Let me preface this by saying that I wouldn’t swap this for the world. A child is the most precious gift and a complete miracle and I could not be more grateful that Grace is in our lives. I really enjoyed being pregnant and feel very blessed that I was able to have a natural labour that was only 4 & 1/2 hrs (it felt much longer). BUT, there is a number of things they left off the memo and the cutsie brochures in the hospital that I need to get off my chest….. That seems like a good place to start actually. My chest.
3 words people. Porn Star Boobs. This shiz is ridiculous. Day 2 my milk came in and I woke up fairly certain that someone had given me a boob job while I slept. I had these rocks on my chest that were shooting milk every which way and were uber painful! Unless you are a small human who needs that milk to survive, do not touch them, I might punch you in the face. On a positive note, if I were a cartoon superhero I could use them as my secret weapon. Take that villain! Pow pow! That is the sound of milk shooting up the bad guys nose. How’s that for a super power. Not even joking. Up noses. In eyes. Across the room. No-one is safe. Geoffrey Edelsten’s PVC yellow suit would actually have an appropriate use here.
Further to the boob discussion let’s talk breast feeding. I am all for it (or whatever you decide is right for you & your baby. Not here to judge.) but seriously, it is freaking hard! I get that it is all natural and intuitive and totally primal but it can also be a total $hitfight. You will no longer care who sees your boobs. Anyone who is breastfeeding, don’t be afraid to ask for help, from as many people as you need to. Probably not your mail guy. I reckon he’d have no clue… Or maybe he would. Go on then, ask him too.
Everyone has different ideas, try them all, something will stick. Remember that both you and the baby have no freaking idea what you are doing for the most part. Sounds like a recipe for success, no? Just know that it sometimes ends in tears, for both of you. It will get better…. Generally when your boobs finally get the memo about the laws of supply & demand. Apparently that gets lost in the mail often. Bloody mail guy. I told you not to talk to him about this.
Next up. Maternity Pads. Seriously people. What the cr@p?! Make sure you check out those bad boys BEFORE you need them because trust me, you are going to need some fairly hefty underwear to hold them up… Like the kind you probably don’t own. I think they were created so you could have empathy for your baby wearing that massive nappy. On a positive note, if you don’t have enough pillows on your hospital bed, these could certainly serve a dual purpose.
Next topic. Haemorrhoids. You push a baby out, sometimes other things come out too. Makes you grateful for the nappy-sized pads you are wearing. That cushioning comes in handy. That is all.
Now to the midwife who asked during labour if I would like a mirror….. Does my hair look that bad? Pretty sure I don’t care because it currently feels like someone is giving my vagina a Chinese burn times a million….. Oh you mean to watch that? I think my response was something along the lines of ‘are you smoking crack?’. That is like someone saying ‘hey, I’m about to break your leg with this hammer. Wanna watch?’. Ah, no. No I sure as hell do not. To those women out there who do, power to you. You are far braver than I…. And possibly a tiny bit mental.
There is some false advertising around gestation. Pregnancy is 40 weeks. On what planet does that equate to 9 months? It’s 10 people. 10 months. That last month feels like a year. I signed up for the 9 month contract. I feel cheated. Who do I sue? Someone get that information changed ASAP. New legislation or something. Surely the G20 people can sort that out.
On a more serious note (not that I wasn’t serious about the previous agenda items, I sure as hell was), this past 3 weeks is the hardest I have ever had. I am surprised Trav didn’t have me committed. I was also scared that sharing this would make me seem weak and that admitting my struggle would make others feel let down or disappointed in me, like I was in myself, like I should cope better. Here it is anyway…
Day 3 after Grace was born I could not wait to get out of the hospital. Could. Not. Wait. The minute I got into the lift to leave I burst into tears and proceeded to cry the whole way home. Why? A friend of mine Libby summed it up perfectly when she described this clusterfu&k of emotions as- “Hello hormones! You did well to get this far tear free. I think the first week after giving birth is the most vulnerable time as a female. What you have just done is massive! It’s hormones, sleep deprivation, anxiety about not fucking them up, discomfort from feeling as though a Mack truck just drove through your bits, and relief that they are healthy and alive”. Um. Yes. Nailed it Libby. I have probably cried every day since for no reason or every reason. All those lovely ‘feel good’ pregnancy hormones have definitely left the building. I have felt completely overwhelmed & completely helpless at times. Each day does get a little bit better. By the time Grace is 12 I should have my $hit together.
Sleep deprivation is the worst form of torture. Do not underestimate how much that is going to screw you over. “Long term total sleep deprivation has caused death in lab animals” according to WIKI. That, my friends, is some serious $hit. I, for one, turn into a complete mental person after too many nights without reasonable sleep. I have had many days lately of being a complete basket case. Normal things in day to day life can become completely overwhelming & unmanageable. You feel anxious & stressed and not sure what the hell you are doing. Then you sleep and the world rights itself again. Any chance you get to catch some z’s, take it. The first week at home I felt like when Grace was asleep that was my cue to cook, clean, wash etc. Needless to say that ended badly. Very, very badly.
I have also had to adjust my expectations of what is actually going to be achieved in any given day. This is a real struggle to do when you are someone who is used to being able to juggle all those things and more. Now my view of a successful day means that Grace is still alive and thriving and I managed to eat enough food as well. Getting dressed is no longer high on the priority list and forget about brushing your hair. Over-rated anyway. If you come to my house at the moment set your expectations to low. Chances are there is dog hair on the floor, random spots of baby puke that I have missed cleaning up and dried breast milk everywhere. You’ll probably have it on you when you leave. Bring your Geoffrey Edelsten suit for protection or wear a raincoat.
I have learnt that I can’t do this on my own. That when people offer to help, the answer is ‘yes’, always ‘yes’. Saying ‘no’ doesn’t make you strong. It makes you a real live crazy person. Without the support of family & especially Trav & my mum, I don’t think I would have come out the other side of this sane. Whether I am actually sane now is still up for debate.
I am sharing these things because I would hate any other mums to feel like they are alone in this journey or with these feelings. Does it make me weak? Maybe, but I’ll cop that. Say it to my face and get ready to see the wrath of my sleep deprived state & prepare to shield yourself from my superpower. Pow pow.