Sunday, 16 March 2014

What they never told you about having a child

There is a time in every infertile-turned-parent-blogger's life when we are compelled to write the obligatory "what they didn't tell you about being a mother" post.

These posts generally take one of two routes:

1) The graphic "what has this done to my body" route? Why did no one tell me about stitches/ hernias/ incontinence/ droopy boobs/ leaky boobs etc. Possibly my friends who have had babies lack any sense of shame, or boundaries, but I was pretty clued up on the whole physical side effects of birth. I mean, don't get me wrong I was as shocked and revolted as anyone else the first time I heard that many women shit themselves when giving birth ... when I was 11. But nothing much has surprised me from that side.

2) The slushy "I never knew I could feel this way" post. In which the blogger rhapsodises about how they thought they had known love before but nothing could prepare them for this out-pouring of love and devotion that they feel now they are a mother. This has annoyed me in the past and annoys me now. Don't get me wrong, I am well aware that I have done my fair share of infatuated blogging since having Olive but I was prepared to feel like this. How I feel about her is everything I ever imagined, but it is just that - what I imagined.

Remember when Maeve Binchy died? There was an article about whether her writing would have been better if she had experienced motherhood? The article is here.

The final paragraph is the killer:
"Binchy, whose first novel was about a 20-year friendship between two women, didn’t need the experience of motherhood to write about love and friendship in a way that charmed millions. But she might have dug deeper, charming less but enlightening more, had she done so."

Frankly the article says more about the journalist's lack of imagination than the author's.

You pretty much know that having a baby is going to result in sleepless nights, cleaning up every body fluid known to man (and a few as yet unidentified) and you don't even get a decent conversation out of it.  All that work for the reward of a few smiles - some days not even them? Of course you are going to love them deeply, irrationally, totally and completely. Babies wouldn't makes it past the first three months if this didn't kick in.

So this post is a relentlessly practical one. Things that I genuinely never knew. Discovering them (mostly through the help of my NCT buddies who share these hidden secrets) has revolutionised child rearing.

A) Why baby's vest are made like that.

See the neck line of this vest? You know the overlapping bit at the side?  I assumed that was to get them easily over a babies head. Makes sense right?

And then that day happens. The day when you wake up to a literal shit storm. It is everywhere; up the back, pooling in the foot, hidden in every fat roll, and smeared over the inside of the vest.  The last thing you want to do is pull it over your little one's head. That is where the genius of these little neck holes come into their own.

Because, you don't take the vest over the head... you open it and pull it off over their hips.


But no one ever tells you that. You heard it here first.

B) Nappies.

Nappies are pretty easy to put on, right? As long as they aren't back to front, or inside out you are laughing. Or so I thought. Then I realised there was one extra adjustment needed to ensure the perfect seal (to stop that shit storm described above happening).

Nappies have a sort of frill inside them. When you put the nappy on rather than tucking the frill in, like so:

Flick it out, like so:

If I have saved one person the hell of a leaky nappy my job here is done.

C) Sleeping through the night

What would you say constitutes "sleeping through the night"? I would have thought it was pretty obvious it is when the baby sleeps from when you go to bed until you wake up (with a half hour leniency either side). Apparently not.

If your baby sleeps in a continuos stretch for five hours this is counted as sleeping through. This means that if your baby goes to sleep at 7pm and then wakes at midnight, or sleeps from 10pm to three am, that counts as sleeping through the night. Which is clearly insane.

In theory based on that Olive has slept through the night on several occasions. She isn't a bad little sleeper but still needs a boob feed at about four in the morning to push on through until six thirty (which I still count as night time). On the plus side the clocks go forward at the end of this month so maybe I'll get the luxury of a lie in until seven thirty, but I'm holding out for that night when she doesn't need her midnight snack. Then, and only then, will I consider her having slept through the night.


Too much baby talk? Read this before you comment.


  1. no.way

    is that really what the top is designed? are you playing silly buggers on me!!

    and sorry for the snide comment. blogger loves eating my comments from my phone but seriously POST. You have wonderful way with words and even when I was deep in my infertility I always liked reading those parenting after infertility to remind myself that one day it could be me. Sure sometimes it was hard (after a failed cycle) but it did give me strength. Perhaps that lady was having a bad day - no excuse - but just hit that publish button ;)

  2. Wow. I had NO idea that was possible, to pull the shirt down instead of up! And I'm a two-time mom! No one tells you that for sure!! Thanks for the tip!

  3. With the boys, if there was that much poo my perfected method of onsie (vest?) removal was SISSORS!

  4. I have 3 under 3 and never knew that about the vests either! I thought it was to cope with the enormous heads my smallies have.... Mind you, for the epic poos (i.e poo in the sleeves!), I have been known to just through the vests in the bin.

    Oh and sleep through the night - it only applies when mum gets to sleep through the night. All other definitions are rubbish. Still waiting on the twins to have a sleep through - almost 12 later....

    So nice to be able to comment - whenever I comment on my ipad, it just gets eaten, which has happened way too many times.

    Hope the lovely olive is being good to you.

  5. Remember when you were funny and not so angry? Add me to the list of people who won't be ready anymore. PEACE!

    1. LOLZ!!! Nice one.

      (I don't have a list)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Another just bitchy comment. May they go about their own lives with less anger than they show on the interwebs. (deleted and reposted to fix typos!)

  6. reading - not ready

  7. damn, I didn't know that about the vests.

    and the frill. how does it make so much difference?!

  8. It never occurred to me to pull those things down. Would have saved me a couple of occurrences of sh*t-stained baby. :(

    No wonder all those people brag about their babies sleeping through the night right away!

  9. Why do people insist on telling you they no longer wish to read your blog anymore as if you write it only for them and you will miss them?! Bizarre. I love reading your blog, i have read it from my own battles with infertility to now with two under two, and i will keep reading you. Thank you for still posting x

    1. Agreed. And in same boat. I've read your story since I started TTC to now, TTC #3. :) Don't think on these people at all. And blog on.

  10. HA! I have two kids and you taught me something. Never would have thought to pull the shirt down. :)

  11. seems I am not the only one that didn't realise that about the vests.



I've resisted word verification for ages but I'm getting so many spam comments at the moment that I think it is time. Sorry!