Once your baby arrives into the world, it will be your job to make the transition from womb to earthside as calm and nurturing as possible. There will be so many new things to fill their senses, remember to introduce them slowly and quietly to our wonderful world, and enjoy their arrival... at last.

What to expect when the baby arrives

Expect to be able to do nothing but look after your newborn. You won’t have a chance to shower or have a meal, and you will spend all your time breastfeeding or expressing, so don’t feel guilty about the washing accumulating in the laundry basket or about the dirty carpet. And if by some miracle you do manage to brush your teeth and glance at your emails before noon, expect to be pleasantly surprised.

Expect not to fall in love with your baby right away. Bonding takes time.

Even when you’ve bonded, expect to want to hand over your baby as soon as a willing pair of hands appears in the doorway – it’s not a sign you’re a bad mum, just a tired one who would really, really like to have five minutes to herself in the bathroom.

Expect, also, that things will get better. The first three months are tough, and they can sometimes seem to drag minute by long minute, but looking back, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it’s all over.

Expect:

  • Total and absolute change to your schedule, body, emotions and relationships
  • Turmoil and chaos
  • No me-time
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Overwhelming love and a sense of fulfilment.

Being a parent is a tricky job. Just when you think you know how to handle a stage in your child’s development, they change the rules on you. Managing your expectations is a good way of surviving the journey through motherhood with your sanity intact. No, not intact. That’s another expectation that needs managing – your children will drive you crazy at times. Crazy with worry, crazy with frustration, crazy with craziness. It’s their mission in life.

Don’t expect to be a perfect mother. In fact, don’t expect to be a good mother at all. Most mothers feel – from time to time – that they:

  • Are too selfish
  • Don’t spend enough time reading poetry to their children
  • Shout too much
  • Compromise their principles
  • Are too strict, as well as
  • Spoil their children
  • Are bad mothers doing an awful job.

Welcome to the club.

Photos in the bumpandbaby.co.nz/week-by-week/ are by Lenart Nilsson. Lenart's series was bought to fame when his photo, considered the greatest photo of the 20th century, appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1965. “Everyone interprets images differently, depending on their social, cultural and religious background. In the digital era, I believe it is more important than ever to go back and take a look inside ourselves. What better way of doing that than with these photos?” ~ Jane Stene, art gallery director and curator of Lenart's definitive black and white series, told the The Guardian in 2019. It is Lenart Nilsson's wish that his images are never used for political debate about pro-life.

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