After countless prep sessions watching One Born Every Minute, those ante-natal classes and three weeks obsessively 'nesting' I was prepared. Hospital bag packed, un-packed and then re-packed (they said I needed two packs of maternity towels - that couldn't be right, surely) and the freezer stocked with meals I had spent ages preparing but we would never eat, I waited.
When I went into labour (picture a whale trying to have a relaxing bath and lots of exercise ball bouncing whilst my husband timed my contractions on his Birthing App - seriously they have an app for everything nowadays) I was feeling quite optimistic. I think it is important to let you know from the outset that I have never been a very broody person, so I was looking forward to the moment I would first see my baby and that natural maternal instinct would 'kick-in' following the experience of bringing life into the world.
It was quite an amazing experience, and woman to woman I am not lying when I tell you it really wasn't as bad as I had expected, but I couldn't help but feel guilty that the often talked about 'sudden rush of love' didn't hit me in the way I was expecting. Don't get me wrong, it is a remarkable process and delivering a healthy baby (we had a boy) after all that anticipation is such a relief. But that was just it; above all possible emotions I was hit solely with an enormous wave of relief. I had seen every OBEM episode going and it is an absolute given that the new parents always cry. Always. And believe me I am a cryer - I've been known to cry at property programmes and Jeremy Kyle. We had even joked about waterproof mascara.
No prizes for guessing then that I didn't cry. That's right - not a single tear was shed between my husband and I at the birth of our son. It was more of a happy High Five moment, or would have been had both my hands not been attached to a drip of some description. My husband dressed the baby in one of the outfits we had lovingly packed and it was far too big, I was a pretty cross at our wasted effort choosing new clothes and he ended up in a second hand newborn outfit that had shrunk in the wash. It was all quite functional. Kind of how I'd imagine the launch of a product to be after you've designed it and taken delivery but then have teething problems to address.
I want to make it clear that post-labour I was not depressed, or tanked up with painkillers, or experiencing some kind of delayed euphoric reaction. And we were happy that the newest member of our family had arrived safely - he was gorgeous!
I was simply underwhelmed by the process in comparison to the picture that I had bought into through witnessing endless emotional labour scenes in films and on TV.
Lesson 1: labour will undoubtedly be one of the most important things you will ever do, but it may not match up to the general expectation and (shock horror) you may not cry - it should be okay to admit as much.
The Unmumsy Mum