The anticipation of giving birth for the first time is an exciting and terrifying notion, rolled into one. Yet, the focus for expectant mums seems to be upon prenatal care and labour plans. While there’s a plethora of baby books on the market to guide you in looking after your newborn, there is a lack of information available on how things will be for you once you’ve given birth.
So once you’ve perfectly executed your birthing plan, or not, and you’re ready to bring your beautiful bundle of joy back into your family home, what exactly can you expect as a first-time mum? What happens once you have given birth?
- Blood, sweat… and baby poo
There will be blood. Lots of blood. For days. It may seem a little obvious to say, but you will also feel very sore. Be sure to purchase maternity pads to manage the blood flow. Never use tampons immediately after giving birth. As your body’s oestrogen level drops, post pregnancy, you may also notice increased sweating. This is nothing to worry about, and it will pass with time, as your hormones begin to balance. And while you’re dealing with all that, baby poo will become your new best friend. You’ll see each other at least eight times a day.
- New baby, new body
During and after pregnancy, your body goes through some incredible changes, some of which stay with you forever. You may notice that your hips have widened, your boobs may have enlarged, and perhaps your stomach isn’t as firm as it once was. Also, after you give birth, your estrogen levels take a tumble and a lot more hair follicles enter the resting stage. Soon you’ll have more hair coming out in the shower or on the brush and will have you wondering if you need a hair transplant but don’t worry all of these new bits of you are a product of your perfect creation. Be proud of your newfound figure.
- Oh, so tired!
If you ever once thought you were tired before having children, you’re in for a delightful ride. No matter whether you breastfeed, or choose to give your baby the bottle, you will become subject to a substantial decrease in sleeping hours. Night time feeds and short spells of sleep equate to one tired mum. And it begins immediately after giving birth. No rest for the wicked, hey.
- Everyone’s an expert
You may have experienced this during pregnancy, but prepare to be blown away by the number of parenting experts amongst your friends and family. No matter what you do or how you do it, everyone will have an opinion on how you raise your child. This can feel incredibly intense after giving birth, as you try to take in conflicting information like a sponge. The best advice you will ever receive is to go with your gut. Trust your instincts. You know your baby. Forget what anyone else says.
- Love unlike anything you ever imagined
No matter what you imagined the mother-baby bond to be like, nothing in the world can possibly prepare you for it. Like nothing else, your baby will overwhelm you with emotion, holding your heart in their hand from the moment they’re born.