I’m currently 13 weeks postpartum which means two things. First, my precious little boy is three months old! Watching him grow has been so interesting and so fulfilling all at once. (As I write this, he’s discovering that the hand he shoves in his mouth 24/7 is actually his.) Secondly, I feel as though I’ve experienced enough of “the postpartum experience” to give my two cents. Before we continue, my list is full of TMIs and the like, so if that kind of thing grosses you out or makes you feel uncomfortable, stop reading now. If you’ve got on your big girl panties, I invite you to continue on. Without further ado, here are the 5 things they don’t tell you about postpartum:
- The First Poop. No one, and I mean no one, prepared me for how painful my first bowel movement would be. This is the first thing on my list because it will likely be one of your first postpartum experiences. Even with the stool softener, I was gripping the handrail beside the toilet. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this one. My best advice would be to take the stool softener and pain mediation they offer you. That will help minimize as much pain as possible.
- “Hi, my name is anxiety.” After the birth of my son, I experienced a ton of emotional changes. The most notable of them all was an increase in my anxiety. As a new mom, experiencing anxiety to a certain degree is inevitable. You’re wondering if you can really do this motherhood thing, if your child will like you, if the nurse is going to steal your baby (thanks, Lifetime). For me, my anxiety was the worst when I thought about introducing him to family or having to drive with him in the car. These feelings are totally normal, and often ease with time. If you feel as though your anxiety worsens or has gotten out of control since having your child, please contact a medical professional you trust for guidance. Remember, you can’t take proper care of your child if you aren’t taking proper care of yourself.
- “What’s that smell?” This one is kind of hard to admit, but I did struggle with bad body odor for a few weeks after having my son. Body odor is a hormonal issue, and as we know, our hormones are all over the place after birth. I also developed acne breakouts. The problems resolved themselves after about a month, but I swear I felt like a teenage boy after gym class most days. My advice when dealing with this is to shower when you can (#momlife) and apply deodorant after. Also, be sure to drink more water if your hormones caused acne problems like mine did. Hydrating your body and skin can never hurt.
- “I need ten feet…” Asking for personal space as a mom is like asking for a glittery pink unicorn as a kid. Everyone knows you won’t ever get it, but they don’t tell you and you hold out hope. So let me be frank: You ain’t getting that unicorn! Newborns are extremely needy creatures and on most days, getting a quick shower is cause for celebration. At some point this will change. Go back and highlight “at some point”.
- Self-Care Sundays are cancelled. Taking care of yourself is a definite struggle, even after your baby stops eating every two hours. Taking care of your child, the chores, the bills, and the errands doesn’t leave much time for a long soak in the tub. You might not even be able to brush your teeth everyday. My advice is to take ten minutes at the beginning of the day and ten at the end during the newborn stage. Take the time in the morning to brush your teeth, wash your face and get a quick shower (you’ll master the 5 minute showers, trust me.) Take the time in the evening to do your night routine and take a breather from baby duty. As your baby becomes more independent, add more time for yourself.
So that’s it! As a brief warning about this and my previous 5 things post, these lists aren’t exhaustive and birthing a child doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. However, if you are experiencing any of these issues, I want you to know you aren’t alone. If you want to chat about it, leave a comment or contact me here.