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I Got My First Period After Baby and It Was Not Fun

 

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Every night before dinner, my husband and I say what we are thankful for, and for the fifth night in a row, I was apologizing for being a cow and praising his inhuman patience.

I felt out of control, unable to tame my emotions and there was one thing to blame: Hormones. They were fluctuating but I didn’t realize why — this was six months after the birth of my first baby and I hadn’t been this emotional, probably … ever.

I didn’t mean to passive-aggressively talk to my husband via the baby about trivial things (“Why is Daddy loading the dishwasher incorrectly?”) or start crying unpredictably (“We’re out of hot chocolate?” Sobbbbbbb). I even had a tantrum when I couldn’t get a picture perfectly straight – I threw the canvas on the ground and stomped to the bed to pout in fetal position.

It’s actually embarrassing to admit how petulant I was, but sort of amusing too. If I were my husband, I would’ve laughed at me and walked out of the room. To his credit, he didn’t – he dealt with every last instance of my she-devil antics.

So here we were. “I am thankful for my husband who is patient with me when I feel out of sorts and not myself.”

And then, after five more days of feeling uncontrollably out-of-sorts, the proverbial clouds parted and my mood finally stabilized. I could finally stop apologizing.

After a 15-month pregnancy-induced hiatus, my period finally returned.

There are a few perks to pregnancy, beyond getting a baby at the end. Eating French fries and ice cream without remorse, getting help with heavy lifting, and of course the biggie – no period. No tampons. No thinking about when it will start or end and if that will conflict with your vacation plans. No PMS or cramps or bloating. (Although there’s enough pregnancy bloat from head to toe to negate that one.)

For the duration of the pregnancy, and then some months beyond, Aunt Flo packs her bags and says sayonara. But of course I knew she had booked a round-trip ticket and as soon as the baby was three months old, I began to wonder when she would return.

I asked friends about their experiences. One never got hers at all, just ended up pregnant again. Another told me that hers came back when the baby was three months, which was the same as her mother. So I asked my mom to see if she could offer any insight. “Hm, I don’t remember. Maybe six months?” (Maybe = not helpful.)

Except sure enough, “maybe” was accurate and my period returned, six months after baby was born.

It was like a light switch flipped. Immediately I was back – happy, relaxed, dry-eyed, and feeling normal. My husband was noticeably more relaxed too, and his feet were less cut-up from walking on eggshells around me.

But even though my period had technically returned, it wasn’t quite back to normal. Despite an article I read about the return of the period, which used words like “gushing geyser” and “unstoppable torrent of blood,” that wasn’t my case at all – just two days of spotting.

Four weeks passed and nothing. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was pregnant again already – it’d be a bit sooner than we had envisioned, but still exciting – so I went to the pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test. Negative. (I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment, although in reality, it really was for the best.)

Then two more weeks, so six in total from the first period, and I had a second period. This time, it was the opposite end of the spectrum from spotting. “Gushing geyser” now applied as a descriptive term. That second period ended and three weeks later, another “torrent.” (Gross, I know.)

I guess I should just be happy that it’s back, but I’m certainly not on my pre-pregnancy, regular as clockwork, 28-day schedule. After nearly two decades of having a predictable routine (and 15 months of not having to worry about it at all), I suddenly feel like a teenager again.

Did I just get my period? Why did I wear white pants today? How long can you wear a tampon for? Do I have a stash in the diaper bag? How many days will this last? When does ovulation happen?

And yes, that’s the big one: Ovulation. Need to keep that in mind, before we start this rollercoaster all over again.

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