I’ve just found out that a friend of mine is expecting her first baby.  Cue lots of girly squeals of delight and weeping tears of joy.  Now as you know as soon as you have a baby on board the whole world and their dog and flippin’ cat have advice for you. Not one to miss a bandwagon, here is my advice friend, although you may not find this in the baby books.

what the baby books don't tell you


Pregnancy is a strange an exciting time.  You are growing a little person and it is bloody amazing.  It’s also hard work and plays complete havoc with your hormones.  Crying in the middle of B&Q because they didn’t have the exact shade of cream paint you wanted isn’t a good look.

  • Strangers will ask you very personal questions such as “was it planned dear?”.  Because your sex life is of course their business and you would definitely be more than happy to discuss it with them.  Hell offer them a glass of wine and tell them all about the night you conceived.
  • There will be days when you are overwhelmed with excitement and just want to shop all day for cute little sleepsuits and scratch mitts.  There will also be days when you think ‘what the hell have we done, I can’t do this’.  Then you will feel guilty for thinking those thoughts.  Don’t worry it’s normal.  It’s okay to feel scared and every pregnant woman is entitled to at least 3 major freak outs.
  • Ante-natal classes are nothing like the movies.  They are awkward, slightly embarrassing, and if you ask me, share way to much information. Seeing a pair of forceps did not in any way relax me and put me at ease about the impending birth of my baby.
  • You will miss seeing your toes.
  • When you think it is actually physically impossible for your tummy to get any bigger, it will.
  • Make the most of every minute of your maternity leave.  Nap whenever you want.  Stay in your PJ’s all day and watch Breaking Bad.  Paint your nails.  It will be the last chance you get for a while.


Okay, so there’s only a couple of ways this baby is gonna come out, and neither of them are pretty.

  • The journey to the hospital will be the most horrendous car ride you will ever experience.  As you leave the house you will feel calm, in control, and excited that it is finally happening. However once in the car the combination of contractions, confined space and bumpy roads, will lead your husband to believe you have been possessed by the devil.  One minute you will be screaming at him to “hurry up” because quite frankly you need the drugs.  The next you will be screeching “stop the f***ing car” as another contraction comes along with temporary insanity.
  • You will poo.  When it happens you won’t give a shit!
  • At some point during your labour you will tell someone you love them, and it’s far more likely to be the person giving you the gas and air than it is your husband.
  • You will make noises that you will never again be able to replicate.  It’s okay, in the words of Katy Perry, “you’re gonna hear me roar”.
  • Your dignity will come back quicker then you actually want it to.  Normally whilst you are still legs akimbo with people staring at your fanny.
  • You deserve a fanfare, marching band, confetti, Gary Barlow singing you a song whilst playing the piano, the whole works for what you have just done.  You won’t get it.  Tea and toast will have to suffice.
  • After the event, never ever look at where the action happened.  I know, it’s human nature to be inquisitive  Trust me, don’t go there.  There are things in life that cannot be unseen.  Please learn from my mistake, if only to make me feel mildly better from the image that still tortures me,  and to think ‘I took one for the team’. Save yourself.

Becoming a parent

So they let you leave the hospital, just you, your husband and your new little bundle of joy.  They don’t let you keep a midwife too.  They seem to think you have this all under control and are perfectly fine.

  • You will never know tiredness like it.
  • You will spend hours just staring at your tiny person and marvelling at how awesome they are.
  • If there is a hole in your body you will leak some form of bodily fluid from it.
  • Your husband will come home from work and you will still be in your PJ’s, you will have no idea what you have done all day, but know that you had no time to get dressed although you attempted it several times.
  • You will make mistakes.  It’s okay.  We all do.
  • You will talk about poo.  A lot.
  • Your body will never be the same again.  There are superhuman women who ping back into shape 3 weeks after birth.  If you happen to be one I may have to reconsider our friendship. Your body is now a human climbing frame.  Your shoulder has the sole purpose of wiping snot and tears on. Hair is there to be yanked and twiddled.  And your hands will be used to shield yourself from wee and catch actual vomit.
  • The human instinct to protect your child from any harm is overwhelming.  But you’re not allowed to punch or rugby tackle to the ground the poor nurses administering your babies jabs. It’s okay that you want too though.
  • The best sound you will ever here is your baby giggle.  Fact.  And you will do the most bizarre things and act like a complete loon to make it happen.
  • You will Google many random things like ‘what do chickenpox look like’ and ‘how do you get Rice Krispies out of ear holes’
  • Everyone has an opinion on what you are doing.  Listen to those you trust and ignore the rest.
  • Eventually, you’ll have to return to work after maternity leave. This is really tough and for some mums it’s difficult to cope. If this is the situation you’re in, check out these tips for more info.

Being a parent is the happiest and scariest experience.  There will be days when you look back to your life before kids and remember when you could leave the house in under 5 minutes.  You had a cute little handbag and not a great big Mum’s bag, and although those days may have been simpler, you will also remember them as emptier.  You’re in for the ride of your life, as long as you have love, a sense of humour and a lot of patience you will be just fine.

What advice would you give to anyone expecting a baby?

This post was featured on Huffpost

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Claire Kirby

44 Comments on What The Baby Books Don’t Tell You

  1. Thanks for the warnings. At 19 weeks pregnant I’m already scared about how much bigger my tummy can get. I’d add to the pregnancy list; people suddenly want to touch your stomach, and don’t always ask first. They will also make comments about how big you’re getting. Apparently being pregnant means you sacrifice the right to personal space. As for the rest of it, well I guess I’ve got it all to come!

  2. Haha, all very true. Except for the poop. I’m pretty sure I didn’t poop. Although I might have been so high I didn’t notice. My advice would be never google your babies symptoms as you will diagnose them with the plague or demon possession.


  3. I love these types of posts! Can’t help that think though that they are only truly appreciated by those already in the know…prob would have gone right over my head before joining the club…but that’s definitely a good thing!!! #fartglitter

  4. Thank you! As someone who is currently expecting their first baby I am left with a sense of both reassurance and fear! But also found it so hilarious that I read it aloud to my husband and he enjoyed it too! I think he is particularly looking forward to talking about poo all the time!! x

  5. This is so true! I read all the books the first time round and haven’t picked up one this time. I think follow your instinct is the best advice for anyone #fbfriday

  6. I juist spat out my drink at the point when you said never look at the business end afterwards. Oh my goodness, I thought it was just me! Hilarious as usual. Thanks so much for linking up such an amazing post with #fbfriday

  7. Really terrific post. I love your honesty. I agree that ante-natal classes are embarrassing & a bit too revealing & sometimes they can be quite bossy too! And, I never got used to the random questions I’d get lol #flashbackfriday x

  8. Perfect! A few people told me to rest when on maternity leave and I dismissed them and now I wish I had, if only for the memories. I’m not sure I like the bit about my body not being the same, two years on I’m still holding out hope 🙂 #fromtheheart

  9. What a fabulous post. I can relate on so many levels. There was so much I was not prepared for as a first time mum. I’m having a little chuckle remembering so e of the awkward conversations around the planned/ not planned topic x #fromtheheart

  10. So good!! I love it all, and it’s so true. Especially how everyone thinks it’s their business to know if the baby ‘was planned’. xo

  11. O yeah, mat leave … it goes so quickly though it doesn’t seem like it when you’re in it. I so miss mine and would like another one really 🙂 ‘Human climbing frame’ :-), quite an experience that is. And the poo talk … I wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told me before I had my child, about how much poo and sleep dominate many a mother’s thoughts and conversations.

    Your post took me down memory lane; thanks for sharing. 🙂 #PoCoLo

  12. SO many words of wisdom here – they are fab! I will be coming back to this one at some point! Sorry I haven’t got back to you about your badge yet – it’s been a bit manic. I will be back to you asap! Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo

  13. When I gave birth my brother-in-law gave me this massive books. Everytime I have questions he said I can get it from the book. But I am a parent! I don’t have time to read a book plus I know its not going to answer my questions anyways. So you are right. Books are so informative but they don’t have all the answers. This is a nice read. Thanks for sharing and for your honesty. #pocolo

  14. My advice? Talk to a fellow mum before you google- what you read will terrify you more often than it will reassure you.
    Try to accept quickly that no one can be a perfect parent- it will ease the disappointment when you begin to worry that you have ‘failed’.

  15. Bloody marvellous post!
    And, oh yes, NEVER LOOK! Not during and certainly not after!! Your head is at the top end for a reason. Midwives with hand mirrors can go to hell.
    My advice?
    It’s ok to gag at the first poo. It’s a cruel test. And the midwives are having a laugh when they say to use cotton wool and water! You may as well just tar and feather your baby’s nether regions! Close the curtain and bring out the wipes.
    Also, you’re not having a baby; you’re having a person who will grow and change and want to follow their own path. Dress them as you wish until they can say no. And take as many pictures as possible…to use as a threat laysr on.
    Oh, and fill in those baby books as you go. You think you’ll remember at the time. You won’t!

    • Excellent advice. Baby wipes are the best invention ever. Multi-purpose! I have of course never used them to clean myself when I haven’t had time for a shower. No sirree, I have definitely not done that. (ahem)

  16. No joke, I read your post this morning, my baby was ill this afternoon and I caught actual vomit with hands…..waaaaahhhh! That definitely wasn’t mentioned at NCT! Fab post x

  17. Yes, yes, yes. You had me laughing out loud. Catching actual vomit! I once deliberately aimed my about-to-vomit child at my own clothes because they would be easier to clean up than the carpet. Then got into the bath with him, fully clothed, and handed those vomit-soaked clothes to my long-suffering husband, piece by horrible piece.

    My advice? Everything you feel is ok. Other people have felt it too. And when people offer to help – say thank you and let them help. And if they don’t offer – ask them. Most people will be only too pleased to help.

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