We wished someone had told us the following before we had our babies...
Labour varies for every woman. We both had very different experiences and, if you've heard lots of horror stories, remember the outcome is the best thing ever. Otherwise we wouldn't go on to have more babies!.
1. When your waters break, they don't just break once, they continue to leak out until your baby is born (no one informed us of this and we weren't expecting Niagara Falls every half hour of labour). You may need to buy more maternity pads than you anticipated if you weren't aware of this either. We recommend Natracare maternity pads, buy them here.
2. You will have the mother of all periods after the birth and feel like you'll have to wear (HUGE) sanitary pads for the rest of your life (you won't). But, again, best to stock up on the old sannies.
3. You will need to rest - your body has experienced major trauma. Don't plan lots of visits or excursions for the first few weeks. Take it easy.
4. You will be tired but you will get used to having less sleep and will soon adjust. Paternity leave was invented for a reason - boss your partner around as much as you like while they're off work.
5. You may need to have surgery and/or stitches. Don't be scared, you are in safe hands. (R was terrified of surgery and had to be rushed into theatre during labour but was made to feel completely at ease and everything went smoothly). Read our list of how best to care for your stitches so they heal quickly.
6. You will feel overwhelmed. Fact. It doesn't last forever.
7. If breastfeeding is hard, you are not alone. Talk to people and don't put pressure on yourself. There are a lot of options out there. See our Local Help list.
8. Feeling low doesn't mean you're depressed. Your hormones will be all over the place and you will be seriously sleep deprived - allow yourself to have a cry if you need to. It's normal :)
9. If you don't bond with your baby straight away don't panic, you're not a bad parent. The bond will come.
10. So. much. washing. How can such a little person be the cause of so much dirty laundry? It seems never ending...
10. Your baby will cure all the rubbish-ness of birth and it's aftermath. Look at your beautiful child whenever you feel down or in pain and those feelings will ease. Promise.