There is definitely a certain relief that comes with delivering your child. Of course, the fact that everything went well and mama and baby are healthy is to be celebrated.
But also, just being ‘done’ with the whole pregnancy thing (carrying an extra person around inside you has its limits!) is of considerable solace too.
Still, any respite is brief… because now you have a baby to care for and nurture.
And no matter how many books you read or classes you attend, nothing will prepare you for those glorious first seven days with your newborn.
Oh, it’s most definitely wonderful – but it’s also surreal, a total blur, entirely manic and just, well, a whirlwind.
You’ll cry, you’ll laugh – you’ll wonder what you did with your life beforehand.
Here are the five unexpected things to look forward to during that first week…
1) Day is night; night is day
Newborns are awake during the night and they snooze during the day. You’ll end up both drifting off as the sun is coming up and the rest of the ‘normal’ outside world is going to work and doing the school-run.
Pretty quickly, you’ll have no idea what time, day, or date it is. Wearing your pjs (paired with a rotating trio of hoodies) doesn’t help matters.
2) Netflix
Spending hours feeding your baby in the middle of the night does have its upsides, however. Namely that your Netflix subscription will really come into its own.
It’s unlikely to be too lofty (leave Breaking Bad for another time) – but the likes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Doctor Who, and Person Of Interest will provide hours upon hours of entertainment as you (constantly) feed your newborn.
What did poor mums do before streaming? We shudder to think!
3) All the emotions
You’ll laugh, you’ll get angry and you’ll definitely cry. Then you'll cry again.
While your hormones are sending your emotions on a little bit of a roller-coaster ride, the realisation that you are a mother with a real-life baby can be totally overwhelming.
4) Incredible bonding
But that minefield of emotion does serve a purpose: it helps you to bond with your new small person. And what a bond it is. You’ll feel overwhelming love and a fierce mama bear need to nurture and protect.
There will be extra special moments during that first week – feeding, soothing and bathing.
5) The clean-up
Babies come with stuff. So much stuff! Suddenly, your home is brimming with nappies and wipes; with changing mats and cotton squares; with bulky sterilisers and feeding paraphernalia.
You’ll try – and probably fail – to keep everything in order, because ultimately it’s a losing battle. Don’t worry, tidying can wait, especially in the first few weeks.
And speaking of cleaning, there will be plenty of spit-up too. Because babies love to spew on couches, floors, pets, clothing – and most definitely their parents.