When I thought about having a baby BEFORE I actually had a baby, I visualized this cuddly, cute, small creature that smelled yummy and had the ability to literally change the atmosphere. No one told me about all the other stuff! The weird things that happen to your body after you give birth (as if labor weren't enough). All the more proving that the woman body is a matchlessly amazing thing!
I will preface these 6 things by saying while most of them may seem weird or outlandishly uncomfortable, this too shall pass and the joy received from your little one far surpasses any and all challenges. Even with what I know now, I would gladly do it all again if it meant I got to be Bailey’s Mom.
1. You are still pregnant…or at least it looks that way.
In the days and even weeks after your baby is born it is very likely that you will still have a very firm belly. Do not be fooled by the Eniko Harts of the world! Even with a relatively decent snapback situation, the after body looks very similar to the before. I am presently 4 months postpartum and still on the struggle bus on the road to getting my body back. I try to constantly be kind to myself, remembering that it took 10 months, a week, and a day to form this body…it’ll take time (a lot of time) to get it back.
2. Bowels Be Trippin’!
Regardless of how your child comes into the world, be it vaginal or cesarean, the process of child birth shifts and changes the other organ's ability to handle bodily functions. In layman’s terms, shitting is scary! Like clinching the wall scary! I have heard that some moms named their first poo because of the intensity and labor required! Make Colace (stole softener) your bestie.
3. Fluids Runneth Over.
Mounds of fluids accumulate in your body to protect and sustain the life of your little one. When that little one leaves your body, the fluids go too. So the menstrual break you were on for the past 10 months is officially over…and it will make up for lost time as you will likely have a heavy period for the first several days. Additionally, I had major feet swelling occur after birth for several days to the point that I could not fit my shoes. Drinking water to flush the fluids out helped immensely.
4. Breastfeeding is Hard AF.
Everyone talks about the benefits of breastfeeding…how it's good for your little one, how that bonding time in nursing offers a closeness that no one else has. I wish I knew breast-feeding is NOT for the faint of heart! First of all, latching is seldom a perfect process. Bailey and I are just now getting a rhythm with it (4 months later). And oh the pain of milk production (your milk “coming down”) and engorged boobs that leak!! If I didn’t know what a real contraction felt like, I’d say it’s the most painful thing. And pumping…chile, that’s an entirely separate post! Let’s just say, there are other things I’d rather do. Try to find other breast-feeding mamas for support. I attend a support group through the University of Chicago Hospital that has been very helpful. There are several other support groups and lactation consultants. You can also find support online.
5. Emotions! Emotions! Emotions!
The combination of imbalanced hormone levels and sleep deprivation will likely have your emotional state out of sorts. Baby blues is REAL! And it should be…you just had a WHOLE HUMAN for goodness sake! Take time to rest when you can, step away from the baby from time to time, and talk to someone if it goes on for too long.
6. There Isn’t ANYTHING Too Hard for Your Body.
A close friend of mine gave me some great advice before Bailey was born. “It will be the hardest work you’ve ever done, but it won’t feel like it.” Nothing in this process is too hard for your body to handle! You survived LABOR. You can survive ANYTHING!! Even with my experiences as a new mom, I would like to have another baby(God willing). It has truly been a wonderfully interesting ride, and I am so grateful to of had the opportunity to travel it!
What other things do you wish you knew about childbirth? Or the process after? I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments below!
Love Without Fear,