Have I mentioned how much I love my mom friends yet? We just get each other. We can talk about anything because right now in this life, we relate to pretty much everything. We bond over toddler tantrums, birth stories and moments with our kids that make our hearts melt. These are my people!!! I’m so thankful for the bond we share.
When I first became a mom almost five years ago, it was a pretty happy transition for me, but it did feel really lonely at times. At the time, my best friend was the only other person in my life who was a new mom. All of my other friends were single, engaged or married with no kids. They were all always there for me whenever I needed them and their support meant the world to me, but it was hard going through all of my first postpartum and motherhood experiences while feeling like I was in a completely different phase of life. This time around, it was really nice being able to text and talk with my friends about all of fourth trimester things I was going through.
Knowing that this would be my third postpartum experience, I thought I had this one in the bag. Wrong! Even though I had been through everything before, I somehow forgot about most of the craziness that accompanies giving birth to a child. I don’t know how I do it, but I somehow block it from my memory and end up having more babies – ha! While I’ve never experienced postpartum depression or the baby blues, I am very aware of how common and serious it is. After having Sage, I did feel a bit more overwhelmed when we were first figuring everything out and trying to set her schedule. I think being stuck at home and not seeing anyone (even our parents) played a big factor in my emotions those first few weeks. It was just so isolating! I’m a totally different person now that we can start seeing people here and there, and so are the kids.
Postpartum hasn’t been completely awful. I’ve had my fair share of bad days and good days while experiencing the newborn phase. Recovery wasn’t too painful after the first few days. It has gotten a lot easier and less painful each time. This time, I ended up bleeding for four to five weeks. My hatred for pads and bleeding from my vagina did return! Lets see… for the first month or two following Sage’s birth I had to shower twice a day because I smelled so bad and was so gross from the good old night sweats (see below for more on that). And as far as my body goes, I am still having a hard time fitting into most of my clothes. I’m kind of struggling. I’m being really hard on myself for some reason even though I know it will and should take time to feel somewhat normal again. It’s always a roller coaster ride for me.
But the reason I’m writing this post is to lay out all of the ugly stuff I’ve experienced (or stuff friends have shared with me) because we should talk about it! Heck, we deserve to talk about it after birthing humans. The pain, emotions and craziness don’t end when we push that baby out – a flood gate opens to a whole new journey of wincing, leaking and soreness. I am not doing this in anyway to scare anyone or act like postpartum is the worst thing in the world. I am the world’s biggest wimp (ask anyone who knows me) and I survived, and it clearly wasn’t that scarring because I ended up doing it twice more!! These are just a few things you may or may not be aware of and these experiences are likely only ones your good friends or family members will tell you.
Night sweats – Yep. Drenched in sweat every single night for about a month and a half all because our bodies have to get rid of the extra fluids we stored up to nourish our baby. Thanks! Mine were pretty bad this time around, which is why I had to shower twice a day for a long time.
First poop – I still remember my best friend warning me about this first poop and begging me to take all the laxatives the nurses would give me at the hospital. I think the term she used was something with glass. Ugh, it hurts just thinking about it and is so spot on. I don’t think I have to explain any further.
Nursing cramps – I don’t remember these very well with Peyton and I’m told they get worse with each child which was definitely the case for me. While nursing, your uterus is trying to get back down to it’s normal size which is why you cramp when you nurse. My bad cramping lasted maybe 2-3 days I think – see I’m already forgetting!!
Engorgement and sore nipples – Speaking of nursing… hello boobs you’ve never seen before! Holy cow! My boobs felt sooooooo engorged this time around and lasted a couple of days which was so awful. Engorgement happens when milk comes in and this time my boobs got extremely hard, hot and very uncomfortable. And just when you think your boobies can’t hurt anymore, cue the sore nipples! Even though I breastfed my other two, my nipples were pretty sore the first week or so with Sage. I don’t remember them being that sore with Emory, but then again, I block these things out!
Sex after baby – For some reason, I never really thought about this one and boy was I in for a rude awakening after my first was born. She had to be taken out with forceps, so my recovery was a bit painful and trying to have sex after I got the go-ahead was not fun for me. Again, this gets better with each child – thank goodness!
Hair loss – I’m anxiously waiting for this birth “side effect” to arrive and it usually happens around four months postpartum for me. I blame this one on hormones too. Clearly, the hormones have it out for us women. I lose a bunch of hair, especially around my hairline, making me look extra cute. But don’t worry, I look even cuter when the baby hairs start growing back in months later.
Loss of blood – Obviously, you lose blood after having a baby, but nobody warned me about the rushes of blood that pour out after birth when you stand up the first few times. With Emory, I actually ended up passing out the first time I got up after feeling the rush. I’m guessing it had something to do with not eating or drinking for hours and just being tired. This time I made sure to eat a full meal before they transferred me into the wheelchair and didn’t pass out.
So who wants to give birth now?! Ha! Okay, so here’s the thing – with all of the gross and ugly come the most amazing experiences of bonding with your newborn and the empowerment that comes with knowing you were made to mother this tiny human. Whether it’s your first, second, fourth, sixth time; it’s all so special. That’s why we keep doing it again and again. And that’s why if the roles were reversed and men did what we do, there would be no children ever.
Photo by Julia Maruyama Photography