When our precious baby boy arrived a month earlier than we expected in February last year, he caught us with our pants down, quite literally.
The nursery was nowhere near ready. We had no bassinet or baby bath. No nappies or wipes. We picked up a car seat four days earlier but it was yet to be fitted. We were totally unprepared to bring a newborn into our home.
Yet our unpreparedness on the home front paled in comparison to how unprepared we were for parenthood. Real parenthood, that is. Not the shiny, stain-free, kind of parenthood you see in Huggies TV commercials and littered across Nashville-filtered Instagram accounts.
By the time our son Jack arrived, my twin sister Natasha had already brought three beautiful girls into the world. As a besotted, child-free aunt I had spent many hours with my blue-eyed nieces - feeding and bathing them, changing their nappies, pushing them on swings and lying with them until they dozed off to sleep.
I had watched my sister juggle the demands of three small children, often on very little sleep, to know what motherhood would be like (or so I thought).
In reality, I had no bloody idea.
I loved my newborn son. I really did. But I longed for a life that even remotely resembled my old one - where I could eat a meal with two hands, sleep for more than two hours at a time and get through the day without crying.
And yet as I scrolled through my Facebook and Instagram accounts - as I often did while breastfeeding in the middle of the night - I came across image after image of happy couples with perfect hair and perfect clothes planting kisses on their bald-headed babies, as if parenthood was one big loved-up party.
I was lucky to have a shower, let alone blow dry my hair. And as for my husband, well, I wanted to punch him in the nose most days - for snoring; for leaving his shirt on the floor; for working too late or playing games on his iPhone when there was a basket of washing that needed to be folded. Because this motherhood business was really hard and it had to be someone's fault. Right?
I counted down the weeks until my first mother's group where I would hear other horror stories of mothers struggling to breastfeed and get their babies to sleep. The day came around. The horror stories didn’t.
Thankfully my sister had enough tales of tears and tantrums - her own, as well as her children's - to ensure I didn't feel like the only mother in the world who wasn't sure she had a handle on this parenting game.
My sister and I have spoken often and passionately about how important it is for mothers to be able to speak more openly and honestly about the motherhood journey - to be able to share with each other and on social media the great bits and the really shitty bits in equal measure.