I’ve had four children.


Which obviously means I’ve had four pregnancies.

And whilst I obviously grew older and much much wiser with each passing child, I have also had to rethink my thinking each and every time.

Because each pregnancy was entirely different; as unique as the child that appeared at the end of it.

Each baby had different wants and needs to the one before.

Each time; each pregnancy, each birth, each baby taught me something new. Taught me, actually, that I know NOTHING. And that no matter how prepared I thought I was, they were there to trip me up a little and remind me that I had No Clue, really.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If Only I’d Known…

  1. Maternity pads. You need them. In fact, you may want to wear two for the first day or two. Trust me.
  2. Breast pads. See Point 1.
  3. Baby socks – Baby Gap socks are the only ones that actually stay on.
  4. Muslins. Get them. Keep them nearby. Cherish them. They will make every part of your life easier for years to come.
  5. Breasts are unreliable. They get leaky valves. They spray in every direction. They may attempt to drown your child. See point 2.
  6. Your new baby does not need a bath the day you come home from hospital. Taking 45 minutes to prepare the perfect temperature in the baby bath with the perfect hooded towels and the perfect baby sponge and a doting grandparental audience will simply mean you get very very stressed, and baby cries pitifully throughout like a small goat. Don’t bother.
  7. You don’t need a baby bath. You will use it five times, then it will sit in your loft and collect old baby clothes.
  8. Clearly mark any videos/discs of baby video with red pen and shiny stickers and loud alarms. That way you won’t tape over them when you’re building a Teletubbies/Waybuloo collection.
  9. Time moves into a new dimension with a new baby in the house. A ‘lie in’ consist of 30 minutes not 4hrs. Conversely, going out takes 4hrs not 4 minutes.
  10. Spontaneous will be officially removed from your vocabulary. Planning becomes your new best friend.
  11. Pelvic floor exercises. Not up for discussion. Just do them. A lot.

But actually – the “If only I’d known…” is bigger than all of those small things. It’s the thing that everyone tells you, and that you never ever truly ‘get’ until it’s almost too late. If only I’d known how fast that time goes.

I’d have stopped more to inhale every single bedtime sleepyhead – teenagers simply don’t let you do it, and frankly they just don’t smell as nice as a new baby anyway.

If only I’d known that as I look with pride at my amazing young men approaching adulthood way too fast, I wish I’d known how much I’d achingly MISS the golden babies they were.