Recently, I talked a little about how unprepared I was for childbirth. The experience was in equal parts disgusting, surprising and magical and ended in the acquisition of a newborn child. Today, I'd like to follow-up with a few things I didn't expect post-birth.
1. A Predator Exists in the Maternity Ward (in the UK at least)
She's called the Bounty Lady, she has a camera and she wants your money.
Yeah, so, I'm being kind of harsh. Still… a woman comes around, offers to take some photos (for a fee), gives you a pack containing information and some very small samples of things (like bum cream). She'll also sell your information off for marketing purposes if you don't opt out.
2. There's a Science to this S***
People talk about babies and poop all the time. What they don't always say is:
- It starts out like tar.
- The colour changes, much of it reflecting different shades of curry.
- A couple of days without a poop aren't uncommon, you could be looking at weeks though. The baby's mood will reflect this.
You not only spend most of the day with your hands in and/or around a small human's a*** but you'll find yourself talking, Googling and studying your own child's output an alarming amount of time.
3. Colic is a Thing…
…and it is just another way of the health visitor saying your baby is fussy and she has no bloody idea why.
Some symptoms of Colic are:
- Crying for 3 or more hours a day.
- A more intense and different cry than the baby typically uses.
- Crying regularly specific to certain times of day.
- Flushed face.
- Clenching of fists, arching of back or movements involving bringing their legs up to their tummy.
Paplaite #1, the Boy-Child had colic.
This meant that he would be miserable for hours-on-end for no apparent reason, usually in the evening when I was home for work and my wife would like to watch TV. During this time, he would be inconsolable whatever my wife and I did to alleviate his discomfort.
I'm not even sure it was colic, not all the time anyway, the doctors and health visitors were keen to throw out this diagnosis along with wide-variety of tips and tricks to aid him, but they were equally keen to blame acid-reflux. I doubt they had a bloody clue to be honest.
Whatever it was, it was a living hell.
4. Everyone is an Expert
I mean, seriously SUSAN, it's great that you know my child has to be fed at these times, cannot fall asleep on my wife's tit and must always be at this angle but how do we shut the damn thing up.
You know what Susan? Bugger off!
Every newborn child, every child in general actually, is unique.
This does not stop everyone from telling you what to do and how to do it.
Sooner or later you'll learn to brush this off but at first, people will make you (and your partner if one is present) feel like an absolutely terrible parent.
Common sense prevails; everything else can just go away.
5. They're Noisy
It's not just the crying (but of-course there is that).
They fart louder than a 300lbs pensioner (or at least it seems that way), sneeze all the time and can have hiccups that last hours if not days.
In the case of Paplaite #2, that girl was (and still is) a kicker. 3am she'd be fast asleep, kicking the sides of her crib – so that, you know, you don't accidentally get any sleep or regain your sanity or anything.
6. Babies are Gannets
They feed so much. Especially breastfed ones.
We had moments with our kids, the oldest especially where they were feeding every ten to fifteen minutes, especially at night. My wife and I talked about moving to bottle more than once to take this pressure off of her. Sometimes I wish we did. It would have alleviated some struggles that came to light at this time.
While I'm here, can I also ask that people stop throwing out that "Breast is Best" BS? If you believe it, fine, whatever but in pushing this you are shaming women who cannot of physical or mental reasons and giving numerous parents undeserved inferiority issues. Don't be a dick.
7. There's a Lot of Crying
I don't mean the baby.
Bringing a newborn child into your life can be traumatic.
I don't just mean the birth part, I mean both childbirth and C-section can have massive psychological impacts under certain scenarios. Neither do I just mean the struggle many women (my wife included) face trying to breastfeed or the guilt formula mummies and daddies are put through. I mean all of it, the social pressure, the influx of visitors, the change in lifestyle the lack of sleep and so-on.
Natural or not, bringing life into the world causes trauma to many and with or without support there will be tears. That's OK though, it is natural for either or both parents to feel that way.
How about you readers, what little surprises did you get on bringing your newborn(s) home?