When you are the. very. last. of your friends to have a baby, there should be some automatic imparting of all knowledge about child birth and postpartum-ness. I was having my first baby while most friends were having their third, so I was very smug about the vast amount of knowledge I had acquired. Plus, I had Facebook groups galore to fill in any missing details my friends may have missed during wine-fueled dinners (you know, when the real gory stuff comes out—no pun intended for this postpartum post). Amy even blogged about these exact unspoken details in a post here on ACMB.
Alas, despite ALLLLL of my friends (IRL and on the interwebs) and ALLLLL of their babies, I was still shocked out of my granny panties when my day came. I’m still suffering from legit baby brain four months postpartum, but these are the Top 10 Postpartum Shockers I can clearly remember (as in, how in the world could my dear friends have forgotten these details and/or chosen not to share them with me?!).
Disclosure: I had a third-degree tear episiotomy and a hematoma develop in a not-nice place from pushing my sweet girl out of my you-know-what.
- The Pee. In all fairness, I was warned about the accidental pee-pee drops that could happen when you jump on a trampoline with your kids at those jump places. Nothing a little pantyliner couldn’t help. Or the slightly heavier pee-pee drops (OK, gushing) when you unexpectedly sneeze. My sneezes often have the double whammy effect of not only precipitating an underwear change, but also scaring the bejesus out of my baby, causing her to cry inconsolably. BUT, no one told me I would still be peeing myself four months postpartum. It’s like my pelvic floor has good days and bad days. Last night was a bad day: I ran a fabulous mile time and was so super proud of myself for getting back in shape, only to discover during my cool down lap that I had genuinely peed myself. It was a new kind of walk of shame home that evening. The dog sniffing my crotch when I walked in the door sealed the deal.
- The Poop. My friends (you know who you are) told me the first poop was going to be hard (pun intended) and possibly painful. It will hurt, they said. It will be scary, they said. Take stool softeners in the hospital, they said. The joke was on me because I didn’t need any help in that department. Actually, a little warning before it happened would have been helpful. I sent my husband for Depends within the first few days of being home. Good way to rekindle the romance right there.
- The Stubborn Last 15 Pounds. It’s a LIE that the weight just falls off when you breastfeed. A damn lie.
- Breastfeeding Hormones. Did you know that breastfeeding hormones delay your lady parts from returning to normal? Well, they do. Don’t hear my lovelies from La Leche League touting that news, now do you?
- The Pooch. Your potbelly will be mistaken for another baby on the way. A very good friend of mine was mortified when she prompted her five-year-old to look at my new baby and he, without hesitation, came over and lifted up my shirt to check out my tummy. I redirected him to the actual baby in the carrier three feet away. This was four months postpartum. Le sigh.
- The Sweats. The hormone crash, coupled with continued breastfeeding hormones, gives you the weirdest body odor smell. It’s so strange and seems to emanate from every pore. I used to hardly sweat at all. I could skip a day of deodorant, no problem. Now it’s a mandatory twice-a-day application. Otherwise, it’s funky town.
- Breastfeeding Hunger. Breastfeeding hunger vastly outweighs pregnancy cravings/hunger. Believe me, I ate my way through the second and third trimesters and that pales in comparison to the constant, deep hunger I have while breastfeeding. And I eat so fast, like someone might come steal my food. It’s quite embarrassing in public, but that doesn’t stop me.
- Raging Hormones. Literally. I’ve gone from crying tears of joy over the precious gift my husband has given me to wanting to stab him in the throat when he can’t adequately read my mind. It’s not rational. It’s not stable. I know this. He knows this (hopefully). It takes awhile to even out. Be patient with yourself and pray your husband has the patience of Job like mine does.
- Postpartum Anxiety. This is a serious post for another time. No one talks about this or warns you about the anxiety; all the focus is on depression. If you start Googling in one of your rare moments of self-awareness, you will likely read all of the symptoms for PPD and find they don’t apply to you. You must be your own special kind of crazy. For me, I would find myself frozen. Not crying, sad, or suicidal, just frozen. I was able to take care of the baby, nurse her, love her. But outside of those very basic activities, I couldn’t accomplish anything. Tasks small and large loomed, and I ultimately did nothing. If you are waiting on a thank you note from me, I couldn’t bring myself to write a single note during my nine weeks of maternity leave. I ordered birth announcements…which are still sitting next to the blank thank you note cards. It took me a good while to recognize what was happening. But by the time I realized it, I had already lost so much precious time.
- It’s All Worth It. Every single minute of discomfort, embarrassment, and craziness. Nothing compares to this journey of motherhood.