Having a baby is a joyous and life-changing event in any parent’s life, but it’s also something that is surrounded by misinformation and labor horror stories. For some, the process of having a baby feels easy compared to what they expected, though for others the road to parenthood is bumpy and full of twists and turns.
So, here are six facts about having a baby you may not know so you can be better prepared:
- You may not be instantly in love with your baby, and that’s okay. When we watch scenes of people who have just given birth on television or in movies, they always forget the trauma of childbirth the moment the baby is in their arms, but in real life it may take time to develop the strong mother-child bond you expect.
- Contractions can be the worst part. If you plan to get an epidural then you may find that the contractions beforehand is the worst pain you feel during your labor, and they often feel like severe menstrual cramps.
- Despite what Hollywood may lead you to believe, most mothers still look pregnant for a month or more after giving birth, though fortunately, not nine-months pregnant. This is because it takes time for the uterus to shrink and the abdominal wall to recover.
- Again, contrary to the stories we read and watch, water doesn’t always break before labor, and if it does it’s not just a small puddle on the floor. Some mothers never experience their water breaking, and a doctor has to break the amniotic sac if the cervix is already dilated.
- Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. A lot of new mothers struggle with breastfeeding at first, either because the baby won’t drink or because they find it too painful to bear. Though it is the way we have been ‘designed’ to feed our children, it is not often easy and straightforward. There are even lactation consultants whose whole job is helping mothers breastfeed their babies!
- It’s not all over when the baby’s out. In fact, if the baby was delivered naturally, the placenta still must be delivered, though of course this takes much less effort than delivering a child! Another thing to consider is post-birth bleeding. Many new mothers are surprised by the amount they bleed for up to six weeks after they gave birth, so wearing a pad is advised until the bleeding stops.