1. That your life will soon get back to normal.... when the reality is that there will be days when you will have to choose either sleeping, eating or bathing! You are creating a new kind of normal - and even that won't last forever.
2. That your body will be the same...when it will probably either get bigger, smaller, differently shaped, have new scars or stretchmarks, and you will learn about body parts you never knew you had... How brave are you feeling because the changes are both internal and external!
3. That your child will have a ‘normal' development. Yes babies are measured from the moment they pop out (using the APGAR Score) against ‘norms' that are usually not applicable. Every child develops at their own pace - there are a range of normals so don't beat yourself - or them - up. And don't' beat your child up if he/she doesn't' instantly love a new addition. (See also point 4 below)
4. That you will love your newborn instantly and forever unconditionally. If you have had a tough birth, love and connection can take time to come; likewise you are not a ‘bad mother' if you don't love being with your child every minute of every day. You still have a your own life.
5. If you had a crappy birth experience you soon forget it - you never forget it! But a second or subsequent birth where woman feels she was the centre of the experience can go a long way to healing things.
6. All babies should sleep through the night...Ha! Learn to sleep when your baby does and save yourself untold misery. Learn about the different techniques developed to help ease your child into better sleeping. Most work - and although it won't seem like it at the time when you've been up every hour every night for the past week - it will be worth it.
7. Artificial milk is just as good as breast milk. It isn't. The benefits of breastfeeding are manifold - from establishing a connection with your baby to preventing long-term and wide ranging health risks.
8. Birth is the hard part all the other decisions are easy - i.e. vaccination, school, child care, housework. Each stage of your child's life will bring new challenges.
9. Your value as a mother is directly related to how much stuff you buy your child. Save your money most of the stuff they try to sell parents is completely unnecessary. What your child needs is your time and attention. So turn off your bloody mobile for a while!
10. That there will be no strain on your marriage / with your partner. There will! Look at the idea of his and her pregnancy continuing as his and her parenthood. Dads often feel left out especially if mum is breastfeeding and/or sex is off the agenda - no one tells them to expect and prepare for this. Good for parents to talk about this beforehand - a new normal for relationships too!
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