Mums share: An A- Z of things mums wished they’d been told before motherhood

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In my 20 months of being a mum, I have been found frequently banging my head against a wall asking – how can all us smart, savvy individuals be found stumbling into this state of motherhood as if someone got a stick and poked us in both eyes with it, and as if it hadn’t been done a zillion times before us?

I concluded in the end, that this probably wasn’t going to be a constructive course of action, but what would be was to ask fellow mums to share what they had wished people had told them before embarking on motherhood.

So here for you now, is an A-Z of the things you mums (yes you know who you are!) wished people had told you before embarking on motherhood:

A for ABSOLUTELY PERFECT

“Don’t try to be. I began motherhood trying to be the perfect mother, wife, housewife, entrepreneur and employee and believed it was possible to do it all. Until at 3am one morning, shattered and close to tears a friend posted the poem Song for a Fifth Child on Facebook:

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow. So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”

B for BLEEDING NIPPLES

“Breastfeeding is not the most natural thing in the world. In fact (aside from child birth) it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do in my life. Nobody told me my nipples would bleed, that I wouldn’t even be able to bear to wrap a towel around myself after getting out of the shower because they’d be in such tatters and so so sore!”

C for CLUELESS

“Nobody has a clue when it’s their first baby and that feeling completely out of your depth is a normal thing!”

D for DISLIKE

“Sometimes you will dislike your own child, and that is ok. Quite often you might dislike motherhood. And then you will dislike yourself for even thinking either of those things. And that’s ok because at other times you will love them and motherhood like there is no tomorrow.”

E for ENDURANCE

“We joked that our baby’s first word was going to be, ‘F#@k!’ Trying to keep breastfeeding through scabby, bleeding nips was a veritable test of endurance. However, a couple of months down the line, and a few SOS breastfeeding support calls/drop ins later, we finally cracked it (no pun intended). 14 months on and we’re still going.”

F for FEAR

“You will never feel love like when you have a child and it fills you with fear!”

G for GUILT

“You feel guilty about everything.”

H for HORMONES

“Hormones and emotions can effect and colour everything and every little decision.”

I for ISOLATING

“Being a mum can be isolating. Everyone seems to want to take over the baby yet hardly anyone really wants to get stuck in and be productively helpful for example bringing food round.”

J for JOURNEY

“The journey is never ending so enjoy the little things before like being able to go out for dinner and having a lie-ins. Things I used to take for granted I wish I could have those times again- however will never be the same because of the responsibility of having to get home or get up!”

K for KEEP READING

“Research beyond the birth. When you’re pregnant, the birth seems like the end of the journey whereas it’s actually just the start and you’ll have forgotten all about pregnancy about three hours after your baby is born. A little post birth prep would have been a good thing for me.”

L for LOVE

“You will love like you’ve never loved before.”

M for MONEY

“Time and life will cost triple henceforth.  A ticket to watch a film in a London Cinema soon becomes more because you are probably paying double that to have a sitter for the 2/3 hours the outing takes.  If you’re a little late coming back home, you will have to pay for the sitter’s taxi home too!”

N for NIPPING

“Not of the nipple kind, but that there would be no nipping. Anywhere anytime. No nipping to the shop or the loo!”

O for OPINIONS

“Everyone has an opinion on what your doing ‘oh don’t hold them too much they’ll get use to it’ or ‘let them cry it’s good for them’ ‘and why are you using that brand? It’s overwhelming.

P for PERSEVERANCE

“Breastfeeding is hard and takes perseverance. I was led to believe it was straightforward, and although I did do it, it was with real perseverance and determination.”

Q for QUIT NAGGING

“You will become the nag you never wanted to be. It might be hormones, or the lack of sleep, but it will take control of you like an angry beast!”

R for REALLY, REALLY HARD

“Actually having a baby is really, really hard. Everything is different. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way, but it’s just never going to be the same again! Even if someone tells you this, you cannot comprehend how true it is.”

S for STRAIN

“Your relationship will feel immense strain. You have to be in it together for the long haul. It’s underestimated the pressure it puts on a relationship – our other halves are no longer our priority and that’s tough for them to cope with.”

T for TRANSITION

“If you are a passionate working professional very tied to your career, expect a major identity crisis as it was the hardest life transition I’ve ever had- and if you don’t have it be grateful.”

U for UNDERESTIMATE

“Never underestimate how hard it can be find a suitable person to hand your child and childcare, and that they would easily take over where you left off when you need a rest or a break. Even when I did eventually do it, there was so much preparation in advance and worry about what was happening at home when I’d left, it felt like there were literally no breaks.”

V for VERY TEMPTING

“It’s very tempting to think that everyone else is doing it better than you. The reality is, most mums are struggling in their own way, even if they make it look like a breeze, chances are it probably isnt’!”

W for WIDE-EYED

“Nobody can prepare you for the experience.”

X for X-PECTATIONS

“Some babies just don’t ‘get ‘ breastfeeding, and will lose weight rapidly all the time you’re trying and trying and trying to force a screaming, fussing, hungry baby to your red raw nipples in the small hours. And it’s not your fault! Every baby and mum is different and for some reason it just doesn’t come ‘naturally’ to everyone but I think we are led to expect you will pop your baby out and within minutes expect to seem the beautifully suckling at your bosom!”

Y for YOUR OWN NEEDS

“The honest truth is that your life is never the same again in a myriad of ways, many of which are often left unsaid – for example, never again can you think about your own needs, because there is always someone else’s that are more important. This has a huge impact on your freedom, sense of self, and day to day.”

Z for ZZZZZs

“You will know a level of sleep deprivation that you could not possibly imagine – the words “sleep deprived” will take on a whole new meaning, and your life will be coloured by them for a significant amount of time.”

With many thanks to all the mums who contributed including Sonya D, Karima EH, Joannna H, Margot S, Claire A, Anna CC, Zoe MM, Mandeep R, Kate F, Annabel U, Suzie J, Lisa B, and all those others who chose to remain anonymous – thank you for time and thoughts! 

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