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Pregnancy feels like a long 9 months. The whole time we deal with questions about our due date, our cravings, whether we’re having a boy or a girl, how we’re faring with pregnancy sickness. But there’s still some mystery around certain areas of pregnancy, birth and the fourth trimester. So…what are the things no-one tells you about becoming a Mum? It’s time we uncover the last taboos around birth and beyond. Here’s everything you need to know…

 

Your boobs are going to change during pregnancy

And some of those changes are going to just be plain old weird. Rosie Ramsay admitted to having the “itchiest nipples in the world” during her second pregnancy. You might also notice a tenderness or change in sensation, your boobs might get bigger (they probably will), your areola (proper name for nipples) might get bigger or darker and some of your glands might get bigger. All of this is your body’s way of getting ready to feed your baby. It’s important to keep an eye on your boobs so you know what’s normal for you. Check out this guide from Breast Cancer Now for more info on what to expect from your boobs during pregnancy.

 

Your Google search history will become deeply chaotic

You’re going to be turning to search engines to ask things like “why is my baby’s poo green” and “why does my baby fart so much?” as well as “is baby brain real?” (yes), “how do I open my pram?” and, in some wild moments “my baby has eaten cat food”.

 

Breast milk can travel a long way

There are lots of holes it can come out of and it can also be accidentally squirted across a table and in your baby’s face. Your body can do other incredible things too. Like grow a baby with fingernails. Get a big thing out of a small hole. Heal. Recover. Nourish a tiny human. Amazing.

 

Your birthing plan means very little

Sorry. But it’s the truth. Be prepared. But be prepared to get rid of your birthing plan completely. And don’t feel like a failure if things don’t go how you hope. Fearne McCann’s top tip for giving birth? Have “no expectations”. She went for a “what will be will be” vibe. But whatever happens, make sure you’ve got the biggest knickers you can find and plenty of snacks with you.

 

Be prepared for your dignity to temporarily become a thing of the past

There’s something about giving birth that means your dignity gets temporarily misplaced. Frankie Bridge’s waters broke on her way to surgery for her c-section, meaning she felt like she was “pissing herself”. You might roam around with your boobs out because clothes become too stressful. You might vomit. Having your stitches checked is all kinds of intrusive. We’re unsure when the dignity returns. It may remain missing in action.

 

Your midwife and medical team have heard it all before

Whatever question you have, no matter how silly it might seem to you, ask it. Because they’ve heard it all before. Even if it feels weird in your head, say it out loud. It might feel even weirder when you say it loud, but no-one is going to laugh at you. And if you feel like you’re too nervous to ask your medical team straight away, seek support from other mums first because you can guarantee, there’ll be someone who has wondered the same thing before. Our HMHB Facebook group allows you to ask questions anonymously if you want to start there.

 

You’ll become an expert in fielding unsolicited advice

Parenting is something everyone has an opinion on. And people just loooove to share their opinions. As soon as you’re pregnant, you’ll probably notice that those opinions start coming your way. While some advice from other parents can be golden, dealing with unsolicited parenting advice can be a minefield. Remember – it’s your baby. You’re the boss. But check out our blog post on just this for more tips.

 

You’ll need to recover after having a baby

No matter how you deliver it. Having a c-section doesn’t make you “too posh to push” and isn’t the easy way out. You’re not superhuman and don’t have to jump back into normal life straight away. Take your time to recover and get to know your baby, get to know yourself as a Mum to this little person. Accept help (Jess Jones suggests only inviting people who will make their own cup of tea) and remember you don’t have to go back to who you were before – because we’re always moving forwards. Everything changes when a new baby is thrown into the mix. And that’s no bad thing.

 

You might feel anxious about your first postpartum poo

Regardless of whether you had a vaginal birth or a c-section, it’s normal to feel a bit stressed about your first poo post baby. There’s been a lot going on down there. If you had a vaginal birth, you might be worried about tenderness in your nether region, and if you had a c-section you might be worried about straining. Throw into the mix constipation, diarrhoea, or even haemorrhoids and you’ve got yourself a heady mix of stress. You can expect to poo 3-5 days after you’ve had your baby. You’ll probably get a stool softener from the hospital and it’s important to stay really hydrated to help things…move along. Eat food rich in fibre and remember – you birthed a baby. You can have a poo. You’ve got this.

 

Not everyone can breastfeed and that’s OK

Sometimes, even with all the will, determination, research and dedication in the world, breastfeeding isn’t possible. Whatever the reason for not being able to breastfeed, whether medical or otherwise, there can be a lot of stigma attached to a Mum who doesn’t breastfeed and we’re here to call bullsh*t on that. You should never be made guilty for the way you feed your baby. Breast fed, bottle fed, formula-fed – as long as your baby is fed, and you’re happy and healthy, that’s what’s best for you and your baby.

 

You’ll probably block out most of your memories of labour

Because that’s how evolution makes sure we might want to do it again. And plus. It’s all worth it when you get to hold your baby in your arms and you sniff their head. Lots of things that come with labour are disposable (pants, hospital gowns, the pads you wear for months afterwards) but luckily, for most of us, the kids stick around for a long time to come, and that’s pretty great.

 

Want to hear more of the things no-one tells you about motherhood? Catch up with Gi, Jess Jones, Frankie Bridge, Ferne McCann, Rosie Ramsey and the HMHB Community as they chat all about the last labour and pregnancy taboos at The Virtual Meetup right here:

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