For parents-to-be, there is an overwhelming amount of information and guidance for carrying and then delivering your baby. Whatever type of pregnancy or birth you hope to have, there's a library of apps, books, websites and experts to answer your questions.
But once the birthing is done and the experts have left you and your baby to it, there is a lot less support for the postpartum phase, commonly referred to as the 'fourth trimester'.
I am a mum of two boys and while I had considered what the fourth trimester might be like, I still felt highly anxious taking my baby home for the first time.
Watch: The Mamamia team talk about what they wish they knew before giving birth. Post continues below.
I was sore and physically fragile from the c-section, and I wasn't really comfortable breastfeeding, especially not in front of the constant stream of visitors. I was tired, emotional and unsure about what was 'normal', and at the time I wished there were more available resources and honest accounts about this intense phase of new mum life.
Thankfully, times have changed since I had my first son in 2010. More women, like these 20 mums from our Mamamia community, are sharing their fourth trimester experiences - helping other mums to feel less alone.
1. "I felt really isolated."
"I found baby number two so much harder. There was no 'mums group' set-up like you have for your first baby so I felt really isolated and lockdowns didn’t help. For months and months, I was so stiff and sore getting out of bed - it was like I was suddenly 100 years old. Apparently this is quite normal!" - Adele.
2. "Mastitis was hell."
"Breastfeeding was difficult for me, I felt a lot of guilt around that - and mastitis was hell! I remember feeling so raw and vulnerable and like I had to have visitors. Looking back, I would have set more boundaries around that but there were lots of things to love about that phase too." - Amahlee.
3. "Loved the cuddles, but felt super anxious."
"I actually loved the fourth trimester with my baby, I loved all the cuddles and special bonding time. However, I had a c-section and had some complications for a few weeks afterwards and this made me super anxious. So while I felt confident as a parent, I was constantly worrying about getting better and how to manage that while being a good mum." - Oceane.