A guide for the panicking-Mum-to-be who has just remembered after 6 months of trying that she doesn’t like kids that much.
Hey, congratulations! You planned to be pregnant and now you are! And now you are hyperventilating with terror, because having a baby seemed like a good idea at the time but you have remembered you have no idea how to deal with children and you don’t know anything about them and newborns all look wrinkled and weird to you.
My first reaction to my positive pregnancy test was a full-on panic attack so it’s safe to say I was a bit worried. Would I love my baby? Would I even like it? What do you actually do with one once you have it? Wait, am I not allowed have any cheese now? (Yes, yes, still working this one out, and sadly yes.)
Anyway, turns out I was hyperventilating over all the wrong things. In the hope that I can put your over-anxious mind and thumping-heart at rest, here are the things that I was terrified of that actually turned out not to be a thing at all.
You’re not a “baby” person.
You don’t really like babies and kids that much, certainly not to the extent of squealing about how cute newborns are and how much you want to eat them. (Note: don’t do this, this is fucking creepy. When someone tells me they want to eat my kids, I am all “give them back and have a sandwich instead they took ages to make YOU FUCKING WEIRDO”.)
You will probably still not like all babies, but you will like your baby. Trite but true. There’s a host of biological stuff going on and babies are basically terrible at everything except persuading you to take care of them and watch over their flailings with interest and buy their tiny impractical shit (kind of like the Kardashians, I guess) so, much like a weakened pelvic floor, loving your baby is kind of inevitable.*
Your baby will look like a tiny shaved and boiled animatronic monkey but you will still love it. Some mums get the overwhelming bond of love, others are seized by a protective instinct similar to that of a coked-up grizzly but love takes a bit longer to grow. In time, you will even start liking other babies because they remind you of your baby and before you know it you will actually want to have a cuddle of other people’s newborns.
It may take a while to kick in but by the time they are toddling, you will love them enough to spend approximately eleventy million hours a day needed to stopping them from injuring themselves. (Toddlers are basically tiny suicidal drunks.) Then it’s a few years of more straight-forward love until they are teenagers and you debate freezing them in carbonite or tossing them in Hannibal-Lector-restraints until they hit 25 or so.
You don’t know anything about babies
The good news is YOUR BABY KNOWS EVEN LESS THAN YOU and doesn’t have a developed brain to boot. They can’t even make their hands grasp things, for feck’s sake. So, not only are you competing against someone who knows the same amount as you at the start, they have NO HOPE of learning as fast as you and keeping up.
Basically, you have just challenged a sea cucumber to an arse-kicking contest. GO KICK ARSE.
And if you decide to have more than one, by the time you have them you will have racked up serious parenting mileage (if it’s 10,000 hours to make an expert, which is about three years of 9 hours a day or just over one year in your case because you are getting NO FUCKING SLEEP) and you will look like a shit hot expert at this stuff.
But I’ll have to do all this Mum’s-group socialising stuff and baby-talk doesn’t interest me
You will end up spending a lot of other time with parents, as they are the only people who will put up with your sleep-deprived over-caffeinated haven’t-showered flaky-ass shit now you literally can’t arrange more than one social thing in a day without a complete meltdown.
So, you will talk about kids a lot, but it’s actually helpful. You will develop a professional interest in comparing and contrasting their baby to yours. Other people’s children will remind you a little of your own and your newfound parent-narcissism will make them interesting to you, not as individuals but as reflections of your own child.
Also, who doesn’t love that moment in the supermarket where you hear a child go on a full-scale kicking-and-screaming-and-shitting-themselves-tantrum. You tense up, and then you realise it’s not your child and therefore not your problem. It’s great. Like taking off a too-tight bra or slipping off heels at the end of a day.
But newborns look weird
They really, really fucking do. But it passes. You’ll probably be on drugs for most of it anyway. Wheeeee!
* Postnatal depression is a thing and a very common thing (and can hit Mums or Dads), and this blog is written by someone who was calling her vulva a vagina well into her late 20’s so please, if you are struggling, have a frank and honest chat with a medical professional you trust instead of reading random stranger’s sweary bullshit. Good luck.