What You Didn’t Know About Postpartum Life.
When I got pregnant, I focused solely on staying healthy and preparing for birth. There was so much to learn and prepare for like, did I want to go all-natural? Did I want to try sitting on a birthing ball? Etc. When it finally came time for the big day, I thought that I was as prepared as I could be (well, as prepared as I could be for it being 5 and a half weeks early! Take a look at my birth story if you’re curious.) It never crossed my mind that I also needed to get ready for postpartum life. The extent of my knowledge was that there would be bleeding for a few weeks, possibly stitches, and that was about it. After I gave birth, I was incredibly excited for our new life as three, but I was instantly met with reality.
Mesh Undies & XL pads with a side of witch hazel
One of my first memories after giving birth was, the nurse coming in and helping me understand what I needed to do every time I used the restroom…cue the puppy pee pads and mesh underwear, haha! Because of all the bleeding you do after giving birth, you basically have to wear the biggest size of pads that are available to prevent messes, along with (unless you brought something else) the mesh underwear that they give to you. Mesh underwear may not sound ideal, but believe me when I say, that they were fantastic! They were extremely comfortable, and the best part was that they were disposable. I definitely wasn’t wanting to get any of my stuff stained, nor was I looking to do any laundry. The glorious part about my lesson on using the bathroom was the squeeze bottle, numbing spray and witch hazel pads that they provided me with. Who wants to wipe and torture a part of their body that just went through something so extreme? Not me!! The squeeze bottle with warm water made cleaning up much less traumatic while the witch hazel pads and numbing spray provided instant pain relief.
going number two
The next thing that I was absolutely NOT prepared for was pooping for the first time after giving birth. It was one of the most terrifying parts of postpartum I reckon! Everything was so tender and sore, so the thought of trying to encourage a bowel movement did not sound fun…and it wasn’t. The best advice I can give, is to accept the stool softeners that the nurses offer you, and to let nature happen on its own. Try not to force anything that isn’t ready, especially if you have a few stitches or developed hemorrhoids during birth (oh hemorrhoids…unfortunately they are super common when it comes to pushing out a baby!)
If these few postpartum things sound exciting, I’m about to make it a party. Let’s talk contractions. Now that you’ve experienced contractions during birth, you probably would love to forget all about them until your next baby! But let me humble you as I was humbled.. contractions occur for a good few weeks AFTER giving birth! Like, right after you push your baby out and all is well, you will get a nice abdomen massage from your nurse that will rock your world and this will happen a few times. Why?? It encourages your uterus to contract back down to its normal size. Is it uncomfortable and sometimes painful? YES. In addition, breastfeeding will help your uterus contract down to size as well, so be prepared!!
hormonal hair-loss and skin
I also want to bring up postpartum hair-loss and skin craziness! I noticed how beautiful, thick, and pretty my hair became during pregnancy, and it was awesome!! I loved it! When my son Kana was about three months old, the exact opposite started to happen and I started to lose hair. Oh, did I lose hair!! I could literally just run my hands through my hair and tons of it would be on my hands, even with the follicles still attached. I loathed showers because I knew it would look like a small animal sitting in the drain, that’s how much hair I would lose..and it sucked! The only thing I found that helped, was just keeping my hair super healthy and giving it the chop. It was sad, but it is growing back so much thicker luckily! For your skin…expect randomness! Your hormones are fluctuating so much and trying to normalize, and until they do, your skin will experience the same! Maybe you’ll have random acne, unexpected dryness, etc. Just be nice to your skin and it WILL pass.
I still look 5 months pregnant
Finally, just because you have your baby doesn’t mean that your body will instantly revert back to your pre-pregnancy body. Until your uterus contracts back down to a normal size, you will still look about 4-5 months pregnant! I was so thrown off with this, but it totally makes sense. What I learned is that being nice to your body is so important. You literally just created a tiny little human, birthed it, and it took about 9 months to do so..it is going to take some time for your body to recover and that is OKAY! Try not to focus on how your body is different, but appreciate what it has done and the reasoning for why it is different. Don’t rush through your baby’s first few weeks because you’re focused on your body!! Enjoy every moment because it flies by!
Postpartum is a beast, but I hope that my experiences and advice will help you feel more prepared so that you can focus on your precious new addition(s). Don’t be taken by surprise like I was, take care of yourself and you’ve got this mama!
P.S. If you have any additional postpartum stories or tips, please share them!