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.3
OMG so I’ll start of by saying Red recommended ur post and I’m glad I read it – EVERYTHING and I mean EVERY WORD you wrote about is exactly what I went through. My little man Jax is 3 weeks tomorrow and I’ve experienced all of the emotions, break downs, self doubt = the works and it truly is nice to know it’s all normal so thank u so much for sharing it shed some light on what has been an emotional journey that I wouldn’t change for anything. Congrats on ur little girl xx
Thank you Laura. There is some comfort in knowing that you are not alone & that it us normal to feel like a complete mental person at times isn’t there?! I just keep telling myself that ‘this too will pass’ and focusing on the beautiful little smiles and snuggles that make all the other parts fade x
Thank you for your honesty here. I am due in April and we found it hard to fall pregnant but after nurturing my body back to health (hello naturopath) here I am! One of the things that I am not looking forward to is sleep deprivation. I’m with you on that don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve already been on the hormonal ‘cry at random things’ train but we will get there. Thanks for your real portrayal of motherhood. I’ll be sure to blog my experience when it all comes to be. (There will be no mirror action here either…)
Thank you Diana and best of luck! The little gremlins really are a true miracle and a blessing. Just be sure to take all the help that is offered & sleep whenever you can. X
Tash Darroch says
Thank you Shan for such an open and honest piece of information!!! I will remember your wise words when I venture into that world myself!!! Congrats to you both though – she is beautiful!! Xx
Thank you for reading it Tash and good luck going forward. It really is an amazing adventure, just emotionally traumatic at times. The pregnancy & labour bit is a piece of cake
Not weak at all!!! My gosh, that’s reality! You are doing brilliantly, and the first three weeks are the hardest. Once the feeding and sleeping is down pat it gets easier. Good on you for putting it out there – I bet every first time single mum can relate!
Thank you Lee, I hope it has helped others feel like they are not alone x
Holly Jackson says
So well said and good on you for sharing the honest truth.. It certainly is 6 weeks of absolute horror and when your in it, it feels like it will never end..
Thanks Holly, lucky we are on the tail end 😉 Week 4 now.
Such a great post! It made me laugh and cringe and feel for you but then also very proud of all moms out there. It’s important to reach out for help and share the ‘real’ experience. It’s all meant to get easier or we just adapt to it and deal better. You still look happy!
Thanks Irena, I am happy, as well as 75million other emotions but it is a huge relief to share this and know that I am not alone.
I have a little Grace too, she’s now 9 and a half weeks and this post has pretty much summed up my thoughts since she arrived! I also burst into tears leaving the hospital, and countless times since. One day I feel like I have nailed this parenting thing, the next I would rather sit in the shower and sob! But then they grab your finger and smile and your heart melts a little bit and you realise you wouldn’t change any of it- even the sobbing in the shower. Thank you for this post, it’s si good to know I’m not the only one!
Thank you Erin, it’s nice to know that all this crap is normal & that you are not alone isn’t it. Thanks for reading x
You are amazing and so brave and so human which is a relief because we were all starting to think you knew something the rest of us didn’t. I haven’t had a baby yet but I know it’s going to be hard. From watching my friends who’ve done it the prospect of those first few weeks scares the crap out of me. It’s good to see that it’s the same for everyone, including super human Shan Cooper, and there’s an end. There’s no way you’ll mess that baby up Shan. She’s got a great, honest, brave Mum who’s already shown her Bubba how to look a challenge in the eye and stare it down. Power to you sunshine. X
Thank you Flossy you beautiful creature. This first month has been an emotional battlefield but we are on the up I think. Thank you for your words xx
Amen… Thank you for sharing your hilarious (but oh so true) take on the first few weeks of motherhood. Remember each new day starts as a clean slate, Grace and Trav love you more each day for the sacrifices you will make. You are a fabulous mumma and all she needs xx
Thanks lady xx
It’s like you were in my head when writing this post. I have a 4 week old (my first too) and this was spot on. I kept asking my friends, why doesn’t anyone tell you this ahead of time?? I thought labor was going to be the worst of it and that was such smooth sailing compared to these past 4 weeks which seem like they will never end. Apparently it will get better…thanks for writing this!
Beckie, I hear you! I feel like the pregnancy & labour were a piece of cake compared to the psychological minefield of the first month!
Heidi Hosking says
And to think the second time around we choose to face this all again!!! You will come out the other side Shannon!! They are crazy times….
Thanks lovely, things are getting better each day x
That was really funny and honest. Well done for being able to zoom out enough to see that.
Never had a baby but starting to plan – terrifying. I’m gobsmacked by the ’40 weeks = 10 months thing’. How is that not common knowledge!?!
Best of luck!
Hey Amiee, I know re- the 40weeks bizzo. Freaking lies I tell you! It’s an amazing adventure, just be kind to yourself along the way. I wasn’t.
Angie Plews says
Grace is alive, and you’ve just written about 1200 coherent and entertaining words. I’d say that’s a win. Keep the baby alive, and eat some food… The rest will fall into place when it needs to. Good work, my lovely. xxx
Thanks Angie x
I love this. So raw and so true. You might feel like at times you are completely alone or that you aren’t “doing this” but from what I’ve seen… You are killing it. Grace is a very lucky girl to have you and Trav. You are totally killing it day by day and I think you are a super human… Even if you don’t. There i said it
Thank you Bec xx
As I am sitting here with a 4 week old gnawing on my nipples – this could not have been a better read. Thank you. Ps. When they offered me to look down and touch her head when she popped out, I screamed if someone doesn’t pull her out completely now out of my vagina, I am going to murder someone. They found me to be hilarious. I wasn’t joking.
Masha I hear you! Are these people completely mental? X
You’re hysterical! Thank you for sharing the truth of being a new mother. As a mom-to-be I appreciate all the details, especially what everyone else leaves out!
You are doing a wonderful job and Grace is lucky girl. Wishing you and your man some much-needed sleep soon!
Thank you Paula & thank you for reading my mindless dribble.
Hi Shan, the only thing i could offer you in advice when you first came home is to sleep when the baby sleeps. That had stuck in my head when i first came home from hospital with my first baby. I had no family support as we hail from overseas. I also agree that every nuance of motherhood you mentioned, every tear, every bit of doubt, fits me to the tee as well. But it WILL miraculously get better at the 6 week mark. Something happens and it will all fall into place. Now i have my eldest daughter pregnant expecting baby in June next year. I offered to come up to Mackay for a couple of weeks to help when the time comes. Daughter is very independent and i felt she would prefer to do it on her own. I will have to let her read this and hope she understands [without first hand experience] how vital a helping hand can be. You are doing a marvellous job and i am amazed you even had the time to pen this post. Keep on soldering on. Before you know it you will cry again when baby starts Prep School. That day is just around the corner. Take Care xoxo
Thank you Marion! I am learning to catch some z’s when Grace is sleeping or at the very least just lie down & rest but it is a constant battle with myself to not do the washing/cleaning/cooking etc instead. I am learning. Best of luck to your daughter and she is lucky to have a mum who wants to help! X
1000% true, you’ve absolutely nailed the experience! These are the things I am texting my friend in the UK each night as she sits up with her one week old baby girl. I am sending this to her so she can have a laugh and connect. I am a big believer in honesty about my experiences (full honesty, not just the bits you choose to share!) it is helpful to be honest. It’s may scare the $hit outta some people but damn it HELPS THEM!
Today is my little boys 1st birthday and we are celebrating because he is happy and healthy and we are sane! Pat yourself on the back often, it’s hard work and so different from any other challenge ever set. Also the most important and rewarding! My best advice is download the Wonder Weeks book. It’s helped us a lot (every baby is different but some babies are spot on with this behaviour!). Enjoy! Xxx
Thank you lovely. I have the Wonder Weeks app. It is brilliant. Yes honesty is good, hard, but good. X
As a blissfully childless person I chuckled my way through this insightful piece of writing! I really do take my hat off to mothers the world over. I couldn’t do it. No, really. I couldn’t.
You have such a way with words, just keep up that sense of humour and you will be fine.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I might take a nap. Just because I can 😉
Ha Cheryl enjoy your nap. I just took one too 😉 x
You nailed it 🙂 I was almost exactly the same, and completely unprepared for all of those feelings/things. I’m sure everyone has told you “it gets better” well it does, or you just get better at it 🙂 keep your chin up 🙂 great post!
Thank you Nat. I shall keep soldiering on x S
One word… BRAVO!!!! Every word I have just read is exactly the pain & struggles I experienced as a first time mumma. Our boy Will is now 3 and 1/2 months & FINALLY the world is making sense again!! No one ever tells you what to expect post birth (bastids!) so thank you for sharing the ‘REAL’ experience!! New mums can take comfort in knowing they’re not alone when feeling like they’re going stir crazy! To all the new mummas… READ, READ & READ AGAIN, these words will save you 🙂 PS your bubba is beautiful, love the baby sling/wrap you are wearing too. All the best to you & your family xx
Thank you Narelle! I appreciate you reading it & your kind words of support! X
wow! Just wow. I think any person who is pregnant should not read this, cos it’s frightening. No-one would have babies after reading this. But so true huh. How do we get through it? Woman are tough creatures aren’t we!?
This absolutely wasn’t meant to scare anyone! Having a baby is the most amazing thing in the world but like everything worthwhile, it comes with its difficulties & I hope this just helps mums & mums-to-be that it’s ok to struggle and it’s ok to not have it all sorted out. Thanks for reading.
Oh I know! I totally agree with you. I love your honesty of it all. And I wouldn’t change a thing either. I have 2 boys. A 2.5 year old and a 7 week old. I still can’t believe I went back for seconds!! And 2 BOYS no less eeck!! Was a great read anyway!
2 boys! You are a brave woman.
I love you Shan Cooper …..all I can say that this piece is GRACE embodied …not the beautiful baby …the energy ….you offer grace, courage, your personal truths and love with integrity and humor…this is Grace …..thankyou for all this and more darling goddess x x x
Thanks beautiful lady, it was scary to put this out there but I hope it has helped some women, and helped others to understand. X
Ain’t all that the truth ;). My best advice (3.5 years in) is that the best thing you can do is remember that every stage, no matter how annoying/difficult/wonderful/overwhelming is just a phase. While it might feel like an eternity, it does pass, promise. Putting yourself first, every so often is a necessity, an act of survival. The older the baby gets, the more you need some time for yourself.
Thank you Marnie! That is brilliant advice. Thank you for stopping by the blog. X
Emma + Carla Papas The Merrymaker Sisters says
Oh Shan! You make us laugh! This was a great read! We don’t have kids (yet) so this has prepared us well for the things they don’t tell you! WE LOVE YOU! e + c
Hehe thanks Chics. Glad I could word you up in preparation 😉 It really is the best despite my horror recount!
Luv, luv, LUV this post. Giggling away as it brought back soooo many memories of the emotional Rollercoaster that was my 1st born.
Thank you!! It’s certainly an experience isn’t it!