Having your first baby is an exhilarating experience until you realize that you have to look after the thing for the rest of your life and sleep is but a distant memory.
1. The after pains. Pain. After. Who knew? When God designed women to give birth, he well and truly screwed us over….
2. Your first wee. Take a jug with you and pour it over your bits like you’re trying to be a star in some very disturbing porno. It helps.
3.. Your first poo. Do not panic. You are not having another baby. It just feels that way. But just remember the size of the thing you pushed out of the front bit, and the prospect of pushing out what’s in the back bit won’t be quite so daunting. Your bum is not falling out. Or it might be. If you have piles. Which you probably do…
4. Your baby looks weird. Like… Really weird. ‘Oh how cute/such a beautiful baby’ etc will be said at you and you’ll accept other people’s opinions, but to you it looks like a hairless slightly purple old grandad with dried blood and skin stuck to its wrinkly face.
5. Their downstairs bits are ridiculous. You will worry about the impact they will have on their lives should they stay like that. Boys little nuggets are the size of whole walnut whips, but their willies are the size of the walnuts on the top that nobody wants. Apparently this ‘swelling’ goes down soon. If it doesn’t, expect ‘big bollocks’ to be part of your sons school nickname.
6. Their first poo is not actually poo. It’s tar. The midwives sneak in over night, fill your baby’s nappy with treacle and then test you to see if you know to get rid of it, or to see if you decide to take one look at it and start googling ‘why do nappies come pre-filled with marmite?’
7. Your first shower will be like a scene from Carrie. It’s normal. It may feel like you’ll never be right again and that you’ll walk like John Wayne forever, and you might, but you’ll feel so much better for the shower. You’re literally washing away your sins. (If the baby was born out of wedlock anyway….)
8. Midwives like babies. They will come and pick yours up with no prior warning. They will squeeze their testicles, massage their tummies to make them crap, and fiddle with their face so much you’re sure the baby looks like it’s had botox when they give it back.
9. Your baby hates you. It’s not crying. It’s communicating with its master- the devil- about how successful their plan to destroy you is going. Seriously – it doesn’t actually hate you. It may seem like it never cries when anyone else holds it or that it enjoys keeping you up all night, but really, it is so dependant on you it’s embarrassing. Human babies are embarrassing.
10. You will say the word ‘latch’ more than you have ever said it in your life. And the idea of a tiny person casually sucking on your nipples suddenly becomes a reality. At this moment, you will feel like an actual proper mum.
And a cow.
11. There are people in hospital that can smell your vulnerability. They will take photos of your baby looking cute and then try and charge you a million pounds for it. They will scroll through the 50 photos they’ve taken of your baby in the same position, asking you to choose your favourites. and if you’ve got a partner like mine, that means you will have to re-mortgage your house by the time he’s done…
12. The hospital food is as bad as it is so that people decide they would rather be in pain and at home than eating ‘peaches and custard’. The custard is hot wee with a splash of breast milk mixed in, and the peaches are body parts that have been soaked in sugar over night. And don’t eat the chocolate mousse. Just don’t.
13. It farts. It burps. It hiccups. It makes weird noises in its sleep that make you think you’re going to wake up and see Chucky in the cot- head spinning and laughing. You hope people know it’s the baby and not you. Not that you’d know if you were farting. Your sphincter muscle control is somewhat lacking at the moment.
14. Everyone you’ve ever met will want to come to the hospital to see you. People get overexcited about visiting hospitals. They feel VIP when they walk in to a ward. You are a VIP- a very in-pain person. And you look and feel like death. So only accept visitors if you are up to it. You’re still so high on drugs that making conversation with adults is like trying to sieve flour with a fishing net. Everything just pours out of you and none of the shit is stopped getting through…
15. Your tummy is now resembling a balloon that’s slowly deflating and feeling very sorry for itself. If you press it, you instantly conclude that it would make a fantastic trampoline for Stuart Little. Or that if you sliced it up right now, the hospital kitchen staff would use it and palm it off as nectarine jelly..
16. They want you on contraception straight away. Countless midwives will come and talk to you about how fertile you are and how likely you are to become pregnant again. They do however forget one crucial thing- you’re never having sex again. You never want to see a penis again. And if one comes near you, you’ll most likely destroy it for the sake of women everywhere. The end.
17. Everything’s angry. Your brain is angry, your eyes are angry, your tummy, your bladder, your bum. Your vagina isn’t angry. It’s f@&king livid. Give it a while to calm down but right now, you and she ain’t friends…
18. People ask you if your milk has come in yet, and you half expect somebody dressed in a cravendale costume to waltz through the door and stay with you forever, handing you milk as and when your baby needs it. Not true. What actually happens is that, about 3 days in, your boobs start to leak like they have forgotten they are breasts and now believe they are garden sprinklers. Whose garden you don’t know, but at the rate they start pouring out it must be the Queen’s…
19. They want you to go home ASAP. You are taking up valuable bed space and now you have delivered your stinky human bundle and they’ve checked it over to make sure it isn’t a live Picasso painting, you’re free to leave. Don’t. Not until you’re ready. Get all the help and advice you need before going home. Because once you’re at home, your baby is expecting you to know what you’re doing and you’ll wish you’d stayed longer at the hospital. If to only delay the car seat fiasco a little longer…
20. Stop worrying. You’re not superwoman. There is no such thing as normal, and there is no such thing as perfect. You are your baby’s normal. You are your baby’s perfect. They aren’t judging you. They are completely reliant on you and being responsible for another human being is not a piece of cake. It’s a piece of ‘oh my god I can’t do this’. You can. And everyday will get easier. Breath mummy.
You just grew and pushed out a mini Mitchell brother. There’s nothing you can’t do.
You can’t do that anymore.
Pope’s list was pretty relatable, earning 80,000 shares and thousands of comments from other moms.