There’s no denying the fact that life changes with the arrival of a baby. It’s not exaggeration to assume that most parents divide their lives into two compartments: Before Kids and After Kids. Literally, the minute a baby pops out, everything is different and this can come as a shock. But of course as with anything, time mozies along and the details of life collect themselves, regroup and emerge in a voluminous and rich new form. In fact, the deeper parents move into the A.K. stage, B.K. starts to seem pale, insignificant, even silly in comparison.
For all those new moms out there who are run ragged and frazzled with the new expectations and responsibilities they are suddenly faced with: let go of the past, hold on tight to the present and go with the flow. After having a baby, there’s no going back. Things a new mom never expected to occur will...and things she once took for granted may go. Maybe only for a while or perhaps forever. But we promise this: a new normal will rise from the ashes of B.K.
Without further adieu, here’s a somewhat humorous reminder that life isn’t necessarily over - just changed. And if a new mom can’t laugh she may as well just lay her head down and cry. Before going further, ensure tongue is firmly within cheek and then continue reading for 15 things impossible to do after having a new baby.
15 A Dry Jumping Jack
For women out there noticing that after birthing a baby, their jumping jacks and rope-skipping have suddenly turned into leaky activities - rest assured they are not alone. Urinary incontinence typically affects 50% of women who have delivered babies vaginally. Often, it improves during the first year following childbirth - but even five years later, approximately half of these women will still suffer from minor leakage.
Don’t be fooled into thinking undergoing a C-section will steer a woman clear from this drippy issue either. When it comes to urinary incontinence, it is sometimes inevitable as genetics, age and weight can all play a role.
There are options to help minimize the problem including:
- Wearing absorbent pads (not tampons) when necessary.
- Kegel exercises that help strengthen the pelvic floor as well as vaginal muscles.
- Getting fitted for a pessary which is a removable silicone ring women place inside the vagina. This ring can be worn all day or just while jogging or working out.
- Undergoing bladder surgery. This option has a 90% success rate yet is not feasible if future pregnancies are on the horizon.
14 Have A Quiet, Low-Key Day
There’s no mincing words about it - kids make life hectic. And for anyone under the impression that one baby equals a torrential storm of activity, just wait until there’s another one added to the mix. In retrospect, many parents see life with a single infant as a calmer and simpler time.
Whatever the case, it’s okay if new parents find themselves fantasizing about those quiet, pre-children days once in a while - as long as they aren’t wallowing. In fact, they will still pop up now and again (a quiet, low-key sort of day where nothing is on the agenda) and funnily enough, they may just not live up to the expectation.
It may not seem like it, but eventually it will become an easier process to pass baby off to a family member or friend for a few hours here and there. At that point, a new parent can take advantage of the free time and fill the void with whatever they once did to pass the time during those quiet, low-key days before kids. So shampoo the carpets, soak in a tub, watch tv or grab a nap - and revel in the dull monotony.
13 Sleep Through the Night
When parents bring their little bundle home, this is the time when sleep becomes a precious commodity. At first, the impossibility of enjoying a sound sleep can be blamed on rock hard breasts, recovery pains not to mention a hungry screaming baby that wakes every few hours.But even after baby settles in for the long haul, many moms notice they just aren’t capable of sleeping the way they used to - an awful affliction known as mom-somnia.
It’s important for new parents to do what they can to create a sleep-friendly environment for themselves:
- Get rid of pesky baby monitors. Unless baby is sleeping in a separate wing of the castle, they can be more hindrance than help.
- Avoid ingesting too much liquid (especially caffeine) and limit screen time before bedding down for the night.
- Consider trying out yoga, meditation or even relaxing in a warm bath before going night-night.
- Take medication or naps if needed - but don't overdo it on either front.
If all else fails, they can make exciting plans for all that extra downtime coming their way between midnight and five a.m.!
12 Binge Watch A TV Series
With the recent advent of live streaming and DVRs, television binge watching is a relatively newfangled activity. Still, it doesn’t mean it hurts any less when the days of binge watching a beloved series together are over. Even so - it may not necessarily be the worst thing for a new parent to kiss goodbye. According to a research study conducted in Philadelphia, children’s tv viewing habits mimic their parents’, no matter what rules or limits are placed on them.
Instead of mourning this viewing loss, consider filling the void with new and improved family-centred activities like:
- Going for a walk together.
- Taking a day trip somewhere fun like the zoo or butterfly conservatory.
- Heading to the beach or to a local pool for a swim.
Once baby sleeps solidly at night, there are a ton of better alternatives for a new parent’s time rather than zombifying in front of the television.
11 Sit Down For A Leisurely Meal
Once a new baby is on the scene, leisurely enjoyable meals become yet another activity that parents may find themselves pining for. In the early stages of motherhood, if there is even time for a sit-down meal (and that’s a huge IF), most moms would prefer to shovel food in and grab a catnap or throw in a load of laundry. Basically, any one of a million other things will probably take precedence over lingering at a table of food.
Even restaurant visits rarely see two new parents sitting down at a table together. One will chow down while the other bounces baby around and then vice versa.
When baby begins eating solids, dinner time will indeed last longer but it may not be a relaxing affair. Mealtime for this stage will probably consist of mom alternately cramming a bite into her own mouth and then choo-chooing a train of food into baby’s adorable pie-hole. Then there’s the mess to contend with - strained peas wedged into highchair crannies, noodles on the floor and sauce encrusted in baby’s hair.
10 Sit Down For A Leisurely Poop
There are two reasons this ain’t gonna happen for a while. First off, many new moms experience some postpartum constipation. And even after this passes, time is of the essence, so sitting on the can just won’t be top priority. Once baby is born, a new mom should give herself a few day’s grace period before making mountains out of poopless molehills. There are many plausible reasons why her bowels just aren’t moving:
- If a mom had a long labor, hadn't eaten all that much, had an enema or pooped during delivery - there may just not be anything in there.
- For women who underwent a C-section, it's completely normal for three to four days to pass before her bowels begin to function normally again.
- Pain medications administered during labor or following birth can slow the digestive system.
- Soreness from hemorrhoids, episiotomy or just regular labor can result in unconscious stress, worry and clenching.
For women hoping to get things moving - eat fibre, drink lots of water and don’t ignore the urge to go. As a last resort, they can also talk to their healthcare provider about stool softeners.
9 Behave Selfishly
Once a baby has entered the realm of a person’s existence, behaving selfishly becomes a long-ago activity from their glory days. At least it should! At this point in time, every single major decision ever made will now be filtered through how the kids will be affected. Issues like household budgeting, what vacation to take, what house to live in and what job to apply for will carefully be considered with kids as top priority. This goes for even the seemingly innocuous decisions as well like: what groceries to buy, what car to drive and how to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Of course that doesn’t mean a parent will never again have anything just for themselves or any alone time. It will just require more thought, planning and organization to get there. And most likely it will also come at the steep price of some serious guilt.
8 Do Hair And Makeup In One Sitting
Once baby makes his or her appearance, a new mom’s style may go out with the baby’s bath water. Or will it? There’s no sense in lamenting the loss of spending a full hour on hair and makeup - those days are gone and probably won’t be back again any time soon. So kiss the old beauty regime goodbye and look ahead to a new and improved streamlined approach.
Not all new moms are frumpy blobs covered in spit-up stains. So how do they do it? Nannies? Maybe. Or else they’ve figured out a few shortcuts to get them through such as:
- A short stylish haircut or sleek pony tail.
- Showering at night once baby is down, then styling hair before going to bed. In the morning, a quick once-over with a straightening or curling iron and she's good to go.
- Dry shampoo is another quick and easy option to freshen hair up without water.
- Rather than going with a full manicure, opt for a coat of clear polish every couple of days - that way chipping isn't noticeable.
- Embrace a makeover in minutes with eyelash curling, a coat of mascara and a bit of lip color.
Done and done.
7 Know The Day Of The Week
Especially if a new mom has taken a foray away from her professional life in order to be a caregiver, she may find herself plummeting into the dark abyss of new parent discombobulation. Without an efficient routine or structure to her ensuing days, each day will melt into the next with a tiny slice of sleepy-time separating each (if she’s lucky!). Trust us on this one, when sleep is scarce, Wednesday can feel like a drawn-out extension of Monday.
Take comfort in the fact that day of the week forgetfulness is a common occurrence and not just to new parents. It’s an actual thing, new baby or not. A recent study conducted in the U.K. found that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are so much alike that it can make it difficult for the human brain to notice any difference between the three days. Not so for Monday or Friday which both have an individual feel to them.
Remember - this new parent gig is extremely short-lived. Schedules will emerge and like it or not a routine will be established. And with it will arrive a clear and focused knowledge of what day of the week it is.
6 Live In The Here And Now
It sounds simple but the most complex theories often do. Pregnancy and new baby are prime times for dreaming about the future. And as with most things concerning a new baby, the distant horizon is always enticing. Until one day the baby is a teenager and parents long for the days when breastfeeding and colic were the most trying issues they faced.
A new parent’s life flies by at breakneck speed while simultaneously standing still. It can be an easy solution to coast along on auto-pilot but then they run the risk of only skimming through what may very well be the happiest moments in life. Luckily, there are steps that can be taken to help new parents regain focus:
- Keep a daily record of gratitude - it can be anything at all. For example: baby spit up today like a fountain narrowly missing my new jacket.
- Be physically active together with baby.
- Limit distractions when spending time together.
- Photos and videos make for wonderful memories but don't go overboard.
- Things adults often take for granted can be wonderful miracles through the eyes of an infant - activities like blowing bubbles, watching butterflies and smelling flowers can be eye opening.
5 Laugh Or Sneeze Without Peeing
Bladder control issues post-pregnancy are normal but that doesn’t make them any less mortifying. Muscles around the bladder and pelvis are often weakened after being taxed during labor and delivery and while the uterus is shrinking back to pre-pregnancy size, it generally sits directly on the bladder. As well, the post-pregnancy cocktail of hormones coursing through a new mom’s veins can throw bladder issues into a tailspin.
Typically, it can take three to six months to regain complete bladder control but sometimes even longer. Until that time, there are several things a woman can do to nudge the process along such as:
- Take pains to shed extra pregnancy weight.
- Avoid beverages that can irritate the bladder like coffee, soft drinks and alcohol.
- Practice their kegels.
- Wear absorbent pads designed for this sort of leakage (not tampons).
- And of course every new mom's failsafe - be prepared when laughing or sneezing by assuming the position of tightly crossed legs.
4 Stay In Bed All Day
Remember the days when being sick meant laying on the couch watching DOOL non-stop? When a body could eat ice cream for supper if they had the notion? When on a cold and rainy Saturday it just made sense to never leave the comfort of a warm and cozy bed? Fast forward to present day and while there may still be many a day a new mom remains in her pjs - it’s most likely not by choice. And forget about taking a sick day - that’s a luxury afforded to no new mother!
The life of a new parent is no longer theirs completely. There’s a higher purpose in place now and they live for someone else. True - whims may be hard to come by and acting on impulse non-existent. But even so - would any parent trade in their children to get that time back?! Even if said children are expensive, soul-crushing, foul-smelling demons? Our money’s on a resounding: NOPE!
3 Not Worry
For a new mom who’s always been a worry-wart, then she’ll be in her glory during pregnancy and onward. But even for the laid back type, don’t be surprised if a new baby brings some worries to the surface.
According to BabyCenter.com, the top five parenting worries are:
- The fear their child won't receive the education and opportunities required to reach their full potential in life.
- The fear of strangers harming their child.
- The fear of accidents and injuries.
- The fear their child will have trouble fitting in socially.
- The fear their child will suffer from weight issues.
According to experts, there is concrete evidence that anxious parents create anxious children. So if new parents recognize anxiety in themselves, it pays to deal with it as soon as it rears its ugly head.
Of course, a bit of worry is healthy. It’s what keeps parents on their toes and protective of their kids. However, it’s when it starts to reach inappropriate levels that brakes need to be applied. Any parent obsessed with catastrophic scenarios or avoiding situations due to an exaggerated belief of risks may actually be struggling with postpartum depression.
2 Keep Up With Pop Culture
Keeping up with the Kardashians as well as any other entertainment-based news may take a backseat in a new parent’s disrupted and often unrecognizable life. When a sleep-deprived person is responsible for another being while attempting to conjure up extra hours each day for things like laundry, housework and grocery shopping, something’s gotta give. It makes sense to set aside the inessential world of pop culture - for the time being anyway.
While definitely not life or death in terms of significance, pop culture knowledge can be a welcome distraction. It’s a way for any new parent to keep themselves from becoming overwhelmed and completely immersed in all things baby. It’s also nice to have some small-talk items on hand that don’t necessarily revolve around poopy diapers and breastfeeding.
Rest assured, a life balance will inevitably be achieved, whether a new parent is actively striving toward it or not. Until that balance comes to pass, a new mom can keep herself somewhat in the loop by having a few trashy mags on hand. There are also apps out there specifically geared toward pop culture updates - the perfect technology to keep new parents in sync with the rest of the free world.
1 Not Second Guess Every Damn Thing!
Here’s the thing about parenting - there’s no one right way. What works in one family may not necessarily work in another. So if baby is co-sleeping with mom and dad and all is well - go with it. If baby is closing in on age four and not even the teensiest bit ready for potty-training - go with the flow (literally!). If a parent is ferberizing, not ferberizing, breastfeeding, formula-feeding, swaddling or not - it’s all good. It honestly is.
Mother and writer Regan Long discusses the issue of parental second-guessing (which is a thankless past time by the way) in a brilliantly written Huffington Post blog article. She sums it up quite eloquently with these words to live by: “To my fellow parents, remember: you don’t need to follow the crowd. You don’t need to go with what one doctor says. You don’t need to abide by the book that everyone swears by . . . Give yourself a pat on the back. Know that even though you may not feel like it, you’re a rock star, you’re incredible, and you have kept your little one(s) alive and thriving for another day . . .”
We at Baby Gaga wholeheartedly agree.