In the run up to having Charlotte I read a few books and the odd website, to get some idea of what to expect of pregnancy, labour and the associated paraphernalia surrounding the event.
Some was worth reading, others not. Now, a few of my friends are currently expecting and they've asked me some advice based on my experiences. So here they are, my top tips to prepare you for becoming a mum for the first time!
1. Fill your freezer while waiting for the baby to make an appearance.
All the books tell you this one but I scoffed slightly at the idea. After all, lots of guests would be calling with dinner pre-cooked for us. Yes? No! You do get lots of visitors but generally they just want to coo at the baby, not feed the mum. I did a few portions of lasagne, some soups and pies - and they were all utilised in the first few weeks.
2. Expect lots of visitors.
Following on nicely from tip number one! Visitors are an expected part of having a baby so get your cupboards packed with tea, coffee, sugar and biscuits. Just make sure to ask them to make it themselves. And don't be scared about asking them to hang out a load of washing, wash the dishes or peel your potatoes for dinner - after all, if they're friends and family they'll be happy to help.
3. Expect your body to feel as though a bus has run over it.
Thankfully I can safely follow this comment up with - it will be back to normal pretty soon. BUT, don't expect miracles. You've just had a baby.
4. Your hormones will be all over the place
I expected the baby blues but honestly, it was a reality check to see how quickly I went from happy-go-lucky to floods of tears. I wish someone had told me beforehand just how much your emotions take over. So, just go with it, ask your partner to be patient and eventually they'll settle down. I should pop a quick disclaimer here regarding post-natal depression. I'm no doctor but it's a very real illness so if those emotions aren't settling down by week six or so then it will do no harm to have a chat with your GP.
5. Your life will never be the same again.
I hated people telling me this when I was pregnant because I'm not stupid, of course everything was going to change. But they were right. However, while it has changed it certainly isn't over, in fact it's the best time of your life. Enjoy it!