While I was pregnant I did my fair share of research about what to expect during the Postpartum period. I felt like I was pretty well prepared to handle whatever my post-baby body would throw at me, but boy was I wrong!
1. Postpartum comes in waves.
I had a list of symptoms I might experience postpartum and I felt ready to take on whatever came my way. However, I had it in my mind that they would all show up immediately after baby. Nope. Not a chance. It comes in waves- just once you finally get a hold of one thing, your body starts doing something else crazy. I had mentally checked of the list of symptoms I didn’t have, honestly quite proud of how little I was experiencing, but as the weeks went on the list started rapidly growing. Before long I felt like I was completely falling.
Just like the three trimesters of pregnancy, your body takes time to process things postpartum. Your hot men levels are still changing day to day which will lead to new things cropping up form time to time. Just take a deep breath and remember it’s all part of the process.
2. You will feel like your insides are falling out.
More than the sore muscles and pain when using the restroom I hated the intense pressure I felt whenever I sat down. I felt as though all my organs where sitting right in my lowest regions. Not fun. This is the same feeling of pressure they warn you about during labor. I dreaded sitting or going to the bathroom. But take heart- this subsided about a week postpartum.
3. Some things you can’t fix.
This sounds harsh and is definitely not something a pregnant me would have wanted to read, but is the spirit of being transparent here it is: they can’t fix everything. I thought worse case scenario they could stick up and fix any trauma, what I learned is that not everything can be stitched up. More importantly I learned that such things actually have no relevance to your life. It will not change things or make you feel less than what you were unless you allow it too.
4. Your skin will get weird.
This may have been one of the most upsetting things to me. While I was making steady progress in returning to my pregnant weight, I started noticing something weird going on with my belly- my skin looked dimpled and loose. I was so worried that I would have loose saggy skin forever, but thankfully that is not true. Our skin goes through a lot during pregnancy, but over time the look with improve. Moisturize, exfoliate, and hydrate and before you know it your skin will be back on track. Is my skin still looser than before baby? Yes. Does my skin look loose? No.
5. Postpartum side effects can happen months after baby is born.
Just when I thought I was getting back to normal- I started experiencing yet another postpartum joy: hair loss. I have always had pretty bad hair fall, but this was on the next level. Every time I showered it looked as if a hamster had fallen out of my hair. What was worse is that I had been tricked into thinking the luscious think hair pregnancy had brought to me was mine to keep- I didn’t experience any hair fall until August was three months old!
6. Your nutritional needs will change now that your a mom.
The first weeks as a new mom I experienced horrible migraines- apparently a new thing for me. Turns out this was due to me becoming anemic AFTER labor. By taking an iron supplement daily I have been able to ward off most migraines, but trust me those first few weeks were rough. Another nutritional change was he addition of a probiotic. August was extremely gassy and fussy, so the midwife advised adding a probiotic to my diet. This has drastically changed his tummy troubles! Even now if I miss a few days I see that he becomes fussy and gassy all over again.
7. You will feel like none of your muscles will ever work again.
You try and sit up and nothing happens. Everything seems to weigh one million pounds. I never expected to feel so weak, I needed my husbands help to shower, sit up, to do everyday things. You will feel useless, but just give yourself some time Momma. To make things easier try rolling to your side and pushing yourself up (better for those abs anyways!). Take it easy for a few days, your body needs time to concentrate on healing- then you will get back to feeling like yourself.
8. Hemorrhoids can hide.
I left the Birth center pretty proud of myself because in the hemorrhoid department I walked away scot free. Fast forward a week and I started to get a strange uncomfortable feeling- a hemorrhoid. Turns out hemorrhoids can be internal as well, sometimes ether stay that way and you don’t even know they are there. Other times, not so much.
9. Breastfeeding is harder than labor.
Labor is hard emotionally and physically; when’s it’s all done you think you have conquered the biggest beast- well done mama! Unfortunately, breastfeeding it just as wearing in other ways. Though it is natural, it does not come natural to you or your baby. It is emotionally crippling when your baby won’t latch right. You loose sleep staying up trying to get them the milk they need. Their cries of hunger and frustration hit you right in the heart making you feel worthless and piling on the anxiety. All of this on top of the fact that your probably going to experience some pain. Sometimes if a baby is latched incorrectly it can hurt, other times the baby can be latched perfectly and it still hurts. It’s almost like being wind-chapped. On the bright side the toe curling pain subsides after about two weeks.
10. You will want to do it all again.
The first week postpartum I couldn’t even fathom going through labor for another baby. Just the thought of it made me ache. But by week two I would stare at August little face and I could feel the flutter of anticipation. He was so perfect. And my heart began to long for more. Slowly the memory of labor faded into a blissful memories of the first time I saw his sweet face, the first time I heard his cry, the look in my husbands eyes during those last few pushes. So worth it. I honestly can’t wait to have another baby. I can’t wait for labor and postpartum. I can’t wait for another little miracle.
Postpartum took me by surprise, but you can totally handle it because every time you get overwhelmed a little smile will remind you what it was all for.