23 Shocking Things No One Shares about Postpartum LifePayton Foeller
And some tips to help to deal with them.
Since having my first child just over two years ago, I have found myself in several conversations with other mom’s where the phrase, ‘no one told me’ comes up a lot. Too many times. I don’t think it’s because people don’t want you to know… I think they just don’t want to scare you to death. Because if they told you everything you’ll go through during those postpartum weeks you might not take another step. At all.
I did some research, talked to lots of moms, and gathered as many items as I could to share with you. Nothing happens to every mom – but you’d probably want to know about it ahead of time if you could.
Originally, I intended this to be a list covering pregnancy, labor, and postpartum life. But every response I received was about postpartum. It seems like we want to talk about the pregnancy symptoms and the trendy birthing methods, but no one wants to share the scary parts of what happens when you get to take the baby home. And really, that’s the hardest part. In my opinion, anyway. Why no one wants to open up a dialogue about postpartum life, I’m not sure. Maybe, like me, it’s a touchy subject that they’re still healing from. Maybe they had a breeze of a time and think nothing of it. Maybe we’ll unpack it in a future post… but for now…
Here’s what moms want to share about their postpartum days.
1. “That after pushing for 4 hours, I would feel like I got hit by a truck. I could barely hold my daughter the next day!” – Babies to Bookworms
2. “You’re not done once you pop the baby out, cramping after delivering is seriously painful!” – Mom Break
3. “No one told me that you experience contractions for at least a day (if you’re lucky), after the birth as your uterus shrinks back down.”
After my c-section, the hospital used a really cheap belly wrap. If I had known I was going to need one of these I would have gotten a better one like this. I think they’d be helpful in a normal delivery as well. They help move along the process of shrinking your uterus back down and helping all your abdominal muscles get back to where they need to be! And honestly, it just feels nice to not have to suck it in for a while.
4. “No one tells you about the post c-section belly “massages”…they aren’t really massages, they are tests to see how well you handle pain after having an incision in your belly!” -Boy Mom Blessed
5. “The butt pain/bruising if you have a difficult delivery. I couldn’t sit without a pillow and a lot of cringing for at least a week after Ruby! And going to the bathroom–forget it!” – Becca, a guest poster
6. “No one warned me I would bleed so much with a cesarean section!”
7. “Nursing is HARD! “I feel like we mamas do each other a great disservice by painting nursing as all sweet cuddles and rainbows and roses. I have seen way too many people give up because they think they can’t nurse when in reality it’s just hard. After a very traumatic birth with my son the only reason I was successful at breastfeeding was that I was flat out determined that ONE THING was going to go right.”
I totally agree with this one. While dredging through the first month of nursing I kept seeing people say if you’re having any pain then you’re not doing it right! Insanity. Now, don’t get me wrong. Check. If you’re having pain look for a solution. But for me, the solution was to just wait until my skin toughened up a bit. It just took a while for me to adapt and for her to figure out how to latch well consistently. You’re doing fine. It’s not just you that wants to quit because it’s too hard. I promise. But you can do it! You won’t regret pushing through.
Some things that helped make the process a little easier:
Join a nursing facebook group – and then don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Lots of Tylenol and perseverance
8. “Ok warning… really gross: I knew about the postpartum bleeding in general but not specifically the clots. That freaked me out a tiny bit and I had to ask my care providers several times to reassure me it was normal ” – (a local mama who just had a home water birth!)
9. “No one told me that after you have the baby, you’ll have the worst night sweats of your life. I thought something was wrong with me because I kept waking up drenched – nope, just hormones.” -A SoCal Mom
10. “I wasn’t prepared for milk coming out if my breasts during sex.” – an awesome reader
Uuugghhh. Just prepare yourself to feel really gross. Nursing is awesome and natural and all that fun stuff. But honestly, it doesn’t make a gal feel very sexy. Get a couple pretty nursing bras (and just leave it on for a while… like all the time if you catch my drift). Your supply should level out over time and you’ll be able to work around this issue.
11. “That sex after a c-section can actually be more painful than sex after a vaginal birth and it can take a LONG time to feel good again. Talk to your doctor – don’t suffer through it!” – an awesome reader
12. “Even though my weight decreased, pants I wore when I was heavier didn’t fit because my body was different. Sometimes maternity pants are necessary for a bit postpartum.”
13. “For me, I kept hearing that “the baby weight will just FALL OFF!” It did no such thing for myself, in fact, I gained MORE after birth because of the nursing munchies than I did during pregnancy…” – The Accidental Nomad Life
Sorry. My baby weight fell off pretty quickly. Nursing was an amazing weight loss tool. I was ten pounds lighter than my pre-baby weight! BUT – as soon as I stopped nursing my weight climbed right back and I had gained those ten pounds and then some back. Give yourself some grace. Aim for healthy habits and just do what you can. Motherhood is just not the season for looking perfect.
14. “No one told me how everything seems to become absolutely still and time seems to stop when you and your husband look into your baby’s eyes the first time, and no one told me how intense and beautiful is the first look between partners after you both got to look at the baby you made together.” -Sahars Blog
15. “No one warned me about the euphoria wearing off a couple days after birth when your hormone levels crash and you’re suddenly a sobbing mess. A happy mess, maybe, but completely unstable either way!” -Don’t Call Me Supermom
I am so glad that there are people that have these awesome moments! But I just wasn’t one of them. I don’t even remember those moments. I remember a few prior to our emergency c-section and then the first thing I remember somewhat clearly was several hours later when friends came to visit. Whatever happens, just take it in stride. Mourn the lack of the magical moment like I have or celebrate that you had the experience.
16. “No one told me to take it one day at a time…one week at a time. One minute at a time!!!”
17. “I wish one person had taken the second to ask how I was really doing. I had horrible PPD but I didn’t “look” like I did so no one noticed.” – Bellows in the Berkshires
Looking back I have done the same thing. I’m watching new moms bounce back after a week or two and I keep thinking back to week 7… week 8… when I was still barely breathing. It’s hard not sleeping, not feeling like yourself. Which is why I created this journal for you to use in those postpartum weeks to help keep track of everything that’s happening. Hopefully, working through the postpartum journal will help ground new moms and then, later on, be an awesome keepsake. I’m not a medical professional, just a mom in the thick of it. Talk with your doctor if you read that and said… that’s me. Tell someone.
18. “I’m the opposite of most. I was not excited about being a mother at first becauseI was very aware of the challenges. For me, the unexpected part has been the love and blessings.” Serving Joyfully Blog
19. “[No one put] an emphasis that birth plans don’t always work out. We hear people talking about this but in our mind (or at least mine) I thought “that won’t happen to me” and guess what – I ended up with an emergency c section. And had a horrible reaction to the drugs given so much so I don’t remember my son’s birth at all. All of that to say things don’t always go as planned.” -Amber
Check out this post from a friend on how you can prepare for the postpartum events you might not be planning on. My tip is, do your research. Look into every aspect of labor, delivery, and postpartum, not just the ones you plan on going through. You just never know.
20. “I thought I was prepared for motherhood but entering motherhood was a shock for me. I was committed to breastfeeding, but getting my son to latch on and eat enough, felt like there wasn’t a moment he wasn’t latched on, either for food or for comfort!” – Liberty Grace Love
That sounds like cluster feeding – which not a lot of moms hear about until it’s happening to them and they’re going insane! Here is a resource for some cluster feeding tips that hopefully can help you if you’re going through this!
21. “I never expected to ever struggle with being an ‘angry mom.’ But, boy have I! There is nothing like motherhood to reveal the selfishness and pride that is in your heart!” – Hargraves Home and Hearth
I totally get this. If you’re at this point and you find yourself constantly losing it around your kids – seemingly because of your kids – you should try and check this out. Hopefully, in a week you will have a fresh perspective and a calmer tongue.
22. “On a more cheerful note, I wasn’t expecting the amazing blessing that motherhood brought in how it has shown me the depth of Christ’s love for me” -Hargraves Home and Hearth
No one could have ever warned me about this one. I get choked up just thinking about it. Becoming a mom is to experience a love that can never be explained with words. It’s a bond no soul can break and a feeling that strips you to your core. It’s so extraordinarily ridiculous how much you will love this tiny creature. It will absolutely break you. No one warned me about that and I wouldn’t have believed them if they had tried.
23. Plain and simple – parenting is exhausting. Life is hard. You’ll feel more than you ever have and love it and hate it all at the same time and that will rip you apart and bring you the greatest joy you’ve ever experienced. You’ll learn you are capable of more than you could have imagined. You’ll grow and stretch. You will be a mom.
While you’re here, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on why postpartum is often overlooked when preparing for a new baby. Why aren’t we talking about this more? Why is this time so different in our culture when compared to others? I definitely will be adopting a different culture should a baby number two enter the picture. One of the cultures where I stay in bed for a month and everyone else cooks and cleans. Anyway, leave me all your thoughts!