The things we didn’t expect when we were expecting!

When I first fell pregnant with Lewis at 23, my biggest concern was for the birth. Everyone had been full of horror stories, tales of sixty hour labours, emergency C-sections, forceps, stitches and third degree tears, none of which I was looking forward to! And whilst I was so caught up in the thoughts of such a massacre, I gave very little thought to the days, and weeks afterwards, assuming that I would have the baby, pop back into shape and life would go back to normal, albeit with a little less sleep and a lot more responsibility.

Let me just say, boy was I wrong?!

I can distinctly remember phoning a friend a few months later, the only one of my friends who had children at that time, and asking her, “Why the hell didn’t you tell me what really happens afterwards?? All of those conversations we had about internal stitches and following through in labour, and not one mention about what happened next?”. I didn’t want to scare you!”, she told me, “And anyway, you just kind of forget?”.

Forget? Really? By the time that Lewis was six months old, I wasn’t even close to forgetting the ordeal that my body had been through. Yes the after pains had subsided, and I was no longer in danger of becoming anaemic due to the heavy blood loss, but my boobs still resembled bowling balls, I was a hormonal wreck, and losing my hair at the most alarming rate that I was convinced I was going bald!

I can still remember, having just bought my tenth bottle of sink and drain in-blocker in as many weeks, looking in the mirror at my thinning hair, my receding hairline, a few snapped off tufts sticking up like one of those grass head men we planted as kids, and crying myself stupid. I spent hours researching miracle shampoos and lotions, googling FUE hair transplants, and wondering how long it would take for me to save up and restore my crowning glory. For me, the hair loss was perhaps the biggest surprise of all, and one that nobody had fore-warned me about. And when you’re already feeling down on yourself, and your hormones are all over the place, going bald is enough to send anyone over the edge!

And so I thought that I would share, with the help of my blogging friends, a list of things that we didn’t expect when we were expecting.  It’s by no means pretty, infact this post should probably come with a warning, but as I learned in the good old Guides, it’s always better to be prepared!

“Getting less than 2 hours sleep every 24 hours! I thought newborns were supposed to sleep constantly??” – Hello beautiful bear

“It has to be the after pains! I didn’t know anything about them, until it felt like I was in labour all over again!”- Sophie ella and me

“How long I’d still look pregnant for! I was expecting it to go instantly but my belly still looked like I’d got a football stuck up my jumper for ages!” – Twinderelmo

“After I finished breastfeeding I thought my breasts would return to normal. But they are like two pillows that have lost the stuffing!” – Dear bear and beany!!

“How your vagina feels like it’s being repeatedly reversed into by a bus for a good few weeks!” – Raising the rings

“The first poo! Oh my word I didn’t even consider how bad it would be. Having had an episiotomy it was sore down there already and then with the added pressure….ouch!!” – Mummy Miller

“The feeling of my stomach; it was saggy, it was soft, there was no definition in it and it could only be described as a somewhat deflated balloon. I didn’t expect to lose weight immediately, but I expected to be my normal ‘overweight’ self. Instead, my stomach was completely different to anything I could have ever expected!” – Life with boys

“After my emergency section I was shocked to find out that I needed to give myself an injection in my stomach every day for a week and wear anti-embolism socks for weeks afterwards!” – Nomipalony

“Taking so long for me to feel like me again – I completely lost myself.” – Meme & Harri

“Ooh the first wee! That stung like a mofo!” – Stacey in the sticks

“I was not prepared for the smell of the rotting umbilical cord  – urgh!” – Thrifty mum

“That it feels like you are grazed down there, and it stings like hell when you have your first wee! And my God, when your milk comes in it is agony!! The is not enough savoy cabbage in the world to help you! I remember sitting in bed, with cabbage in my bra, crying in pain! Now you don’t see THAT in the movies!!” – Kizmetcava

“How much my sex drive would diminish. I thought that we’d be back to it as I had quite a high sex drive but even now 9 months later I don’t really have any desire to do it.” – Mummy to dex

“The blood … lots of blood … so much blood … it resembled a murder scene in the toilet cubicle when all I wanted was to have a wee! Blood all over the floor, I tried to clean it with toilet paper but the more I moved, the more the floor flooded … I was very apologetic to the poor cleaner who had to sort it out! ” – Pack the PJs

“That I might not be able to breastfeed, despite having huge boobs (!), and that I’d have to sit there like a cow on a milking machine whilst a nurse force-fed my baby with a medicine cup. That was just horrible. Made me want to say, forget it, just give him a bottle” – Family makes

“The troll hair. I had been warned about hair loss, but for some reason I hadn’t clocked that it would mean it has to grow back and would stick out all over the place in the process!! Twelve months on I’m still a mess in the hair department!” – Odd Hogg

“Not being able to lay on my front still for a good few weeks after my C-section, and not being able to actually sleep on my bed because I couldn’t roll onto it!” – Candyfloss & dreams

“The empty feeling in my stomach. I knew that obviously baby was going to be born, but I didn’t realise quite how empty I’d feel – If anyone touched my stomach in those first few days I felt so sick!” – Emily and Indiana

“Being terrified to leave him, terrified of what I didn’t know. Just going to the bathroom felt so strange to be away from him. Fast forward 7 years and another baby and today I actually did a happy dance because I have two hours child free!” –  Life love and dirty dishes

“How irritated I would be by everyone calling me Mummy. I still have a name!!” – The diary of an unexpectant mother

“How emotional you are afterwards. I was crying about three times a day over nothing. Even a ‘How are you?’ or a hug would set me off.” – Bespoke Buckley

“Loneliness – I never thought about how I would feel being at home all day on my own with the baby, especially as we don’t live close enough to friends or family for them to drop in for an hour, or quick cup of tea to break up the day.” – The Amphletts

“The uterus contractions when breastfeeding after your second being more painful than labour itself! Thank god for Tramadol!” – Real mum reviews

“The self doubt – were we right to let him cry in the Moses basket and not sleep? Were we right to finally give up on that and co-sleep? Was it right to feed on demand? Let him sleep on his tummy? Cuddle him to sleep? So much self doubt!!! Even now, 10 months later!” – Devon Mama

“Feeling like I’d been hit by a bus after a very quick labour and a big baby! I ached from my neck to my feet from pushing and it took a few days until my muscles felt normal again. And the hair loss! I thought I’d avoided it until three months hit and then I looked like I had a receding hairline.” – Baby holiday 

I can relate to all of these things, and more besides, and yet despite the pain, the baldness or the raging hormones, I can promise you one thing – afterwards, when it’s all a distant memory, it is totally worth it.

I would love to know what the biggest surprise was for you?


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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*This is a collaborative post with Harley Street Hair Clinic. All words and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.*


    • Laura Dove
      March 5, 2017 / 5:27 pm

      Thank you. I think perhaps it’s better we didn’t expect all of those things, the population might take a huge dive!!! xx

  1. March 5, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    Lol this could put the world off having babies. Sorry you had such bad hair loss. I don’t think there was anything in particular for me.

    • Laura Dove
      March 5, 2017 / 7:02 pm

      Haha couldn’t it just? I think it’s always better to be prepared for it though!! xx

  2. March 5, 2017 / 6:50 pm

    Great post! Thanks so much for including me! Will share.

    • Laura Dove
      March 5, 2017 / 7:02 pm

      Thank you for your comment, much appreciated! xx

  3. March 5, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    My hair is only finally getting back to normal now and my youngest is 19 months! Fab post, thanks for including me 🙂 xx

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:44 pm

      I’m still losing hair nearly three years on!!! Thank you for contributing! xx

  4. March 5, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    Having a baby for the first time is so amazing, but such a learning curve! I remember thinking ‘oh this is easy’ for the first couple of days, but boy did reality hit! I really love this post, I think it’d be a great read for all parents to be to avoid any huge shocks in the weeks and months after birth. Thanks so much for linking up to #KCACOLS, hope you come back again next Sunday x

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:43 pm

      Thank you, it’s crazy just how hard it is! I was the same my first, first two days he just slept non-stop, and then it hit…aaggghhh!! xx

  5. March 5, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    OMG this is perfect. It encapsulates all the things that nobody ever mentions beforehand and are completely shocking! The blood, being an emotional wreck, etc. One of my most shocking things was having other women (widwives & lactation consultants, not just randoms) squeezing my nipples all the time to help me hand express colostrum for my special care baby. Both OUCH and WEIRD. But I was too tired and emotional to care. You could totally put a book together with a chapter about each of these truly grisly childbirth things. Thanks for joining #eatsleepblogrt. Hope you come back next week!

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:42 pm

      Thank you! A no holds barred guide to birth, that would be a pretty gruesome read wouldn’t it? I remember a midwife doing the same to me in the hospital, pumping away on my boobs and tweaking at my nipples, it was only after a while, in my sleep deprived state, I realised that it was my friends Auntie! Awkward!! xx

  6. March 5, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    I didn’t expect that breastfeeding would be really painful at first. I thought it was only supposed to hurt if you’re doing it wrong, but no – it just takes your nipples a few weeks to being used in that way. There were a lot of bleeding nips and tears in those early days! #EatSleepBlogRT

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:41 pm

      Yes I was surprised by that too! Nobody mentioned that it would hurt, or that it would be really hard work!! xx

  7. March 6, 2017 / 8:28 am

    What a great post, I don’t think you can ever fully prepare yourself ,for all of this though!

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:39 pm

      Thank you, me either. The worst part about having your second child is that you know exactly what’s coming! xx

  8. March 6, 2017 / 9:03 am

    I’m still loosing my hair and my daughter is two! Wahhhhh…there are so many things that I could relate to with this post…#MarvMondays

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:39 pm

      Me too!! My youngest is three in May!! Nobody ever mentioned the hair loss! xx

  9. March 6, 2017 / 9:19 am

    Yes to all of this. I didn’t realise that cabbage leaves, straight from the freezer, would be my new best friend. But you know what I’ve realised now, I didn’t know that my c section scar would one day disappear. It’s 3 and a half years since I had my section and I thought it would always be there but now its not and I sort of miss it. Weird eh? #EatSleepBlogRT

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:38 pm

      I didn’t realise it disappeared either? Our bodies are pretty amazing thought aren’t they? xx

  10. March 6, 2017 / 12:00 pm

    This is a great post hon. You should turn it into a book to be standard issue for every mum to be!

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:37 pm

      Haha I think there would be a huge decrease in the birth rate!! xx

  11. March 6, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    Oh this is just fantastic – nodded my way through the entire post. It’s like this fab club we’ve joined – united through the hideousness of what our bodies go through – the best club ever! #BigPinkLink

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:37 pm

      Haha that’s exactly what it is!! We are pretty amazing though aren’t we?!! xxx

  12. Michelle Murray
    March 6, 2017 / 1:58 pm

    yep I agree with each and every single one especially for me was having to stuff my bra with cabbage leaves. omg!!!

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:36 pm

      Haha me too! Never thought Id do that! xx

  13. March 6, 2017 / 2:48 pm

    I agree with so many of these. I remember the after pains with my first and had no idea they existed and was in agony wondering what the hell was going on! Fab post Thanks for joining #marvmondays

    • Laura Dove
      March 6, 2017 / 4:35 pm

      Me too! With my fifth I was convinced there must be a second baby in there making their way out! xx

  14. Jo
    March 6, 2017 / 6:25 pm

    I salute all you ladies who have gone through these things in the name of having children. You’re made of strong stuff!

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:33 am

      Thanks Jo, us women are pretty amazing! xx

  15. March 6, 2017 / 7:45 pm

    Raising the rings really made me laugh out loud. Goodness me the after-effects sound horrific and thanks for the warning. Not planning for a while but still good to know what happens haha.

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:32 am

      Haha sorry if we have put you off!!! xx

  16. March 6, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    lady you are not wrong! i thought my boobs would g back to normal and unfortunately not, I had a great rack too haha x

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:32 am

      Haha oh yeah, mine will never be the same again! xx

  17. March 6, 2017 / 8:03 pm

    Lots of things I didn’t know about! Well done all!

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:31 am

      I’m sure most people would rather not know, haha! xx

  18. March 6, 2017 / 9:31 pm

    Oh goodness, where so I start? I think the biggest fear would that my insides would fall out if I went for a poo LOL

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:29 am

      Haha I remember saying that to a midwife, I feel like my organs are just going to fall right out!! xx

  19. March 6, 2017 / 11:33 pm

    I have to admit I never thought about it being painful going to the loo but it makes sense. The cabbage bra did make me laugh xxx

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:28 am

      Oh going to the toilet after is HORRIFIC!!! I never thought about that until it happened, ouch!! xx

  20. March 7, 2017 / 8:54 am

    My biggest surprise was the aftermath of the labour suite – it looked like a murder scene. No one prepares you for after giving birth, that saggy tummy where the skin hangs down, the blood loss and the first wee…oh the first wee!! Still makes me feel sick thinking about it! #twinklytuesday

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:27 am

      Haha yes!! I remember walking to the bathroom and just leaving a trail of blood, I had no idea there would be so much blood!!! xx

  21. Sophie
    March 7, 2017 / 9:13 am

    Haha this just brought back all the memories of the first year!

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:27 am

      That first year is brutal isn’t it? xx

  22. March 7, 2017 / 9:47 am

    This is a great post! I found it really interesting as I read through at how differently we all experience early motherhood. Some things I can totally relate to (Mrs Troll Hair over here!!) and others I didn’t experience at all. Just shows how individual we all are. Really interesting post, thanks for sharing with #DreamTeam xxx

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:27 am

      Hahah I am still Mrs troll hair, almost three years on! Pregnancy really takes its toll! xx

  23. March 7, 2017 / 10:53 am

    I didn’t think my baby wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. He just could not figure out a latch and it was agony. I assumed it was all my fault that we couldn’t get him to feed until my midwife said she’d never seen a baby try to latch like that before in her entire career. I felt a bit better then! #dreamteam

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:26 am

      Aww I struggled with breastfeeding too. Mine were all premature so didn’t have the latching reflex. I had no idea some babies wouldn’t know how to feed! xx

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:25 am


  24. March 7, 2017 / 6:45 pm

    I so wish they actually tell you what happens before you pop! there was so much that was a surprise to me! I have so much fluffy baby hair coming through but on a plus side it would appear my natural reciding hairline is growing!!! hahaha #twinklytuesday

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:24 am

      Oh yay for small mercies! My naturally receding hairline just receded further, haha!! x

  25. March 7, 2017 / 9:28 pm

    Hallelujah! The truth is out. The pain after was blinding and lasted for days and days 🙁

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 10:08 am

      Haha nobody tells your these things do they? The afterpains are horrific! xx

  26. March 8, 2017 / 11:12 am

    I didn’t sleep much during pregnancy so I thought I would be wide awake with the babies at night but I was so wrong. All I wanted to do was sleep after having them.

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 12:01 pm

      Oh me too, never happens though!

  27. March 8, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    omg!! thanks for sharing this, I had no idea. I knew it was scaring but… Gosh! hahaha x

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 2:22 pm

      Haha it’s always better to be prepared, right? xx

  28. March 8, 2017 / 12:52 pm

    What a list!!!! Reading it, I think I actually got off quite lightly…! I’m sorry about your hair situation-I knew that could happen, but I’ve never actually met anyone it’s happened too-that’s the last thing you need when you’re already down about your appearance. The ones I can definitely remember here are the after pains, I mean honestly!! You just go through a whole labour, then those! And actually, with my second, I did the whole thing with no pain relief (which I hadn’t planned!), then when the afterpains came, I was shouting to the midwife to get me something-they were worse than the contractions! And the stomach thing-I couldn’t bare to look at, or touch it. I couldn’t wash it, because it made me feel totally sick…!

    • Laura Dove
      March 8, 2017 / 2:22 pm

      Haha yes me too! I only had paracetamol with my births and I was screaming for all the drugs with my afterpains. They say they get worse the more children you have, with my fifth I swear I thought there was another baby on its way out!! The hair thing was a nightmare, I barely had much hair to begin with so to lose even more was soul destroying!!! xx

  29. March 8, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    Such a brilliant post! I could not have researched and prepared any more for the actual birth part, and the what to do with baby when she gets here part, but the how to piece myself back together bit totally eluded me. I remember getting out of the shower and panicking as I just couldn’t work out which leaking bit of me to apply pads to first! It was a real shock to the system and there needs to be more information like this out there for new mums (and to prepare the dads too)! Thanks for sharing with #DreamTeam x

    • Laura Dove
      March 10, 2017 / 11:55 am

      Haha I remember the first bath, it was a massacre, and afterwards I caught sight of myself in the mirror and burst into tears!! xx

  30. March 9, 2017 / 5:48 am

    Not that I mind at all, but the biggest surprise to me (since I don’t want to restate what is already on your list) was my loss of a taste for alcohol! That’s right, I don’t like to drink anymore. Once we finished breastfeeding, Hubby would buy me a drink or two and all I could think while drinking it was how much I really wanted a chocolate milk!

    • Laura Dove
      March 10, 2017 / 11:47 am

      Oh I totally relate to this!!! I was pregnant for three years running and afterwards I just lost any kind of desire for alcohol!! I’ve drank maybe five or six times in three years since, I’m just not bothered about it at all! xx

  31. March 9, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    Thanks for mentioning us. Nearly all of these ring true to me. It’s scary how unprepared I was before having a baby!


    • Laura Dove
      March 10, 2017 / 11:39 am

      Oh me too! I was so naïve, I think I preferred it that way! xx

  32. March 10, 2017 / 10:47 am

    Oh yes! I remember walking into town when Keira was a few days old and instantly regretting it. I had to go and sit down as I felt like the world was going to fall out of my backside! I had a really bad tear and internal stitching so I was so swollen I could barely sit down! Sarah #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      March 10, 2017 / 11:33 am

      Oh no, I remember that feeling far too well. The things our bodies go through, it’s amazing isn’t it? xx

  33. March 10, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    Second to the comments about the shape of my tummy post-birth as well as the outrageous bleeding that happened. I thought that all that stinkin’ cocoa butter was supposed to prevent that kind of disaster, but boy was I wrong! #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      March 11, 2017 / 7:18 pm

      Haha yeah, the cocoa butter doesn’t do what it promises does it?! xx

  34. March 10, 2017 / 9:33 pm

    This is a brilliant post. For me it was the uterus contractions- I had absolutely no idea that would happen and it totally freaked me out! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • Laura Dove
      March 11, 2017 / 7:16 pm

      Thanks Lisa, me either! That was a shock I wasn’t expecting! xx

  35. March 11, 2017 / 10:55 am

    I do not have any kids yet and to be frank after reading all the things other women went through not sure i could cope, I am already suffering with my hair and my period drives me insane I feel labour might just be the end of me 🙁

    • Laura Dove
      March 11, 2017 / 6:41 pm

      Ahh I’m sure you would be absolutely fine. Some women find that their periods change after having a baby, I know mine went from being horrific and irregular to being every 30 days like clockwork, it’s amazing what our bodies can do! xx

  36. March 12, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    These warming for new mums are rather scary! I can totally related with the above. The pee, the poo, the tummy, the boob – ouch!! Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      March 13, 2017 / 9:23 am

      Haha I know, I would have been terrified but I think I’d have liked to have been warned! xx

  37. March 12, 2017 / 7:56 pm

    This is fab – yes to the saggy post breastfeeding boobs. And man when your milk comes in. I walked out the shower and saw my husband cuddling my baby on the bed and milk was literally dripped out of me like a tap was on. Who knew?! I also felt like I’d been in a car accident. I had grazes and bruises on my legs and thighs from thrashing about in the bath in labour. Didn’t expect that! Luckily I never had the hair loss thing. #bigpinklink

    • Laura Dove
      March 13, 2017 / 9:21 am

      It’s crazy what our bodies go through isn’t it? I wasn’t prepared for it AT ALL!! xx

  38. March 12, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    Great post! I remember being shocked by the hair loss too – it was about 4.5 months later… That was actually what inspired me to start my blog and gave me the push. I thought why didn’t I know this?! My biggest shock was how we coped on next to no sleep and just coped and that was that, we had a completely new life and it just was the way it was. #bigpinklink

    • Laura Dove
      March 13, 2017 / 9:20 am

      Yes! Mine was months later and I remember thinking I had the onset of alopecia!! It’s important to share all sides to parenting, I wish someone had told me! xx

  39. March 18, 2017 / 12:07 pm

    I was definitely shocked about how much my boobs hurt afterwards. I didn’t breastfeed and for days afterwards it was absolutely agony! #kcacols

    • Laura Dove
      March 19, 2017 / 6:12 pm

      Oh god yes, AGONY!! I wasn’t prepared for that either! xx

  40. March 18, 2017 / 11:12 pm

    Nobody told me about the crazy never ending bleeding either my first time giving birth! They were all happy to mention the possibility of pooing myself over and over again however! #KCACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      March 19, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      Hahaha yes, people love to tell that story!! xx

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