I’ve had a few friends who’ve had babies, so I wasn’t completely in the dark about what postpartum recovery entailed, but I have quickly realized that having a head knowledge of what postpartum recovery involves and actually going through it firsthand are completely different.
In the interest of “real-ness” I thought I’d share some of the surprises I’ve experienced postpartum – things I wished I’d known before I was in the throes of it all.
Read more after the jump!
Postpartum Recovery Surprises:
1. There is a lot of blood.
*I knew there would be blood; I just didn’t realize how much of it there would be. Pretty much every time I stood up or the first few days, there was a giant gush of blood – so much that it was scary at first. Gross, but true.
2. The mesh underwear are awesome. (If you have no idea what mesh underwear I’m talking about, then check them out here)
*In my vanity, I bought regular underwear to to take to the birthing center and then throw away later. I thought there was no way I was going to wear those ugly mesh things! Ha! My vanity quickly went out the window with the arrival of my post delivery swollen lady parts. Bring on the mesh!
3. You’re going to need help – and a lot of it.
*I knew I probably wouldn’t be running any marathons in the near future, but I figured that since I was having a natural, vaginal delivery that the healing time would substantially decreased. Ummm…not so much. Hello tearing during delivery! My husband was my personal servant for the first week and I’ve still had help all week this week, since I’m banished to the couch and can’t drive anywhere yet. Getting up to go to the bathroom is a great feat of strength in the beginning days and let’s not even talk about trying to get up and make a sandwich.
4. Basic tasks like taking a shower and putting on makeup will make you feel like a super hero.
*I’ve never been big on makeup and I’m totally fine going a few days without a hair washing, but for some reason now that I have less time for such primping I really crave those things. For some reason, putting on a little blush and mascara makes me feel like a real person again (rather than a dairy cow) and that’s always a good thing.
5. You may not always feel totally enamored with your baby every moment of the day, and that’s ok.
*I was never a “baby person” before getting pregnant. I always knew that I wanted kids, but was never too keen on the fact that I’d probably have to go through the baby stage first in order to have a child. Everyone always said, “Don’t worry, it’ll be different when you have your own baby.” They were right…but also wrong. They were right because I actually love my own baby; I love her more than I possibly could’ve imagined. BUT…do I love that she’s a baby and that all she can do is poop and cry and eat? Meh. Not really. She’s super cute to look at and totally sucks me in with all the silly little things that (most likely) only I find amusing, but sometimes, the crying gets tiring and I just feel like I need a break for a little bit…and that’s ok and it’s normal. It doesn’t make me a bad mom, despite the fact that my raging hormones make me feel that way sometimes, which brings me to my next point…
6. The hormones are crazy.
*The “baby blues” are for real. There have been days when I’ve cried at least 15 times. I figured I wouldn’t experience this since I wasn’t extra emotional during my pregnancy, but nope…it still happened to me. It’s starting to get better, but having a new baby is pretty overwhelming at times, so I guess it’s to be expected. All I have to say is that when my midwives offer to encapsulate my placenta after my next delivery…I’m probably going to take them up on it.
7. Breast feeding is pretty tough when you have a swollen…everything.
*Breast feeding has definitely been a challenge for me, but add to that the fact that I’ve had to figure it out with a busted up vagina that didn’t allow me to sit properly and it was doubly difficult. Pillows and that inflatable donut thing have been awesome.
8. It’s hard to hide an awkward post partum hobble.
*If you get off the couch when people are visiting, chances are that you’re probably going to be hobbling around and chances are also good that unless they’re morons they’re going to know exactly why you’re hobbling (hello – you just pushed a baby out of your hoo-ha). Awkward, but oh well.
9. Sweat happens.
*I’m not usually a sweaty person. Pre-pregnancy I didn’t even have to wear deodorant. But, waking up sweaty has definitely happened a few times now. At first I thought it was a milk leak, but nope…it was sweat. Super cute.
10. Pants peeing also happens.
*I figured I had escaped the humiliation of pants peeing now that my pregnancy was over. I breathed a big sigh of relief, since I was able to go my entire pregnancy without such embarrassment happening to me, but alas…I spoke too soon. ”Everything” is pretty loose postpartum, which makes pants peeing pretty likely to happen. It’s only happened a couple of times for me, but it’s not awesome.
11. The stretch marks look way worse now than they did when you were pregnant.
* I went 8.5 months without a single stretch mark, but definitely got a few in the last stretch of my pregnancy, but they weren’t anything too terrible (or so I thought). Now that my stomach has begun shrinking back down those little, not-so-red stretch marks on my belly have turned into angry, red furrows. My midwives refer to them as “badges of honor”, but I’m pretty skeptical.
All in all, my postpartum recovery hasn’t been all that terrible, but there were definitely some surprises.
What surprised you most about postpartum recovery?