All pregnant women, especially first-time moms, spend their time preparing for birth by soaking up all the information about labor and delivery they can find.
When it’s time to have your baby you will feel apprehensive, even a little nervous. After baby arrives you’ll hopefully feel empowered and ready to take on the world, especially if your birth went according to plan.
Then comes postpartum.
If you’re lucky, you’ll receive a few words of advice and caution about postpartum. For the most part, women would rather not talk about this period and you will have to play it by ear.
What happens postpartum, you ask?
#1 You’ll be humbled
After pooping, moaning, and crying you’ll pop that baby out and that’s that right? Not so much. After you give birth you’ll be tore up from the floor up, literally. You will be swollen and may need help. Don’t hesitate to ask for it. You just gave birth! You deserve a little (or a lot!) of help.
#2 The contractions don’t end with childbirth
Sorry ladies, but this is very true. You will have more contractions. Your uterus will naturally start to contract to go back to its normal size. Have patience. It’s more proof of your body working its magic!
#3 You will look 6 months pregnant for a while
This is something most first time mums never consider. You’ll probably be in your maternity clothes for a while after you give birth. Embrace it. You just created a whole new human being! Honor your body and let it recover slowly from birth.
#4 Peeing in your pants is common
You may have already had some experience with this while pregnant. After giving birth, let’s just say you shouldn’t be shocked if it happens.
#5 Pooping sucks
Giving birth is a lot like having the biggest poop of your entire life. This may not be the greatest description of childbirth but it’s surprisingly accurate. Ask anyone who’s given birth. Drink lots of water and brace yourself for when you have to poop. Godspeed.
#6 Hemorrhoids suck even more
Some women get hemorrhoids while pregnant, others don’t and think they’re home free. This isn’t necessarily the case. Hemorrhoids come whenever they want. Talk to your doctor if they develop. They’re not fun, especially in addition to #5 above.
#7 Stock up on super maxi, extra large pads
It is possible you may not bleed that much after birth. Then again, you may be a gusher and have a full blown Niagara in your lady bits. Stock up on pads about the thickness of your sofa cushions and you’ll be just fine.
#8 Get some mesh underwear
They may not be the best looking panties, but they are crazy comfortable and disposable. You won’t want to keep any of your postpartum underwear anyway so embrace the mesh.
#9 The linea nigra may linger
Not all women get the dark line running down their belly known as the linea nigra. This line is a result of hormones and will eventually fade. For some women, it may take as many as 18 months to completely fade away.
#1o Hormones can make you stink
Hormones are to blame for everything during and after pregnancy so this should come as no shocker. If you never wore deodorant before, you may have to now. Some women take fenugreek to boost their milk supply. You know it’s working when your sweat smells like maple syrup. Weird, right?
#12 Your skin and hair may be different
Clumps of hair may fall out postpartum or the texture may change. Your skin may also become totally different. This will eventually go away after your hormones level out.
#13 You’ll cry a lot
Even if you’ve never dealt with depression you’ll be an emotional wreck after giving birth. You’ll cry like it’s your job.
Eventually your hormones will even out and you’ll feel less crazy so don’t stress too much. If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, again – ask for help!
#14 You may not bond immediately with your baby
Some women confess that they fell in love with their baby the second they laid eyes on them. For others, while you may be excited to have given life, this tiny, needy stranger who is entirely dependent on you may make you feel resentment. You may feel depleted and overwhelmed being treated like a 24-hour milk vending machine.
Don’t stress. You’ll figure it out and find yourself slowly falling in love.
#15 Breastfeeding is natural but not necessarily easy
Breastfeeding is not necessarily a walk in the park. Some babies have trouble latching, some moms have low milk supply. Breastfeeding may not feel “natural” at all, until you’ve done it for a few months.
Seek the help of a lactation consultant immediately if you are struggling with breastfeeding. Most of all, don’t give up! It’s worth it, for your baby’s health and the months of bonding you’ll enjoy with your little one.
#16 Nipple cream is everything
You might want to consider buying a few different brands, making sure they’re all-natural. It’ll end up in baby’s mouth, after all! And while baby may hate the taste or texture of one, she might just love another.
#17 You will have hip and back pain
Your hips and back will feel the effects of giving birth. You can grin and bear it, or visit a masseuse and chiropractor. Go. You’re worth it.
#18 Your marriage isn’t ruined
For those who are married, the first year of your first baby’s life can be rough. It’s a huge transition and you’re both figuring it out, not to mention feeling overwhelmed. Find a way to balance your relationship needs and parenting responsibilities and you’ll be just fine.
#19 Ask for help
Asking for help doesn’t mean you are a failure. You have nothing to prove to anyone. It’s exhausting taking care of a baby. Ask ask ask.
#20 It will be well
You and your baby will eventually figure out how to breastfeed, and ultimately sleep will return (although very slowly). Your boobs will go back to normal (kinda) and your confusion and overwhelmed feelings will pass. You’ll be just fine. Just hang in there. The time goes by so fast.
First published at www.babble.com
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