- You’ll feel like you have a pair of balls between your legs.
If you’ve had a vaginal birth, and you put your feet on the ground for the first time, you’ll walk and feel like you’re still heavily pregnant as you can’t help but waddle
like a penguin. It’s normal and will ease within a week.
This is the reality whichever form of birth you’ve had. It can take days for the first bowel movement to take place, mainly because you feel like you’ll give birth again or your spleen will pop out too. It will happen; don’t panic! AND, even though you think it’ll hurt; it doesn’t.
- Vaginal tearing
Okay, in all honesty, this hurt. You go through the trauma of giving birth, and then you’re informed you have a tear. Mine was second degree, and BOY it felt it! I was then told I’d have to be stitched. You’re told to relax and keep your bum on the bed. It feels impossible because you’re already tender enough. Yes, okay, they numb the area, but you’re still wary about anything that’s going near it. That makes you tense up. It’ll also be tender for about 2 weeks afterwards. I advise Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. You’ll sit down and you’ll feel as if you’re ripping the stitches out, but it’ll be okay. Keep clean and keep positive.
- Your body completely changes
You look at yourself in the mirror for the first time after your birth and it’s traumatic. You almost don’t recognise the person looking back at you. Prepare for tears (which is completely okay and normal!). Your belly is still in the pregnant state, or sagging, your boobs are huge and sore, and the bags under your eyes could hold a months worth of shopping. It’ll all get less emotional when you look at your body as time goes on.
- You will become a milk machine!
Your boobs will be very sore. You’ll need nipple pads, and a lot of them. If you’re bottlefeeding, your milk will dry up within about a week or two, but that doesn’t mean you still won’t be sore. Your boobs will grow twice the size and when you’re awake or asleep, they’ll still leak. It’ll suck for a week, but it’ll get better.
- Is breast really best?
You’ll have an endless queue of people trying to shove the ‘breast is best’ opinion down your throat. Just take a step back and do what you feel most comfortable with. Don’t listen to other people and listen to your own gut and your own baby.
This was the hardest part for me, especially because I moved a 20 minute drive away from all of my friends and family. You will feel isolated even if you have people over your house every week. You love your baby, but it is hard being in the company of someone who just cries, eats and sleeps. Your friends want to leave you to it, but you then feel as if they don’t care about you anymore. It’s normal – REACH OUT!
- Rapunzel vs. Gollum
During pregnancy, you probably had lovely hair that was shiny and easy to manage. Now? Your hair is falling out and it’s so dry. That’ll also get back to normal when your hormones level out!
- You learn to truly appreciate your body
Remember when you were really slim and you still thought you were fat? Well, having a post baby body, you learn to appreciate that actually, you want to get back to the size you were before and you notice every single pound that comes off. You appreciate all of the little things your body does, and especially when nothing hurts anymore and things are somewhat back to normal!
- Cesarean mums – perfect your aim!
I’ve only heard of this, and that’s the fact that it hurts to sit down and it’s hard to go to the toilet. So, you need to perfect your aim into the toilet. You’ll get there. It’ll be hard to begin with, but practise makes perfect.
- Postpartum depression
I haven’t had experience of this either, but I’ve spoken to a few people who have and it must be so frustrating. You just don’t ‘feel’ much for your baby, but it will happen. Seek out help and DON’T be ashamed! It’ll be okay.
Every movement is followed by a bit of incontinence. You’ll sneeze and wee. Cough and wee. The best way to help this is to work on your pelvic floor muscles ALL of the time. Also, wear pads to catch any flow that may accidentally pass.
- Your relationships will be tested
Your friendships or love relationship will definitely be on the line at some points. You’re tired, hungry, frustrated and you take it out on those closest to you. Your friends don’t speak to you as much and you feel like all you could do with is a normal conversation and a bit of love. Talk it out instead of shouting it out, and just understand from others points of view too!
- You will love your child
Some parents (Yes, Dad’s included!) may not feel the initial bond with their child. That doesn’t mean they don’t love them. You will love your child even if you feel like you don’t to begin with. Again, just seek help and give it time.
- Your appetite will decrease or increase
You will go either one of two ways. You’ll want to gorge on everything in sight, or you’ll be so busy and tired, food is the last thing on your mind. Either is okay, as long as you’re eating often and enough then that’s okay. You’ll need as much energy as possible.
In reality, which ever birth route you took, it’s always the hardest the week or two afterwards, and maybe even a month after. You’re going through so much with your body and your hormones and emotions. It does get better and things fall back into place.