Do those women really exist?


You know the ones, the really fit ones that have a better pregnancy body than me at my best when not pregnant?


She sports a beautiful tan all year round, has toned arms, no orange peel skin, you can see where her leg finishes and her ankle begins, her hair is perfect and of course she's glowing so much she does not need make up, and don't get me started on her wardrobe.


I was totally going to be her. Every time I got pregnant, I was going to be different, I was going to be that sexy MOFO and I wasn't going to have to get up at 6am every morning to achieve it.


Let's just say that a lot of things came naturally during pregnancy; orange peel skin on my arms, yes. Skin pigmentation on my face, yes!. Eczema on my knees and elbows, yes. Fat arms and ankles..double yes! 



Oh, the joy.


All of which I told myself I would work on after pregnancy, no big deal, a little bit of dedication to my body would be all it took.


I'm on my third pregnancy now, and I still tell myself that after this one that's it, I'm going to have the body I've always dreamt of. 


My first pregnancy was the worst, so any pregnancy that followed was going to be a walk in the park . Now, my third is becoming more like a wheelchair ride in the park if my pelvis keeps going the way it is - it has me walking with legs spread, ass cocked out, and a face like I just stepped in dog poop.


The stigma about pregnancy has changed a lot recently. Four years ago when I first fell pregnant, I felt the midwives and doctors put the fear of God into me about what you should and should not be doing. I felt like they would judge me if I didn't breastfeed too. 


I didn't know any different so went along with whatever they told me because THEY are the professionals after all.  In my next two pregnancies, breastfeeding has not been mentioned to me once.


After giving birth to Jesse my second baby, the midwives thought they might need to keep him over night in the extra care unit while I stayed in the normal aftercare ward downstairs, and so I asked what will that mean for me feeding him, to which they responded: "we will give him a bottle".


Now, if that was when I had Riley over 3 years ago it would have been a whole different ball game. I'm pretty sure they would have chained me to his bedside with my boob hanging over his nose just in case he fancied a sniff.


If it's something you choose not to do or you simply cannot do it, please try not to be hard on yourself and don't think you will be missing out on a special bond because that is not necessarily the case. You and your baby will bond just fine whatever choices you make on feeding them. 


BUT... if you do decide to breastfeed, let me give you a couple of tips that you may not be expecting. 



1. Day Three is a bag of dicks


By the end of it, you will be frantically searching your hospital notes for the details of the Stork and a returns label, but I assure you it gets better. Well, it gets worse first but then it gets better.


So day 3 works like this. Baby is getting used to being on the outside and is now ready for a proper feed, not the yellow drizzle they call colostrum, they want the white stuff and won't stop until they get it. Unfortunately, all you got is the yellow drizzle, but your new little bundle of wrinkles is just going to keep on sucking until that changes. So that's what happen ALL NIGHT LONG. 


2. Keep swapping boobs


I didn't know to do this with my first born and as it was more comfortable to hold him on one side that's what I did and ended up with one Pamela Anderson size boob and one Keira Knightly size boob... great look as you can imagine. What I meant by 'it gets worse, then better' is that after all your baby's hard work at getting your milk to come through, you are now left with the burning pain of the devil on your burger sized bleeding cracked nipples. 


3. The Latch


For the next day or two, hold your breath and curl your toes when your baby first latches on, and count.. just start counting. It will ease off by the time you hit 60 and by day 5 the pain is gone. If it's something you really want to do, just know you need to persevere with that couple of days and it all gets a lot easier I promise.


4. Pumptastic


If you are going to leave your baby to go away for a night and plan on pumping during that night to keep the flow normal for when you get back to baby, DO IT. A full night sleep without having to get up to feed the baby is very tempting, but when you don't pump and wake up drowning in your own breast milk feeling like someone has chained two kettle bells around your neck and left them hanging where your boobs should be then you realise, pumping for 10 minutes and going back to sleep is a much better option than the full night sleep... just saying.



5. Plan the pee


As for going pee pee after birth, take a bottle of luke warm water to the toilet with you and pour it over your foof as you go. It's simply the only way. If they offer you laxatives for your first poop, take the frickin' laxatives! The easier that bad boy comes out the better. 


6. Cry it out


I'm sure you will have heard of 'the baby blues' that come in the days after your baby is born. Don't be ashamed of them or try to hide them. In fact, tell your partner about them before you even give birth because you can be sure he won't have had a clue about them.


Let him know what to expect and not to worry or think you are going crazy, just tell him.. you're going to cry over dinner, halfway through laughing at a joke, in the middle of the night, and probably when he simply gives you a hug. In other words, just deal with it. Everyone goes through them, your body has been through so much change and your hormones will be everywhere so don't think it's anything less than normal. Have a big old cry and you will feel much better.


Luckily, because we are so open about things, pregnancy is not so scary anymore. People share their stories and have given up on pretending to know exactly what they are doing.


Now, off I go for my 40th pee of the day.. peace out mommas xxx

Lindsay O'Flaherty is a 31-year-old Irish Mammy living in Hertfordshire. I wanted to just be Mary Poppins but my kids broke my umbrella...and everything else I own so now I write about all things life and parenting as we know it. I have three kids aged three and under. It helps to laugh so let's laugh together. Follow Lindsay's blog Mary Not So Poppins.
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