The truth about becoming a parent: Why giving birth is the easy bit

Before you freak out, I’m not saying I had an easy birth…far from it…in fact I remember thinking of several occasions that I might very well be dying. But I remember very foolishly thinking that once the childbirth was over, everything would basically be fine and just fall into place. Oh ho ho. How wrong I was. Then there was the whole becoming a parent bit.

For some bizarre reason we spent the nine months of our pregnancy preparing for D Day when quite frankly we would probably have done a lot better to get our heads sorted about what was to come on the other side – i.e. actually having that baby who then grows into a boddler, then toddler, then threenager yadda yadda yadda.

And what is yet to come could very well last three years of pushing to get through to that light at the end of the tunnel, as opposed to the 24 or 48 hours of childbirth give or take 12 hours either side to push a baby out (or however you end up delivering) which quite frankly after my almost four years of being a parent makes childbirth now look like a fleeting piece of piss in comparison.

Because the real major life changing stufffshit

goes down once you leave that hospital and return to the minefield of your previously zen home as you navigate a never ending deluge of pee, poo, puke, nappy explosions, breast or bottle feeding fails, sleep deprivation and sleep regressions, arching of backs, and general zombie like the apocalypse.

And while it’s true that it does all get better – yup they learn to eat and sleep properly eventually – the fact of the matter is, it’s not like after that you can just sit around, kick back and relax. You fool! Of course not.

All the challenges of the first year (which are of course sweetened by the first smiles, words, crawls) are then replaced by the utter carnage that is toddlerhood which is basically like the world’s worst and most angry dictator has decided to set up camp in your house..god help you. Although of course there are many amazing and beautiful moments to keep you going through the carnage which means I wouldn’t change anything for the world apart from the grey hairs it gave me!

Then there are the threes – which was still hard work but THANK THE LORD! you can actually reason with them and say bye bye to all those hellish sleep regressions and that non-sensical defiant behaviour as they actually begin to turn into something resembling a proper little boy or girl…HUZZAH! Honestly, my favourite bit yet, but still not without its challenges.

Now I’m half way through my fourth year of being a parent (read more on living with a four year old here) which is when I feel like I have finally come into my own as a mum, the bottom line is this: if someone could fast forward the first three years of their lives, or perhaps just hand me a three year old at each childbirth rather than a screaming alien baby who would then morph into a calamity of a toddler I would happily have eight children. But knowing with all the cruelty of hindsight that childbirth really is the easiest part in the becoming a parent story, I honestly just don’t know if I could do all the bad bits again, no matter how many amazingly good bits there have also been.

Were you under the impression that childbirth was going to be hardest part in your journey to becoming a parent? How has your view changed since then? Do share a comment below.

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  1. it’s so true the hard work does start as soon as you get home . Growing the baby was the easy bit . The sleep deprivation and toddler tantrums are the hard part !!

  2. I feel you completely! My daughter has been ill since birth so the first two years of her life haven’t been the best years of my life, I’d love to be handed some toddlers…!

  3. I totally get this! I think we all have a stage that we handle really well. I’m definitely not a baby person, but I loved my son as a toddler. 3 has been hard, so I’m looking forward to 4 (and I’ll have a toddler at the same time, so I’m desperately hoping he’s as lovely a toddler as his brother was!)

  4. I love how real you are and I think you are right in saying that it gets harder after they are born. I am not a parent but I grew up around a lot of children, my foster sister for the first year of her life barely slept and screamed all the time as she was in pain. She still does not sleep much now but she is a happy go lucky girl now x

  5. I think I’d be the same. Worrying about the birth and then being given this wonderful baby and thinking “what now?” I’m excited for my time to come but nervous all the same.


  6. Have you been inside my brain and pulled these exact thoughts out of my head to write this?! Honestly, this is exactly how I feel!! Great post. Good to know I’m not alone in feeling like this

  7. First year was relatively easy with both kids …year two I though holy cow terrible twos are terrible, then came the threenager and now im at the for fox sake fours Its a continuing challenge and you’re so right the births the easy bit – at least there were meds Great post as always #coolmumclub

  8. Yes, it is so true. Labour was definitely the easy bit. After labour came breastfeeding and sleepless nights and reflux and colic and weaning and tantrums and potty training and snot – so much snot. And then to top it all off I realised that I didn’t know who I was any more.

    I’d do it all again though. I must be bonkers. Pen xx. #coolmumclub

  9. Haha could not agree with you more. My births were a treat compared to what followed I have a defiant toddler and a newborn atm I must be crazy plus the fact I worked with 0-5’s before my maternity leave!

  10. Yep giving birth is painful. But the big change is getting home for the first time as a mother and feeling totally overwhelmed and the first six months is solid physically and mentally X #coolmumclub

  11. Amen to all of that! I keep saying to my friends that life starts again after the child tuns 4. This is what keeps me going with the little one :D.

  12. So apt.
    Although in many cases a difficult birth could lead to an even more difficult fourth trimester. I remember the first three months all too well. #coolmumclub

  13. At the time giving birth is horrific, but I would have traded that in for a few cracked nippled 4 am breast feeds any day. We got off lightly with the terrible twos but the life of a threenager was again something no one prepares you for! #coolmumclub

  14. I completely agree! giving birth was the easy part, even in hospital the pushing was easier than the contractions, and I make sure I tell every pregnant mama I know about that! Worst part for me was the end of the OH’s paternity leave. 2 weeks and then you’re alone, it’s a scary world as a new mummy… #coolmumclub

  15. Hahaha! I can completely relate to this! Although I was super lucky with my eldest, I skipped the first 3 years as I’m a step mum to her and she was 3 and a half when I joined the family! But my son has just turned two (literally 2 days ago) and it’s like someone flicked a switch to “terrible twos” and all we have had are tantrums!! Can’t wait for them to be over!! #coolmumclub

  16. I think there is no real way to describe child birth because it is a crazy experience and it is different for every woman and every pregnancy. I think all moms expect the worst from all of the horror stories and rumors they hear.
    Once that day is over, you can forget about it. Life will never be the same in the best way… and in a way that makes you want to tear all your hair out and hibernate. But we wouldn’t have it any other way!

  17. Couldn’t agree more. Having had three pretty grim deliveries, I still say that O quite enjoy the rollercoaster of childbirth. I guess it’s a bit like running a marathon, you know it’s going to be hard, but it’s a challenge! The raising a child part, now that is something which I was never prepared for!

    Big #CoolMumClub high five to you M to the RD xx

  18. I never planned past the birth and who can really plan for birth anyway? Wait until you get to the tween and teen challenges and my late Mum said the problems just get bigger as they get older! #CoolMumClub

  19. Oh you are so right! Birth really is just the start of it, I definitely didn’t prepare myself enough the first time around – the toddler stage is just chaotic! I do love having a newborn baby though so I would happily do it all again xx #coolmumclub

  20. Loving the term boddler. I certainly think that of my youngest and my eldest broke down over having water instead of squash yesterday so it’s official I’ve a threenager on my hands! There are certainly good and bad times throughout. #CoolMumClub

  21. Wow sounds like so many people can relate to this which I’m kinda relieved to hear because I wasn’t sure if I was the only one when writing this! x

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