What no one tells you about birth & postpartum

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I didn’t know when my water breaks, it trickles out for hours.

I didn’t realize I’d be left alone on a hospital bed.

I had no clue that I’d leave the hospital in a diaper too.

That’s not all people forget to tell you about birth!

As the baby moves down the birth canal, it pushes on your bowels, and you’ll feel like you have to poop. Great! You’ll want to run to the toilet and go. The nurse will intercept you, so you don’t deliver the baby in the toilet. Be prepared that you might actually poop during delivery and your birth companion may see it.

You may see stars if you get an epidural as it’s similar to tripping. You may get so giddy that you start flirting with the doctor, laughing that you can feel your butt. Thanks for the high, doc.

Most women bond over the fact that contractions are more painful than pushing the baby out. After you get over the whole squeezing a watermelon out of lemon visual, contractions are what I like to call surges of energy. It feels like someone grips on your abs and twists them pretty hard. The good thing is, each one brings you closer to meeting your baby.

There’s a chance the doctor cuts “just a snip” to make space for the baby to come out. Episiotomies aren’t as common anymore. To me, whoever thought a woman’s perineum (the skin connects the vagina to the annus) needed to be cut sounds to me like they need a little patience. Your body was designed to produce offspring.

Oh, wait. I almost forgot. No one tells you that after you deliver a tiny human, it’s time to deliver the placenta. It’s the organ that held the fetus and allowed for nutrients to be fed from mother to baby. You may choose to take your home to encapsulate (I believe for a fee! Hello, that came out of my body, so I think that’s mine, thank you). I wish more people talked about this. If you or anyone you know knows a lot about this topic, please contact me. I’d like to record a podcast about this.

In lighter news, you’ll probably leave the hospital in a mom diaper. Thanks to social media, so many mamas have shown us how sexy they are. 

The stylish cotton boy shorts have a purpose. To catch the next six weeks of post-labor bleeding. Leave your best panties at home since you won’t want to soil them. 

Your underwear might not be the only thing tarnished after birth. Your mind and body took a toll from birth. As you finish birthing, you immediately enter a whole new world of not having your baby inside of you. For many, postpartum is a very emotional place. Just like birth, there are adventures in this phase, too, as you recover. I’m going to share things no one will tell you.

Becoming a Mom digs up all sorts of thoughts for you. Any issues that you had as a child will come up and you’ll have to find a way to get a handle on them. Any issues you had with your Mom will pop up. You’ll have to get clear on your parenting style and give your child what you felt was missing in your life when you were a kid. This can be a whole other blog post. One day, you’ll see what I mean.

If that isn’t enough to deal with, try mixing hormones-are-still-raging tonic with OMG-my-life-just-dramatically-changed, and ANYONE would cry. For many reasons. Not everyone is weepy afterward, yet you may cry a lot after you have a baby. It’s a HUGE adjustment period. 

The weirdest thing to me was how uncomfortable my first bowel movement after baby was born. Not sure why it hurt so much. It just did. Be warned that it won’t be pretty (you may shed a tear) and you’ll get through it.

You’ll still look preggo after your baby is out. Your stomach doesn’t magically deflate, although that would be nice. Your uterus grew for nine months. Give it time to unwind and shrink on its own. It’ll eventually get better the more you move around. Plus, breastfeeding burns a lot of calories.

Speaking of which, it hurts like hell. No one told me that breastfeeding would be so TOUGH TO DO. I thought it would be this beautiful bonding experience. So natural, right? Actually, it takes a few attempts to get the baby to latch on correctly (if they’re able to at all) and not bite your nipples so hard, they bleed. Make friends with nipple cream and ice packs. 

Your abs won’t be the same either. Google “diastasis recti” so you can learn about the world of abdominal separation. Oh, boy! This one’s a doozy. Listen to my podcast where we talk all about what diastasis recti is and how you can naturally heal your abs back together again. 

Notice a theme, here? EVERYTHING changes after you have a baby. 

No one told me that my hair may fall out.

Why are my periods post-birth like niagra falls? Tampons won’t help. You may resort to a diva cup or heavy pads.

I think I just peed in my pants.

All of this is enough to make you LAUGH or RUN from the thought of having your own child. I know! As a Health Coach and Mom of two girls, I’d be lying if I said I did everything perfectly as I went through birth and postpartum. In fact, the hardest part for me was standing up for myself and asking for what I needed and wanted.

All in all, I learned that we are all unique (as similar as we all are) and our babies are just as unique. Moment by moment, determine what is best for you and your family and leave the rest.

There are a TON of positive things that come along with surprises of birth and postpartum, too. The first time your baby looks into your eyes, it’s a loving feeling SO DEEP, it’s so hard to explain. You feel bliss, happiness, pride, a bit of anxiety, and a million layers of love. 

My best advice is to ask for the support you need as you gracefully (and haphazardly) get through this phase of your life. Reflect on what feeling TRULY supported looks like for you. It can be a Nanny or a meal service. Whatever will make birth and the precious postpartum phase easier for you, do that.

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