20 Things You Think You Need to Do Before Having a Baby

by Emily Jane Clark
Originally Published: 

When I was pregnant for the first time, I was obsessed with getting everything ready for the baby. “I will write a list!” I declared a month before my daughter was due to arrive. I recently found the list in question and discovered that pre-motherhood I was a total idiot who knew absolutely nothing. The list (in all its embarrassing glory):


1) Pack hospital bag with snacks, make up, music, books and laptop as I will probably be in labor for days like it says in the pregnancy books.

2) Try to empty my bowels twice a day so I don’t poop while in labour.

3) Get new bikini and make music play list to ensure beautiful relaxing water birth.

4) Watch more birthing films on YouTube (knowledge is power).

5) Wash all brand-new baby clothes in baby-friendly soap powder.

6) Wash all our own clothes in baby-friendly soap powder.

7) Wash all cot bedding in baby-friendly soap powder.

8) Call midwife and ask if I need to wash sofa covers and muslin clothes in baby-friendly soap powder.

9) Disinfect the entire house and everything in it with anti-bacterial wipes every day until baby is born.

10) Do pelvic floor exercises all day, every day to make up for not doing pelvic floor exercises for the past nine months.

11) Trim my massively overgrown bikini line so it doesn’t poke the baby in the eye on her way out.

12) Buy books and DVDs to keep me occupied on maternity leave.

13) Make husband promise not to look at the ‘bottom end’ when I am giving birth.

14) Learn to bake a cake (or at least cookies).

15) Buy cake recipe book.

16) Buy cake tin.

17) Read What To Expect When You Are Expecting (again).

18) Try harder to get the hang of perineum massage (maybe find film on YouTube?).

19) Go out for a romantic meal with husband as we may not be able to for at least six weeks once the baby is here.

20) CONGRATULATIONS, you have finished this list! Now sit back and relax for a few weeks until the baby arrives!

I never got to number 20. In fact, I never even got past number one.

“First babies are always late,” they told me. “You will probably give birth a good two weeks after your due date.”

They lied.

I was happily eating a Big Mac (our romantic meal) like a woman who had shit loads of time to stuff her face – when my waters BROKE. My husband and I swiftly shoved clothes and nappies into the nearest grocery bag, drove to the hospital and no sooner had I gotten into the birthing pool than my daughter arrived (totally buggering up my unmassaged perineum).

There was no time for snacks, magazines or iPod playlists. No chance to slip into my designer maternity bikini or worry about my unemptied bowels.

And as I had been under the impression I had a good month left for all the cleaning, pelvic floor exercises, washing and cake baking, I was totally unprepared.

I had to take my precious newborn back to a house that had not yet been disinfected (and smelt of McDonald’s), dress her in clothes that had not been washed in baby-friendly soap and hope that having to fight her way out through my big lady bush hadn’t scarred her for life.

I didn’t write a to-do list when I was pregnant the second time around.

With one baby to take care of on the outside and another one kicking the crap out of me on the inside – I was too exhausted to do anything, let alone pelvic floor exercises.

I threw out all the books, didn’t bother with baking and certainly did not eat any Big Macs…

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