurt like hell.  (Bitter experience.)

3.  Your tummy button is likely to pop out.  If you’ve always had an inny, this is a bit weird.  It’ll probably go back in afterwards though.

4.  Stretchmarks affect different people differently.  I’ve read that how your body was affected as a teenager can suggest how you’ll be affected during pregnancy but I’m not sure how true this is.  I did get some as a teenager on my boobs and hips, but not particularly badly.  I was discussing pregnancy stretchmarks with a friend who’d recently had a baby and she said, ‘Oh they’re dreadful aren’t they?  Look at this!’  and revealed ONE stretchmark on ONE boob.  Well, my stomach looks like multiple traintracks going round a roundabout.  They start just by my tummy button and go round in circles all the way to my sides.  I mean my WHOLE stomach.  Also covered are my inner thighs right down to my knees, my hips right up my sides to about 6 inches under my arms, and my whole lower back.  I look like some kind of alien life form when naked.  I don’t love them, but as the weeks have passed I’ve come to hate them less.  They’re sort of battle scars.  Oh, and the Bio-oil/Cocoa Butter/blah blah blah crap that pregnancy magazines tell you to slather on are all rubbish.  (As are all pregnancy magazines.)  The only thing that worked for me at all was Neal’s Yard Mothers Balm (the lack of apostrophe is theirs – it drives me nuts), and all that did was make them slightly less angry.  If you’re going to get them, you’re going to get them.  (Your mother’s experience isn’t necessarily anything to go on either – my Mum remarked in surprise when she saw my stomach, ‘Oh gosh, I didn’t get ANY stretchmarks…’  Thanks, Mum.)

5.  While you’re pregnant perfect strangers will come up to you and touch your stomach without you asking, and they will probably make a comment about how huge/tiny you are.  It is perfectly ok to grope their boobs/other socially-unacceptable-to-touch-in-public places and make an offensive remark in return.

6.  The same strangers, plus your colleagues, friends of friends, etc, will tell you their birth horror story with utter glee, repeatedly.  It’s like they forget they’ve already scared you half to death, and need to repeat themselves over and over again for maximum enjoyment.  The best I had ended with the priceless line, ‘…and then I broke the stirrups!’  IGNORE them.  Yes, you need to be prepared, but you will be better off reading ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting,’ going to a friendly ante-natal class and talking to a couple of close friends you trust (and your Mum).

7.  Your hair gets gorgeously glossy and thick while you’re pregnant.  Then it all falls out.  Well, not all of it, but the excess you didn’t shed while pregnant.  Enjoy your glorious barnet while you can.

8.  Pregnancy makes you very emotional.  You will cry at any charity advert that shows hungry or ill children, any story anyone tells you about babies, any celebrity who has a baby, any particularly manipulative advert such as the gorgeous John Lewis one, plus pretty much anything else to do with babies or children.  You will also cry at the news, because you can’t believe the world’s such a terrible place and you’re bringing a child into it.

9.  There will come a point where you can’t see your own legs to shave them, much less your toe nails to cut.  Make sure you’ve picked a good man to have a baby with because he’s going to get better acquainted with these areas than he might have been before.


10.  In the actual moment of having your baby you will feel like you need to have a very big poo.  You don’t.  That’s your body wanting you to push (or doing it by itself in some cases).  And if you do poo on the table, which you might, you won’t notice, nobody will comment, and the midwife will have it whisked away in seconds.  Everybody panics about this but while you’re pushing out a 7 or 8 lb baby, you won’t care.  Honestly.

11.  Giving birth is an absolutely extraordinary feeling that you can’t possibly describe to someone who hasn’t done it.  It also hurts.  If you want to have pain relief, for God’s sake have it and don’t feel guilty.  If you don’t want it, don’t have it and don’t be bullied into having it.  If you don’t want it and then you change your mind and you do want it, don’t feel bad.  Your body, your choice.  There are no medals.

12.  Giving birth is also immensely personal.  Some people want their Mums plus partners plus second cousins there, some people want to be left alone with the midwife, some people want to be at home, in a pool, on top of a mountain, doing Hypnobirthing, having a c-section, whatever, wherever.  Do your research, make sure your choices are safe, and then stick with them and ignore the crap everyone gives you.

13.  In your hospital bag make sure that you have moist toilet tissue or, at the very least, a small jug to pour water over your bits while you wee.  Going to the loo after giving birth is not pleasant.  Going in the bath can help, if you can get over the grossness.  And for God’s sake eat a lot of fibre because you will think you’re going to die from constipation.

14.  Take a lot of food into the hospital with you.  The food in the post-natal ward will be hideous and you might not be up to going and foraging in a vending machine in the middle of the night.  However, as a back up, take a lot of change, well hidden.  You can always send your DH to the vending machine when you run out of nutri-grain bars.  You’ll probably also need it for parking, which is ludicrously expensive.

15.  Take a water bottle and a straw.  This will be useful during labour when you don’t have the energy to drink from a cup and later on the ward when you’re holding your baby and can’t reach the bedside table.

16.  Lochia can go on for up to about 6 weeks after you’ve given birth.  It’s far heavier than your heaviest ever period.  Sanitary pads are useless and you won’t be able to wear anything other than pyjama bottoms to cover up the fact that you’re using giant maternity pads.  Also, there will be clots.  You had a baby, so these aren’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but be prepared.  They will be gross.

17.  Tampons are likely to hurt for a long time.  Don’t try.  Don’t let your DH fixate on the magical ‘six week’ mark either.  Have sex when you’re ready, not before.  Be prepared for it to hurt – a lot – if your body’s not ready.  Be sensible.  (Edit:  DH would like a disclaimer in here that he didn’t ‘fixate’ on the six week mark!)

18.  You will still look six months pregnant for at least a week after giving birth, and for some people, considerably longer.  Don’t hit the man in the coffee shop who asks you when the baby’s due while you’re very obviously holding your newborn.  Smile sweetly and say, ‘I’ve already had her.’  Then walk away and try not to cry in public.

19.  It will hurt to sit down for a good week, if not two.  Longer if they’ve bodged your stitches.  Have a lot of baths, with salt if you can stand it.  It will hurt to walk too – don’t overdo it.

20.  If you tear or have an episiotomy you will have to have the stitches that will make it hard to sit down.  One friend asked me, ‘Did you have stitches?  Where?  Wait, I don’t want to know…’  Well, firstly, they’re not that big a deal at the time.  You’ll have anaesthetic and you’ll probably be holding your snuggly newborn which is quite a distraction.  If you’re lucky they’ll do them in the delivery room and you won’t have to go to theatre.  If you’ve torn you’ll have one of the following: 1st degree tear, which is just a little tear to the edge of your ‘where the baby comes out’.  2nd degree tear which is from there almost to ‘where your poo comes out’.  3rd degree tear which joins the two.  (Yes, really.)  Just be glad you’re not a poor African lady giving birth by herself in the bush – no medical care = no stitches = fecal incontinence = social exclusion and possible death.  Seriously, you’re lucky to have the NHS, no matter how much they may piss you off at other times.  Please excuse my coyness with language – I’m already getting spam comments and I imagine they’d get worse if I used anatomically correct vocab!

21.  Breastfeeding is natural, normal, lovely and best for your baby.  It may be easy, with baby latching on immediately after birth and feeding well.  It may also be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, and I’m including pushing out a baby in that.  If it’s agony or not happening, get help.  And if you use formula, don’t feel guilty.  As my DH put it after two weeks of me crying every time I tried (and failed) to feed DD, ‘it’s called parenting, not breastfeeding’.  Try and keep some perspective.  You are a mum no matter how you feed your baby.  And she won’t remember anyway.

Early parenthood:

22.  The touchy-feely-ness from the general public will carry on once you’ve had your baby, but people will want to touch the baby.  Again, feel free to tell them to fuck off in no uncertain terms.

23.  They will also tell you – constantly – what you’re doing wrong.  So far I’ve heard from passers by, ‘That baby needs a hat,’ ‘She’ll spoil that baby carrying it around all day,’ ‘Ooh, that’s a hungry cry,’ and many more.  They are not right.  You’re right.  It’s your baby.  Fuck em.

24.  You will get fed up with your family telling you how to raise your child.  Listen politely, thank them, take on board the bits that sound sensible, and then do what you want.

25.  Don’t be too proud to accept hand-me-down clothes, toys and baby equipment.  The baby market is as bad as the wedding market – there are a lot of vultures out there ready to tell you that your baby will DIE if you don’t spend £200 on the latest, snazziest, ugliest contraption they’re selling.  Your baby will probably decide her favourite toy is an old shoe and never look at said contraption.

26.  Babies grow FAST.  Newborn clothes are adorable and almost entirely a waste of time and money (unless you have a very little one).  I’d say at a push you need 6 newborn vests, 6 newborn sleepsuits with integrated scratchmitts (try Mothercare or Next), a cardigan, a hat and something warm for the pram.  They’ll be out of them within a few weeks and into 0-3 clothes, which will then last much longer.  Scratchmitts were designed to infuriate parents and invoke domestics.  They will fall off.  Instantly and repeatedly.  Similarly, sleepsuits without them built in are the devil’s work because they mean you need the bloody things.  Without them your baby will scratch her little face and probably yours too.  Throw them all out and get sleepsuits with them integrated.

27.  Slings are awesome.  The Moby wrap (try Amazon) was the only thing that sent DD to sleep for weeks.  They’re cheap (much, much cheaper than a pram), easy, don’t hurt your back and are an absolute godsend as they mean you have both hands free.  Don’t bother with papooses, babaslings and other rubbish on the market.  Just get a simple, stretchy fabric wrap and breathe a sigh of relief.  Lots of cities have sling libraries – go and try one out first if you’re not sure.

28.  You can survive on far, far less sleep than you thought you could.

29.  Sometimes you’ll be exhausted, furious, upset and terrified all at the same time.  You’ll shout at your partner, convince yourself you’re doing everything wrong, worry terribly and cry buckets.  (Baby blues are horrible but if you feel that it’s worse than feeling ‘blue’ then you should go to see your GP about potential post-natal depression.  Noone will take your baby away from you, they will just help you feel better.)  All parents struggle though, and if it’s not pnd but just (just!) sheer exhaustion you should try to tell yourself that this moment too will pass.

30.  The moment of looking at your teeny, beautiful, extraordinary baby and falling in love happens again and again.


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