5 Things They Never Told You About Postpartum
Posted January 21, 2015 by Prairie Wife - 4 comments
Warning: Do not read this post if you are thinking about being pregnant but are not yet pregnant, if you are embarrassed easily by hearing people talk about bodily functions, or if you are male.
One of the fun things about this pregnancy is that I get to enjoy being pregnant along with my close friend and frequent contributor on this site TallGirlJ. While we are 6 weeks apart it’s still been fun to experience all this together. Last month we shared with you 5 Things They Never Told You About Pregnancy and 5 Things They Never Told You About Labor and Delivery. Since then TallGirlJ has given birth to a beautiful baby boy and my due date continues to draw nearer. She is currently living through her Postpartum time, and I am mentally preparing for it. Yet again we both feel that the experts have let us down by glossing over details or simply not mentioning things at all. While we could have come up with a much longer list of things to know about those first few months with a new baby, we stuck to our top five. We hope this helps you, or at the very least gives you a laugh or two!
1. Your undercarriage is going to be angry, really, really angry!
Prairie Wife: Of course I knew that things were going to be “sore” and “uncomfortable” down there…but just like pregnancy hair growth the books skim over the details. I was absolutely shocked at how my girl parts were able to hang down to my knees, the scratchy soreness of stitches, the shockingly painful hemorrhoids, the exhausted and bruised pelvis bones and ligaments, and the blood and cramping. Scary right…but I assure you it does return to normal…and more quickly than you think. Take a look at our hospital bag post to see what you can bring to ease your pain. Make sure you ask the nurses for a diaper full of ice and PLEASE watch your bleeding levels. Yes you will bleed more than a regular period, but if you have any concerns at all ask the nurses!
TallGirlJ: Oh the undercarriage…Prairie wife is right, all the books “forget” to mention the true facts. You know how you got to go 10 months of pregnancy without having to deal with the pesky “Aunt Flo”? Well no worries if you missed her. After having a baby you get to deal with her super rank sister “Aunt Never Goes Away!” You will get to make up for those 10 months of not seeing her, for about a month straight after a baby. Just when you think she has left she will be right back! Your stitches will feel like sandpaper in your undies and your hemorrhoids will just be added fun. The good news is it will all go back to normal. In the mean time, you will have a beautiful baby to hold and cherish to remind you it’s all worth it!
2. Prepare to never feel clean!
Prairie Wife: Between the weeks of bleeding, the leaking breast milk, the pee (yours and the babies), the spit up, and the night sweats as your body removes all the extra water it’s collected for the last 9 months (I sleep on a towel the first few weeks), you will be feeling pretty nasty. Add to that extreme exhaustion and the very real choice of catching a 30 minute nap or showering for the first time in two days…guess which one you’re going to pick? God made dry shampoo, body spray, baseball hats, baby wipes, and clinical strength deodorant for a reason. That reason is new mothers! Take a breath and don’t worry about it. Chances are you feel way stinkier than you really are, and if your husband complains let him hold the baby so you can take a long luxurious shower…or consider it a way to ensure you can get shut eye without him bothering you!
TallGirlJ: Ah yes, the feeling of never feeling clean… It’s a given that showers are a luxury when you have kids, so add a new baby to the mix and they become worth more than gold. Between trying to get kids to school, making sure they are bathed and the baby is clean and fed it’s hard to remember that yes you too should take a bath! On top of all that, every place that can leak is leaking something, and babies like to pee a lot (especially boys). When you take off their diapers you are bound to end up covered with something. As Prairie Wife says, you usually feel grosser than you appear and naps are much more important!
3. Your hormones are no longer your friend.
TallGirlJ: I always forget this part. Which, I guess is a good thing, and maybe this is what allows me to want more babies…because man am I a mess! I will cry for a week straight over the silliest things. But, at the time they will seem so big! The good news is that your hormones will start to straighten out. I become less and less teary as the weeks go on but this stage can easily last about 3 months. One day I’ll be just being fine, then the next day (or moment) I am sad or getting my feelings hurt over something silly. You do want to be careful and keep an eye on things. If you start feeling really down or even anxious it’s not normal, and it is O.K. to ask for help. Sometimes all it takes is talking to a friend. Other times you might need a bit more help for a few month to get yourself lined back out, and that is O.K. too.
Prairie Wife: Those pregnancy hormones can be pretty rough and cause a multitude of problems but, over the last 9 months you’ve become used to the ups and down. As they leave your body and readjust their levels they cause a whole new multitude of problems. The overwhelming love and joy you feel the first days after your baby is born is usually accompanied by what I call “The new mom adrenaline rush.” You feel great and wired, on a new mom frantic hormone high…and then it leaves. Then come the tears, the exhaustion, the doubt, perhaps even guilt. When my milk comes in I’m a walking tearful zombie. The exhaustion adds to the problem by making it harder to bite your tongue and regain control when you’ve lost it. Just let it all happen ladies! The quicker you give in and let it all out, the sooner you’ll be back to “normal”. If your feelings don’t go away or seem severer (if you want to hurt yourself or the baby) please talk to a health care professional or a trusted friend or family member.
4. It’s OK if you don’t bond with your baby right away.
Prairie Wife: When my first baby was born I watched The Cowboy hold him and saw them instantly bond. They stared intently in each other’s eyes and I swear I felt the bond form. When I was finally allowed to hold him (let’s not get into that now though OK) I waited for my bonding zing…and waited. I loved him, I was excited to finally meet him, but I know I didn’t feel what The Cowboy did. Eventually that “Mama Bear” instinct kicked in but it took months. I never said a word to anyone. When Cowgirl G was born I instantly felt that Mama Bear moment and my heart breathed a sigh of relief. I chalked up my lack of insta-bond with Cowboy J to him being my first baby. Then when Cowboy W was born I gazed adoringly at him and waited for my Mama Bear moment…nope once again, no dice. As I watched The Cowboy hold him a few moments later I saw them zing. This time I knew not to be afraid and that my time would come eventually. As The Cowboy and I sat, I asked him about it. It turns out he had the same fears as me, but with Cowgirl G! Turns out each baby and parent is different. Don’t worry if you don’t have that Mama Bear Moment right away, it will come!
TallGirlJ: I also had a moment of insta-bond with one of my babies while my Mama Bear Moment with the other two came about a week later for me. It is a crazy thing, and can make you feel super guilty when you don’t feel it at first. The great news is, the love is there right away! You will feel that so strongly that when your Mama Bear Moment comes, it makes that love that much more powerful!
5. You CAN do this motherhood thing!
Prairie Wife: Between my lifelong dream of motherhood, years spent as a nanny, and a college degree in how to work with children I thought I would have this mom thing in the bag…opps, was I wrong! Nothing was scarier than bringing that tiny baby home and being the main person in charge of taking care of him. I had so many struggles that I could turn it into a 20 part series! In the end, through the love and support of The Cowboy and my family, I learned that I could do it. And that even if I made mistakes they were made with the best of intentions. Read my post What Every New Mom Needs to Hear and know that this baby was given to you for a reason. You are the mother that your baby needs to become who they are destined to be!
TallGirlJ: I think the important thing to remember is every mother is different. You can not (and should not) compare yourself to that mom you believe is super mom, and try to hold yourself to up to her standards. I guarantee they have struggles too (they just hide them). It’s O.K. to strive to be a better mom and try different tricks or ideas you might see. Don’t get caught in the trap of trying to be like other moms, it will only make you feel like a failure. Find what works for you and roll with it! In the end it will make you be the super mom your kids need. Just remember, being a mom is hard, but it also super rewarding. You were chosen to be a mother, just love your kids and guide them in the best way you can. I assure you the greatest rewards will come!
What do you wish you had known about postpartum?
For more support for new moms read these posts…
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