Things No One Told You About Your Body After Having A Baby

by | February 21, 2018

Having a baby will change everything, and not all of those changes are bad. In fact, even the dreaded changes that come with pregnancy didn’t last forever and ultimately helped me to grow as a person. I’m sure you’re aware of the inevitable stretch marks & going to the bathroom every hour on the hour. Yet, I’m here to tell you about the things no one told me about pregnancy, birth & postpartum life.

 

Dizziness and Exhaustion During The First Trimester

I had heard of morning sickness, but feeling lightheaded and dizzy? Finding out I was pregnant because I passed out in the bathroom in the middle of the night? I would be standing at work and have to rush to get a chair to sit, otherwise I was going to faint. Other days I would be so tired that I would have to leave work early and go nap for five hours. Naps are your friend. Listen to your body. Growing a human is hard work!

 

The Awe of The First Ultrasound and Kicks!

In the beginning, there was this little voice in my head saying, “Are you sure you’re pregnant?” It’s hard to wrap your head around having a baby in your arms in 9 months when you don’t have the bump to prove it. If you chose to get a 20 week ultrasound, it’s amazing to see that tiny human with a face, a heart and sweet little fingers and toes. To feel those strong feet kick against your belly & hear their heartbeat are some of the most beautiful moments of pregnancy.

   

The Leakage After The Water Breaking

I thought when it broke, it was a one time deal (Secret: it’s not). That’s because the amniotic fluid continues to fill up the sac, even though it’s ruptured. So make sure to buy heavy duty pads before the baby comes, because you might need them during labor and definitely after.

 

How Humbling Labor Makes You

I threw up a lot. It took longer than I expected. The contractions were more painful than I could fathom. I remember thinking, “I will NEVER do this again!” But now that I survived labor, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I didn’t know my body was so strong. I felt empowered by giving birth, even though there were definite times of fear, exhaustion and helplessness. I felt it all; I experienced the raw force of life I grew in my body bloom into the world. It is our nature to be creators & I have a new-found respect for what my body is capable of. I am in awe of all women who give birth, however that may be; C-section, V-BAC, vaginal, medicated, non-medicated, at home or in a hospital  — you made this precious human & brought it into the world, and that is profoundly beautiful.

 

After Birth Periods 

Your uterus is cleaning itself out after having a baby in there for 9 months. You might tear and need to get stitches. It could hurt to walk right after. The nurses will probably give you a squeeze bottle full of water to spray on your lady bits to help with the pain of going to the bathroom if you had a vaginal birth. Your belly skin might be really saggy. If you had a C-section, your incision may be painful and sore. That’s okay. Our bodies are constantly expanding & contracting. Let’s embrace the seasons of our body & love every phase for what it is. We are healing and evolving.

 

How ‘Easy’ Breastfeeding Was…. 

My nipples were so chapped and raw I had to use a steroid cream and nipple shields to get through the first few months of  postpartum life. If I didn’t have the shields, I think I would have given up at that point. But I was determined to breastfeed for a year & here we are, 16 months later, still going strong! All I can say is, hang in there if you do chose to breastfeed.

It does get easier as they grow and get use to the routine. Also, you’ll be really thirsty if you breastfeed, because all that water is going towards milk production. Make a conscious effort to keep a full water bottle by you at all times. Lactation consultants & breastfeeding groups were  great resources & a wonderful way to connect with other mamas in the community who are going through similar experiences & can offer sound advice.

 

Bladder Control 

Remember how I said labor is humbling? So is postpartum life. Your body is healing, everything hurts, you’re trying to determine if your baby is hungry or tired, you’re trying to get as much sleep as you can, and if you start laughing you might pee on the couch. No one warned me about this! Because of the trauma of pushing & giving birth, I could not control the muscles in my abdominal region. While I was embarrassed at the time, I’ve learned that bladder incontinence it’s perfectly normal & sometimes all we can do laugh about it, and grab these pads. 

 

Your Hair May Completely Change

And you might grow funny bangs on the side of your forehead. I had heard of the dreaded postpartum hair loss, but I was not  prepared for my curly ringlets to straighten out. I was baffled when my dry scalp suddenly became greasy.  And those silly “baby bangs” are common – depending on the person, they may grow from the nape of the neck or around the forehead. Postpartum hormones are to blame, and our hair sheds those strands we grew in abundance while pregnant. Enjoy your hair in all its glory while your pregnant!

 

That is what I experienced in my first pregnancy, and just because these things happened to me doesn’t mean they’ll happen to you. There are probably a lot more things I wish people had told me about pregnancy, birth & postpartum, but I’d love to hear if you had similar or difference experiences in the comments below!

Siri Steven is a midwest mama, passionate about delicious vegan food, animal rights and caring for the Earth. She loves to write, take photos, make music with her husband and spend time exploring national parks with her family. She’s the creator of The Vegan Steven which features recipes, interviews and more! Follow her on Instagram @thevegan.steven

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