Being a new Mum is hard - whether it's the first, second or tenth time you're doing it. There are so many things I did as a new mum with my first child that I knew I shouldn't when I became a Mum for the second time.
But these things are just so hard to avoid!
If you're a new Mum (or a soon-to-become-one), and you have more willpower than me, these are the things you really shouldn't do. But that you'll go ahead and do anyway.....
You will Google everything ("how long did your postpartum bleeding last, when will my baby sleep through the night, what temperature should my baby be, when did your periods return, how long after the birth until you had sex, when should my baby roll over?" etc etc etc times a million). Google will helpfully give you a myriad of answers but your paranoid new Mummy brain will automatically be drawn to the most sombre option. And then despite reading hundreds of contradictory statements, you will only fixate on the one which puts you and your baby in mortal danger. You will lose all rational thought and will assume, thanks to Google, that the reason your baby is a little bit hot is clearly the result of a horrendous illness and not the six layers of clothes you've dressed him in.
2. Compare yourself to others.
You will do this. No matter how self assured and happy with your choices and intents, you will compare yourself to fellow Mums. Naturally, after two months of sleepless nights, when you choose to give up breastfeeding because you're physically and emotionally exhausted, you will head to Tesco Express in your pyjama bottoms to buy formula and wine, and who will you see? You will see a fellow new Mum pushing her double pram (yes, she had twins), in her leather jacket, skinny jeans and heels with perfectly coiffed hair and manicured nails, buying organic water because she's managing to feed not one, but two babies. You will feel categorically crap.
Please Note: This new Mum is undoubtedly amazing for feeding twins, but they are her fourth and fifth babies and she is a lactation consultant. She has just spent two hours at the salon whilst the twins had an afternoon with Nanny and you didn't see her buy four boxes of Jaffa Cakes yesterday and consume them in their entirety last night.
Please Note: You will not take note at all and will still feel shite.
3. Compare your baby to others.
This has the added feel-good value of directly contributing to point 2. In fact, when you compare your baby, you will actually then of course fully take responsibility for whatever it is your baby is/is not doing. You will catch up with all your new Mum mates who will chat happily about the eight hours solid sleep they are getting each night, how their little one is rolling over ("he just wont stay on his front for tummy time!" - fake annoyance to actually demonstrate how ahead her child is). They will sit their babies up whilst yours still resembles a Weeble except he wobbles and he does fall down. They will demonstrate to claps and shrieks from fellow adoring mummies how their little girl can 'clap, clap, clap, clap' (the repetition is necessary to really hammer home how clever she is).
You will then go home and do nothing but practise rolling, sitting and clapping and you will Google over and over (see point 1) "how can I get my baby to sleep for eight hours?" Rest assured, as a teacher of Early Years, I have yet to encounter a four year old who couldn't roll over, sit up or clap. They will do it when they are ready.
I remember being pregnant with my first and feeling so incredibly blessed to be so. I watched a segment on This Morning with a woman who couldn't conceive. She was arguing that women with children have no right to moan or complain because they are so lucky to have children. I remember thinking "I totally agree with you lady - I will never moan about my children."
Ahem. It turns out I was a bit of an idiot. I have realised that this mind frame is a little bit ridiculous. It's like saying "You can't moan about your job because you're lucky to have one" or "You can't complain about your house because so many people would love to own their own house." Or "You shouldn't moan about your other half because some people would give anything to have someone to share their life with." All valid, but totally unrealistic, points.
Us new Mums are so lucky to have our little ones. We really shouldn't moan. But we do. Because we are so bloody tired. And also because raising humans is hard bloody work.
5. Buy stuff you don't need.
And by 'you' I mean 'the baby'. He can't walk, even though Billy from antenatal can (see point 3). But you're going to spend £10 on a pair of the most adorable shoes from Next because they are adorable and your baby will look adorable in them. Until they remove them and chew them. Ditto dressing gowns. They shouldn't even make these for six month olds (yep, I own a 6-9 month dressing gown) because how many six month olds just lounge around in their pyjamas for hours getting chilly? They don't. They sleep in pyjamas and then they wake up and you dress them (probably because they've peed, or worse, over said pyjamas). If they're cold, you put a blanket over them or shove another layer on. You do not put a dressing gown on them. If ever there was an item of clothing more impractical for a six month old than a dressing gown, please let me know. Answers on a postcard.
6. Post surplus baby photos on social media.
Many new Mums actually do manage this - but I presume it takes immense self control not to post photos every. single. day. Because your own baby is literally the cutest baby that has ever been born in the history of the world. And even though us new Mums know that Derek from work doesn't really want, or need, to see a picture of Sonny's first ever bath, we post pictures anyway because we just cannot help ourselves.
Who doesn't love a first bath pic?!
Actually this last point isn't only specific to new Mums. You only have to look at the thousands of 'first day of school' photos on Facebook and Twitter in recent years.
But I think we can forgive ourselves this one. No. We can allow ourselves this one. Because we only do this because we are so damn proud.
Even if our baby is the last one at baby sensory to bloody crawl.