Between sleep-deprivation, recovery from birth and adjusting to the isolation of long days at home with a baby, motherhood can come as a huge shock.
If you could go back in time and speak to yourself as a first-time mum, what would you say?
That's the subject of a mumsnet forum where women are sharing what they'd tell their tired, overwhelmed selves.
It's raw, it's honest, it's direct and it's funny. You'll want to bookmark it and send it to every expectant parent you know.
Here are some of the best:
- "This too shall pass"
- "You won't be this lonely forever. You are crippling, lonely and isolated and depressed. Go and speak out and ask for help.
- "Spend more time just cuddling. I was constantly trying to get my first child to "do" things - shaking rattles in her face and singing nursery rhymes. I wish I'd spent more time just snuggling on the sofa with some good TV or a book."
- "Just give him a bottle."
- "Put those child development books away and stop comparing your child to everyone else."
- "Ignore the people who tell you to "love every minute", they are deluded. And if someone offers to look after your baby while you shower/eat/sleep accept their help, they are not offering because they think you can't cope."
- "Don't get sucked into competitive parenting."
- "You haven't ruined your life. She'll grow into a great kid who'll make you laugh and amaze you with what she can do. You'll find you again and will love family life. Just push through this first bit."
- "Not every health professional is experienced with babies and it's ok to question their advice or ask if there's another way."
- "Just because you're not 'at work' don't put yourself under pressure to be a 'perfect' Instagram SAHM, with a spotless home and dinner on the table. You ARE working, you're keeping a small human alive, and it's the hardest, most all consuming job there is."
- "Get out of the bloody house woman!!!!!!!"
- "Stop worrying about losing the baby weight. It does go with commitment and eventually hard work."
- "Don't delay taking the tablets for your PND, they will make you feel human again."
- "It's maternity leave, not take on all the housework leave."
- "It isn't just the 'baby blues'; ask for help now. It won't get better until you do.
- "It's going to be ok."