what to expect when you're expecting

At the risk of simplifying one of life's biggest moments, having a baby is kind of like rocking up to a party only to find out it's fancy dress — and no one thought to mention it.

Only this "invite" didn't just forget to mention a dress code, it failed to tell you that delivering a placenta is just as painful as delivering a baby. Or that [baby brain](https://www.nowtolove.com.au/parenting/pregnancy-birth/baby-brain-is-real-and-measurable-says-study-44218
|target="_blank") won't end at the hospital. Or that you won't go to the bathroom alone for the next three years.

They're just some of the things that no one tells you. Until now. Here, the warts-and-all list of what to expect when you're expecting, in labour and beyond.

1. Childbirth puts a lot of pressure on your rectum. I literally thought I was going to have my baby out of the wrong hole.

2. When your waters break, it's not like it is in the movies. A little gush and it's all over? Please. It goes on and on and ON.

3. It's not just your vagina that gets attention. Once you've had a baby, your breasts do not belong to you anymore. And I'm not just talking about nursing. Nurses, midwives, everyone just gets on in there grabbing, twisting and squeezing. Modesty is payment for motherhood, didn't you know?

4. You're not going to need regular undies or a G-string (ha!) in hospital. So don't even bother packing them. You'll get to wear these glamourous ginormous granny pads that go from navel to the coccyx instead. Happy mother's day!

5. Getting that placenta out is just as painful as the baby. Yet no one ever talks about it!

6. Vaginal dryness will become a frequently-used phrase. Surprise! Pregnancy can affect your vagina in more ways than one. It's not often talked about (until it happens to you and then it's all you can talk about) but vaginal dryness is common after giving birth. Triggered by a change in hormones, it can easily be relieved with Vagisil ProHydrate Plus Internal Hydrating Gel, which is formulated with hyaluronic acid to help your vagina retain moisture. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your GP first before using.

7. Cracked nipples are absolutely nothing like a cracked heel. And are to be avoided at all costs.

8. You won't walk out of hospital looking like you did nine months before. In fact you may look six months pregnant for a long time. Get used to it. And know that it's normal.

9. You'll treat your firstborn like an A-list celebrity. Your second baby will be mildly interesting and your third baby may accidentally be left in a shopping trolley at the supermarket car park from time to time.

10. You will never travel lightly ever again. So you may as well put your small handbags in storage right now.

11. You'll be offended by anyone who doesn't look at your vagina. A friend spent all of this money on an obstetrician and he never once actually looked at her beaver. She was outraged.

12. Your breast milk can and will start flowing whenever you think about your child. Even if you're back at work and they're several suburbs away.

13. Cloth nappies aren't anywhere near as cute or fun as you thought. Conclusion: They belong in the 17th century.

14. Sleep's value will become greater than gold. I wish I knew that sleep would become a currency which I would trade with my husband. Hand on heart, there will be days when, if offered, you would choose one night's unbroken sleep over $1 million. But know this: The first six months do not last forever. Eventually they will sleep. And so will you.

15. Nothing can prepare you for your own behaviour. The first few nights I literally sat on my bed and stared into the cot every time the baby made a sound.

16. Baby brain will not end at birth. Sorry to break it to you, but lack of sleep/coffee/wine will render you useless on many days.

17. You may want to go back to work for the simple pleasure of being able to finish a cup of tea. I did.

18. There's a high possibility you won't go to the bathroom with the door closed for about three years. Just saying.

19. You'll learn the art of talking in broken, disjointed sentences thanks to being constantly interrupted. Don't knock it, it's a skill. A unique shorthand, if you will.

20. Life changes once they can strap themselves in their own car seat and clean their own teeth. It won't be bad, but it will be different. The start of a new adventure.

21. You'll learn first-hand what unconditional love means and feels like. OK, so this one you probably do know already. But it never gets old. Never ever.

Brought to you by Vagisil. Shameless about vaginal health.