> The Beesley Buzz: If Only I'd Known...

If Only I'd Known...

...having a baby changes your life.
If only I'd known... having a baby changes your life. But everyone knows that, right? It's obvious, surely.
To celebrate the launch of their new App, Aptaclub has teamed up with Little Stuff to challenge bloggers to think about what they wish they'd known when having a baby.
So let's try again. If only I'd known... having a baby CHANGES your life.
That's a bit more accurate now, for here's the dictionary definition of 'change.'
Change: [cheynj], vt to alter or make different;
So your life will be altered. Your life will be different. Right? WRONG! That still doesn't quite explain it. So I looked up the word 'change' in the thesaurus to see if that offered a better explanation and that's when I felt some progress had been made. 
Thesaurus entry for Change: metamorphosis, revolution, transformation. 
Now we can go back to the topic at hand. If only I'd known... having a baby changes [metamorphosises, revolutionises, and transforms] your life.  
So now we have established that, I can turn to what else I wish I had known. If only I'd known... having a baby changes YOUR life. What you once thought was yours, all of a sudden no longer is. Your body is no longer your own. Once your new baby arrives, if you have any time to stand and look in the mirror (which you most probably won't as you will struggle to even find time to pop to the loo!) you may well be faced with a body that has changed shape beyond all recognition. 
Those enlarged boobs, that wobbly belly, the out of proportion hips and thighs...it feels a little like standing in front of one of those mirrors you get at the circus that distorts everything to look funny.
And those boobs really won't be your own. Mine became a milk factory with a mind of their own producing masses of milk and just dripped and squirted and sprayed everywhere. A humble square piece of white fabric commonly known as a muslin cloth quickly became my best friend, not only to mop up baby sick, but to minimise my embarassment by catching the surplus milk which was squirting all around church like a faulty shower head that sprays water in all directions.
Not having my own mum around and being one of the first in my peer group to be having a baby, I also knew very little about pregnancy and birth. My very first 'symptom' of pregnancy was my breasts getting bigger and feeling sore. Throughout pregnancy they just seemed to grow and grow in size and I actually genuinely thought that enough milk was being produced and stored in there to last for the entire time my baby would need to nurse. Once baby arrived and I figured out the mechanics of milk production a bit better, I realised just how utterly ridiculous my idea was, but at the time, in the absence of any other wisdom on the matter, that is what I believed.
Your timetable, your plans, your agenda are no longer your own. During those early days we found ourselves on one occassion eating our desert at 3am, and to be dressed in daytime clothing by noon was an acheivement to be celebrated. 
I remember one morning being determined to make it out the house in time for our local toddler group. I managed to get up, feed baby, get him dressed, get me dressed, get him dressed a second time as he was sick with baby posset all over his outfit, then get me changed as I was soaking wet in baby posset too, and finally we were in the car and on our way. We made it by the 10am start time. I couldn't quite beleive it. What an acheivement. And as I walked in through the door to lots of friendly smiles and sounds of congratulations on your new baby, that feeling of being so proud of myself suddenly changed to immense hunger pangs as I realised that I had totally forgotten to eat any breakfast myself! 
I look back and I laugh at myself as I realise just how little I knew. I actually bought my first hair straighteners when I first went on maternity leave as I imagined that once the baby arrived, whilst off work, I would have more time to get ready and so I could straighten my hair in the mornings.
I quickly came to realise the new order of family priority. Baby's needs came first, followed by hubby, then the cat, and finally me or perhaps the car and then me. Either way, I was no longer a priorty in my own life.
If only I'd known that even doing the washing up becomes a major achievement and as for managing to cook a meal in the evening...! The days I managed that I really felt like I was 'Supermum'. Your evenings are not your own as you spend hours on end rocking baby to sleep during those early unsettled months. You will never be able to go to the loo or have a shower in peace ever again. And as for lie-ins, you may as well just scribble that word right out of your vocabulary (well at least for the next decade or so).
Ok, so I think you have got the message that having a baby changes your life. 'Anything else?' I hear you ask, 'Any other pearls of wisdom?' Well, after hearing all that you may wonder why anyone wants a baby. So here's the one that will make it all make sense. Even if I had known that having a baby changes your life, this is the reason that made me want to do it all again.
If only I'd known...having a baby changes your life.
LIFE becomes spelled LOVE. From the moment that your baby is here, you realise what love truly is. It is like no other love you have ever experienced and it is such an overwhelming indescribable love that it really deserves a word of its own because the word 'love' just doesn't seem enough. However much you love your partner, however much you love your parents and siblings, this is different and so much more.
You are left wondering just where all this love came from and how it is possible to love anyone that much. I had no idea I was capable of feeling this way. I wish I could have had the chance to see my own mum one last time to tell her...to say thank you for how much she loved me...to tell her I now understand a mother's love too. (And in my mum's case, I wish I could tell her how amazing she was to have done it all alone too!)
And as truly life changing as it is when your baby arrives, at the same time, you very quickly forget what life was like without them. They are SO part of your life (and such a huge part of your life), this little being that is your whole world and you are theirs, that it feels strange to think of life before they arrived. Time also speeds up. From the second they are born, there are moments to be treasured, memories to be captured, because it really does go by so quickly. We had heard it so many times, and in the midst of the nappy changes and night feeds that seem to go on for so long, we found we didn't really believe them, but looking back we just wonder where the past 9 years have gone with J, the past 7 years with D and the past year with baby T who just turned one year old yesterday.
If only I'd known...having a baby changes your life. I may not have been well prepared, but fortunately you can be with Aptaclub's new 'preparing for birth' App. We have downloaded the App and had a play and having been the one responsible for timing my contractions, hubby immediately spotted the contractions timer. I loved the birth announcement feature making it far easier to let friends and family know when your baby arrives. There were also handy checklists as well as information on all those key things that you need to know during the final trimester and in preparation for giving birth. 

And because we found that having a baby changed our lives in such an unimaginable incredible and amazing way, we decided to do it all again...and that's when we soon discovered that actually having just one baby is relatively easy after all. Turns out one baby is like having a handbag but having two is like having a zoo. Now if only I'd known that! But that's another story.

“This post is The Beesley Buzz's entry into the 'If Only I’d Known…’ competition”. Little Stuff and Aptaclub have teamed up to challenge bloggers to think about what they wish they had known about pregnancy, birth and babies before becoming a parent. Our blog post is focussed on 'New baby' theme.

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