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My 8 Biggest Postpartum Surprises

There are a million resources for pregnant women- from books, to websites, newsletters and apps. But there seems to be a bit of a void when it comes to postpartum resources. I mean, sure, we get breastfeeding education, and exercise encouragement, but beyond that, it seems that it’s a little harder to come by information. It’s also possible that unlike during pregnancy, I didn’t really want to know what happened next because OMG THERE IS A BABY.

What this has boiled down to is that the postpartum period has been a little rocky in terms of what’s happening to my body. I knew very little of what to expect and so I have been caught off guard a lot in the past 12 weeks. And what I’ve learned through this experience is that a whole myriad of things can be “normal” which makes this time even more fun. It’s like a game!

Despite doing as much reading as I could find, these are my 8 biggest postpartum surprises.


  • Weight Loss Isn’t Easy 1 of 8
    Weight Loss Isn't Easy
    Judge me if you must, but I sort of thought that losing at least some of the baby weight would be a relatively simple process. I mean, the immediate 15 pound loss was nice, but the remaining 19 pounds? They're still here, despite all my best attempts to shed them. I certainly didn't think that it would be easy to lose weight, but I at least thought it would be feasible, which at this point, I'm pretty sure it isn't.
    Image from MorgueFile
  • Painful Letdown 2 of 8
    Painful Letdown
    For starters, I didn't even know that you could feel a let down. Like, I guess in my mind you just felt milk come out, which is so not what it feels like. Mine is a painful tingly feeling and for the first few weeks I had no idea what it was. Now that said painful let down results in a rather disastrous quantity of leakage, I have put 2 and 2 together and got a very damp 4. According to all sources, a painful let down is normal, though totally not fun at all.
    Photo from MorgueFile
  • Body Changes without Weight Change 3 of 8
    Body Changes without Weight Change
    Even without having lost more than a pound or 2 since coming home from the hospital, my body has changed tremendously. I'm still about 2 pants sizes bigger than I was prepregnancy, but I've dropped at least one size since coming home and my clothes fit me a lot more normally than they used to. My extra belly jiggle is starting to come down a bit and I'm able to comfortably wear pants that button and zip again.
    Image from MorgueFile
  • Immediate Reflux Relief 4 of 8
    Immediate Reflux Relief
    I had nausea through almost all 41 weeks of my pregnancy. It started at 6 weeks on the nose and lasted until the day I delivered. And towards the end it was compounded with some seriously wicked heartburn too. But within literally minutes to an hour after giving birth, it was gone. The change in hormones, plus my stomach being able to not be in my throat gave me some much needed and appreciated relief. I had no idea it would be so immediate.
    Photo from MorgueFile
  • Bladder Control 5 of 8
    Bladder Control
    I have heard plenty of mothers complain about poor bladder control after having kids, but it's usually plural kids. I somehow assumed that the first baby wasn't what wrecked one's bladder as much as repeated stress. WRONG! My baby did a number on my insides, including a tear to my urethra and while I'm able to largely control my pee now, the first few weeks were rough and I'm definitely much less able to hold it long periods to time.
    Photo from MorgueFile
  • Nausea During Feeding/Pumping 6 of 8
    Nausea During Feeding/Pumping
    I noticed off and on the first few days that every time I would try to nurse Eli and then subsequently every time I'd give up and pump, I would get nauseous. I never had that huge appetite everyone said I would, I just felt sick like 8 times a day. It turns out that the release of hormones with a letdown can cause that. It's leveled out a bit and now it only happens occasionally, but it was pretty unpleasant and confusing for the first couple weeks.
    Photo from MorgueFile
  • Hot Flashes 7 of 8
    Hot Flashes
    Holy moly. As someone who does not tolerate being hot very well, these have been a challenge. Out of nowhere, I'll get flushed, sweaty and just unbelievably hot. It's got nothing to do with the temperature of the room and everything to do with my hormones.
    Photo from MorgueFile
  • Painful Sex 8 of 8
    Painful Sex
    This was by far my biggest and least pleasant surprise. I knew that there had been damage to my insides and that there would be some discomfort, but I really had no idea how bad it would be. Our first attempt was a complete failure, I felt like I was being ripped in half. Subsequent attempts (there haven't been many) have got slightly better, but the whole process is still slow and incredibly painful. I guess it's good we didn't want a second baby right away.
    Photo from MorgueFile

What were your biggest postpartum surprises?

More from Katie on Babble:
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