As a young mother, having had my son at 28, I realised quite early on (through logic, of course) that no instruction manual comes with having a baby. Sure, you buy the books and read the Internet. You try the (most times unsolicited) advice from Aunties you meet at social functions (“Girl, if you want your daughter to be fair, make sure you look at pictures of fair babies every night before you sleep!” <– srsly). Advice from here: Just smile, nod and ignore.
Here’s the thing: How everything forms together on this motherhood journey is a strange, complex matrix that doesn’t come from one damn source. Bottom line, it’s a scary/beautiful place and you just have to figure things out yourself.
As a worldly woman in your 20s, there is absolutely nothing that prepares you for a baby. Doesn’t sound very comforting, right? But guess what, you. Will. Be. Okay.
Here are all the things I wished I knew about parenthood that after four years, I finally realise now.
1. Your body will change, and you will struggle with coming to terms with it, and this will make you weirdly conflicted.
This seems like an obvious thing, but aside from the outwardly changes, your body transforms in stranger ways that you think. I went on a bit of a fitness craze just before I fell pregnant and the toning and everything disappeared in an instant. Your body turns “soft” (hard to explain) and malleable. Then there are stretch marks (I somehow escaped this?) and the weight gain you care so little about at first (open mouth, insert food). Your nipples turn very very dark (#crysmile) and yes you will pee and fart all the time.
You won’t be able to sleep well and even sleeping positions will stress you out. Those horseshoe-shaped Pregnancy pillows are VERY IMPORTANT so please invest in them.
Post-natal, with breast-feeding, your breasts will never be the same. Say goodbye to the perky girls you knew throughout your twenty-hood. They are immediately a pair of unwieldly beasts that at the same time nurture and comfort and nourish your newborn but are suddenly very different. At one point you will probably cry a lot about it. Nursing bras are the most terrible, cruelest things to exist (they will never fit right but they are so very necessary in their ugly, ugly glory) and subjecting them to the breastpump every other hour will make you feel like some sort of depressed cow (so that’s how cows feel :()
You are sore after surgery/birth, you can barely walk, and you’re consigned to 40 days of confinment/pantang/prison. You will wish your old body will make its reappearance overnight and then you feel guilty for putting the needs of anything else other than your baby first.