I don’t know about you, but I always felt like people talked about how amazing it is to have a newborn. And while this is true – if you take out the whole sleep deprivation part – people don’t really talk about the reality of postpartum. Below are some things to prepare yourself for postpartum as it relates to your body. I’m going to be straight with you; it’s not all roses.
- Hemorrhoids – they are real, and they suck (even if you have a c-section – seriously). Besides kidney stones, this is the second worst physical pain I’ve ever experienced. Part of it is due to the pushing if you deliver vaginally, and part of it is due to sitting in the same position if you’ve had a c-section. Try a hot bath and Tucks pads or Preparation H, and if all else fails, call your OB to see if they have steroid cream samples).
- If you have a c-section, get up and walk soon as you can. It really does help with healing, as weird as that sounds.
- Your milk – Sometimes this doesn’t come in right away (or at all, in my case both times). Don’t hesitate to supplement with formula or donor milk or even pump to speed up the process. I love that hospitals are pro-breastfeeding, but remember that fed is best…meaning do whatever method it takes for baby to get the nutrients he or she needs (your milk, formula, or donor milk).
- Bleeding – No matter how you deliver, bleeding is inevitable and can last for WEEKS. Then it can stop and come back. I recommend Depends Silhouettes during the heaviest parts so you don’t have to worry about leaking (this was a tip from a pregnancy site that was a true gem). Gross, but it is what it is. Some women swear by the mesh undies from the hospital.
- Hormones – These will be up and down for months, and I’m not just talking about how you are feeling emotionally. You’ll wake up drenched in sweat, you’ll be super emotional, your hair may fall out (mine still does 10 months later). You may cramp. You may have hot flashes. This is all normal stuff.
- Baby blues are normal, but postpartum depression or anxiety should be addressed with your OB/doctor. They are there to help you during this crazy season and can talk you through what you are experiencing. And from one mom who has lost babies – you can still experience anxiety and/or depression, AND THAT IS PERFECTLY OK. You do not need to feel guilty for that. Just make sure you get the support you need if you need it. No matter how we get to it, motherhood is a crazy but beautiful ride.
- Your body won’t look the same initially. Or for awhile. I still have stretch marks and a “mom pouch”. Do I love it? No, but I grew a human in my body, so it’s a battle scar in my opinion.