5 things I wish I had been told about before giving birth.

I am sharing these 5 things because, whilst I probably could have done more research; I am not completely thick. There are definitely some other people out there who might not be aware of some of these things. And it’s always good to have knowledge.

1. Emergency C-sections.

They are a lot more common than I thought. And I wish that I had been told to prepare for an emergency C-section, just incase. Anything can happen and it did… TWICE. The first time it totally shocked me. I wasn’t expecting to be in hospital for so long. I wasn’t prepared for such an extended recovery time and I didn’t realise how much I would struggle to do basic things such as get out of bed or lift my baby up. That experience really ruined my confidence as a new mum and those important first moments with my baby. I felt useless and disgusting. To begin with I couldn’t walk on my own. And when I did manage to walk to the bathroom mirror – I was horrified. My body looked and felt like a huge, heavy coat and that my ‘real’ body would be hiding somewhere underneath.

The second time around, I had much more knowledge and knew what to expect should anything go wrong. Although my recovery time was longer (almost 5 months on i’m still not quite back to normal) and more difficult because I now have 2 children to look after, I didn’t feel at fault for the way things had turned out. I was able to concentrate more on the fact that; technicalities aside, we were both alive and healthy and that is what is important.

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I don’t know why there are wires round my neck!

2. Peritoneal irritation.

Being awake and able to feel pain during a major operation is some people’s worst nightmare and definitely mine. During my second emergency c-section, this is exactly what happened. I thought I was going to die. I was screaming and swearing A LOT. The anaesthetist seemed confused about why I could feel any pain, but then I heard her whisper “peritoneal irritation” to one of the surgeons. She then gave me enough drugs to shut me up (I couldn’t have uttered another word even if i wanted to). Theres nothing I could have done to prevent this, but knowing about it would have stopped me from panicking and thinking that I was being killed during what was already an awful experience.

3. The difficulties of breastfeeding.

I went to all of my antenatal classes and discussed breastfeeding with my midwife. I know lots of people who have had babies before I did. But at no point did anyone mention how difficult or challenging it could be. The midwives at the hospital sounded like a broken record “breast is best, breast is best, breast…”

SHUT UP! When you’ve had a major operation, you can just about hold your baby, your milk takes 5/6 days to come in and then your baby is struggling with latching on – you want support, not pressure. You also don’t want to be told that you are “giving up on your baby” when you want nothing more than to be able to feed her. It would’ve made the world of difference for someone to have just said “If breastfeeding doesn’t work out, formula is fine too”. It would have saved me from struggling with it for 2 months and becoming depressed.

Then second baby was completely different. Breastfeeding was easier. I believe it’s down to the fact that I didn’t allow myself to be pressured or bullied by anyone. I knew my own mind and I was confident that my baby would be fine with or without breast milk. Being relaxed about it made it easier to get the hang of.

4. Nipple thrush.

Who knew about THIS? Not me! Breasts burning every time I fed my son, WHAT THE…

5. Negative thoughts.

A symptom of ‘let down’. I found this one REALLY odd. Every time I breastfed my son my mind would wander. Sometimes I would start thinking about someone who I didn’t like and then get annoyed. Or something bad that happened would randomly pop into my head. Slightly worried that I was going crazy, I had a good old Google search and found that it is actually a physiological thing and i’m not a weirdo. Now that I know that it’s related to the ‘let down’ of milk at the start of breastfeeding, I can control it. I AM NOT CRAZY.

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34 thoughts on “5 things I wish I had been told about before giving birth.

  1. Oh interesting I didn’t know about the let down I think I may have had this as well. I totally agree with you on the breastfeeding, so so so hard not only the actual feeding but psychologically as well, you are trapped by your baby because you have to feed them every two hours. I had a really hard time with this even though he latched on quite easily! I love how honest you are, I think every new mum should read this! Thanks for sharing with #GlobalBlogging!

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    1. I only found out about the let down thing afterwards so for a while I just thought there was something wrong with me. There are so many difficult elements that need to be spoken about. Thank you so much for reading x

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  2. We all start off so ignorant don’t we! It’s the “little” things that they don’t tell us! Peritoneal irritation, oh my gosh, I think that would be my worst! I wouldn’t be able to deal with that!! Not one bit…. You brave, brave woman! #globalblogging

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  3. I can literally recap all these experiences apart from feeling the pain and nipple thrush. I’m so sorry that you had to go through the pain on your second birth, that’s pretty scary. There’s nothing worse that being told you’re letting your baby down. Breastfeeding after a c-section is so, so hard. I could barely lift my daughter up, so I invested in a my Brest Friend feeding pillow – possibly the best thing ever. Thanks for sharing this honest post with us at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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  4. Bullied is a good word for some of the crazy breast feeding nonsense people throw in your face. I did breast feed but this woman in the same room looked like she’d been hit by a car (tonnes of tubes coming out of her) and both her husband and the nurse were being total A-holes about it and she was crying . It was so awful. Then the nurse walks past me and says “Oh, you know what to do!” and I felt so crushed for that woman. It was dreadful. And then my baby kept her awake all night while her’s slept perfectly…but 16 years into raising kids, who gives one???AHHHH. #FortheloveofBlog

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  5. I didnt know that about let down – thats interesting. I didnt know anything because I totally buried my head in the sand! I didnt know about after pains and how tough they are… infact I had forgotten about them by the time I had my second so they came as a painful surprise all over again! #ablogginggoodtime

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  6. Wow, this resonated with me more than you’ll ever know. Especially 2,3,4,. I had a terrible C-section, I was supposed to have an elective c section but it ended up being an emergency and I have never been so terrified in all my life. I was so ill prepared. I could feel pretty much all of it and I even asked the registrar what time I’d die. Awful. #ablogginggoodtime

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  7. Many soon to be parents do not know about the issues you have raised in this article…often we talk about the coming baby, the joy you will feel and how you will enjoy parenting…so when it happens and you are struggling with baby and adjusting to becoming new parents and the aftermath may it be physical and emotional it puts a strain on relationships and takes a toll especially on women and the family too…thank you for sharing your experience candidly…

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  8. I agree that there are a lot of unspoken issues or badly communicated issues around pregnancy. I never realised breast feeding could really hurt in the beginning. No one really tells you what labour feels like. But in Holland they do give you it straight and we had a whole section of our course focused on things that could go wrong that included information about c sections. It really prepared me. TY for linking up to #FamilyFun 🎉

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  9. There is so much we don’t realise initially isn’t there! I was prepared for some of the emergency c-section stuff as we did nct and were really prepared for the possibility, and it didn’t happen for us. Breast feeding really is hard isn’t it! Thanks for sharing on #KCACOLS and hope you can link with Franca on Sunday too x

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  10. Number 3 – yes! New mothers need so much support and information, they don’t need pressure and to feel like a failure if breastfeeding doesn’t work. And I didn’t know about number 5, that’s amazing that hormones can do that to you! I’m glad you worked out what was going on, it must’ve been quite worrying up to that point. x #KCACOLS

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  11. They definitely need to prep you more for C section. I didn’t end up having one but had to give my consent to have one if I hadn’t given birth within a few hours – I had no idea what I was signing up for #brilliantblogposts

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  12. I think there’s loads of things I would have wanted to know and some I wouldn’t. Great post! Thanks for linking up to #thelist x

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  13. Oh this is great, I was wondering what the five would be and this is a really thoughtful post and very informative! I didn’t know about num 2 at all. A good reminder about c-sections as well…I think I need to be more prepared this time that anything could happen…just because I’ve done it once doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be straightforward and that’s ok. #KCACOLS

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  14. Great post! I wish I had been told that inductions can progress VERY quickly. Everyone who I spoke to told me it would be days, but I had a 1hr20mins active labour and it was traumatising because I was in no way prepared for it to be that fast! Oh and the people who say “stitches are worse than labour” need to shush. SO not the case (not in my case anyway).
    Don’t get me started on parroting “breast is best” instead of actually helping… and that’s from a mother who didn’t breastfeed, so I can’t imagine how annoying it was to someone who did. #KCACOLS

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  15. Thanks for sharing these! I think when we’re pregnant we can get so focussed on the pregnancy, and the birth, that a lot of the ‘afterwards’ stuff gets ignored until we’re right on top of it! I was definitely at just how hard breastfeeding was – midwives and NCT talks had made it sound like the easiest thing in the world, and it was anything but. #KCACOLS

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  16. Great post, really honest x I felt like I’d read everything on going bor th and having kids bit I was shocked as to how many details of the whole process you are left to discover on your own. Thank fully I never had any complications with my three but still scary x #thelist

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  17. Great post! I had no idea what was in store with my first but by my fifth I felt as though there was nothing I didn’t know!! The biggest shock for me was the after pains, nobody had told me about those and they were horrific with my fifth baby! #KCACOLS

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  18. Very honest. I am with you on the breastfeeding. I also wish that I’d been better clued up about when to go into hospital – I felt more stressed wondering if it was time or not. I also didn’t realise how much it would hurt…probably a good thing 😉 #KCACOLS

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