The labour – all the labour
Pre-natal classes are great but they have a big flaw – they end before the real tips are needed. The classes encouraged my partner to help write a birth plan, massage me with a wooden-legged ladybird during labour and make a salad to take to the hospital. These things were pretty useless in the much bigger picture of returning home with a baby.
We left hospital with the irrelevant birth plan, a baby and no clue of where we were headed.
I was so glad my partner came to the classes and knew as much as I did, but we really should have spent time thinking about an after-birth plan.
Luckily for me, my mum had a plan. She cooked and cleaned and my partner went back to work and we all struggled together through the night shift. My mother steered us through the early days with cups of tea, meals and folded clean laundry.
If you don’t have a helpful relative, let friends help, or get a cleaner and some frozen meals. At the very least discuss who is going to help you both and how you are going to help each other. You will need help and no new mother should have to do all the labour.
Watch: The pregnancy questions you were too afraid to ask.
The night shifts
This is a battle ground for any new mum. How are we going to both get sleep?
Before the baby came I promised my partner that he could sleep in the spare room every night because he had to work. It was at the other end of the flat, he wouldn’t even hear the baby cry.