From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I started to assemble a picture in my mind of what labor, delivery, and new motherhood would be like. I envisioned everything going smoothly, then spending my first few hours as a mom laying comfortably in a bed with my baby. Yeah, my first postpartum hours were nothing like I fantasized, and I know I can’t be the only one whose dreams about motherhood were crushed in the first 24 hours, right?
I was on bed rest for a good portion of my pregnancy with my son, so I had a lot of time to spend daydreaming about the exact moment I’d finally meet my baby. I had seen so many friends share photos of the first moment they held their offspring, so it was all I could focus on. Sadly, however, I did not get that same experience.
My son and I were separated just seconds after he was born. He was whisked to the NICU and I was sent to an operating room to finish up my stitches. I didn’t want any visitors, though one friend did pass by with a cake (which I was grateful for). The cute gown I’d bought to wear postpartum got stained with blood. Everything was, well, a mess. Even if your situation wasn’t as extreme as mine, though, there’s a chance your ideal first day as a mom wasn’t exactly up to snuff, either. The good news? The real deal will might be a tad more difficult than you imagined, but it's going to be infinitely more amazing than you could have possibly imagined, too.
You Get To Relax With Your Baby Immediately
The only thing I wanted to do after my son was born was hold him.. Snuggling a newborn never gets old, but unfortunately that’s not always possible. Even if your little one is born under the best circumstances, usually a medical care team will need to check them out and make sure they are responding well (hello APGAR scores), or they may be taken to the nursery or NICU.
You'll Wear Something Cute After You Give Birth
When I was registering for my baby shower, I fell in love with this gorgeous maternity gown with flowers on it. It was beautiful, but pricey. Instead, I wore a much less expensive cotton gown that I had to throw out because of all the blood. My advice? Save your cash for a few months postpartum, when you've settled into the whole parenthood thing and your body has healed.
You'll Have The Best Post-Birth Photos
I really wanted to get some photos of my son and I in those first moments. Sadly, we never got those as my birth was an emergency home birth to hospital transfer situation. The “photographer” who accompanied my midwife was actually not a photographer at all, and she did not come to the hospital with us. Never mind wishing I’d look good for any photos. Even if I had hired a pro, no one looks flattering after 12 (or more) hours of labor.
You'll Breastfeed Your Baby Effortlessly
I'd say most new moms-to-be envision immediately breastfeeding their babies upon birth, as though nothing could ever go wrong. The fact is, however, not everyone has an easy time breastfeeding. Many new moms struggle with latch issues, tongue and lip ties, low milk production, and so much more.
You'll Eat An Indulgent Postpartum Meal
I’ve read so many articles about the first postpartum meal, but honestly I didn’t plan mine out at all. It was never even a thought that crossed my mind. If you have your heart set on a steak and french fries that first day, though, there’s a good chance it might not happen (especially if you’re relying on hospital food).
You'll Wear Your Pre-Pregnancy Jeans Out Of The Hospital
OK, maybe jeans is a bit much. Still, I somehow didn’t expect to look as pregnant as I did the day after my son was born. I figured my belly would go down a bit more, but instead I was stuck wearing some very large stretch pants.
You'll Be Showered With Gifts
Sure, some moms are greeted with tons of gifts after giving birth. Don’t let TV shows spoil you, though. Your loved ones might simply forget, not have time, or you might not even care (especially if your baby is in the NICU, like mine was).
You'll Have An Easy Time Going To The Bathroom
I don’t know that it was a “dream” exactly, but I kind of hoped that I would be fairly OK down there postpartum. Sadly, I had a rough time pushing out my son and it left me in a world of pain. So, yeah, bathroom time was the absolute worst. I’m still cringing about it.