Postpartum. A word not often talked about. For years, any time I heard the word postpartum it was coupled with the word depression. So anytime I heard it, I immediately thought about the emotional side of having a baby. It wasn’t until I was preparing for birth that I learned that postpartum is so much more.
I’m 34 years old and I didn’t know what to expect until a couple of weeks before I was due. And the only reason I did know is because I went searching for answers. People are quick to prepare you for the baby. They buy you diapers, bottles, and all the fancy gadgets. They tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps and enjoy the cuddles. They even do their best to share birth stories and give you birthing tricks and techniques. But what most people don’t tell you is what is about to happen to your body in the days, weeks and possibly months following birth. Maybe it’s because it’s a big fog. Maybe it’s because the joy and love for your baby covers up the physical pain you endure. Maybe they just don’t remember when it’s all said and done. Well, I’m here to share what I’ve experienced as well as some tools that helped me through. I’m 12 weeks postpartum and finally out of the 4th trimester. (Yes, that’s a thing) I can’t say that if you do everything I did you’ll have a great postpartum experience. Every woman is different and every birth experience is unique. What I’ve walked through could be completely different than the girl next door. What I can say is that preparing yourself for postpartum is one of the best things you can do. I’m not here to instill fear, but I’m here to bring awareness, so don’t let this scare you. Yes, it’s painful, but it’s absolutely worth it!
Disclaimer : Some of these links are affiliate links which means I’ll receive a small payment for referring you. I’ll never suggest something I don’t love in exchange for money so trust that these are worth it if you choose to purchase!
Some of the things most people know about:
The First Pee – Can we all say OUCH!!! Haha. Not only does it take all of your strength to get out of bed, make it to the toilet and sit down… it burns! The hospital will provide you with a “peri bottle” which is a little squirt bottle to help clean yourself after using the restroom. I highly suggest purchasing one from Bodily (my fave) or FridaMom. The one from the hospital is hard to use. The ones I’m suggesting help with the angel and make cleaning a lot less confusing. ha. One thing that helps big time is spraying WHILE you’re peeing, not just after. The water will help to dilute your urine and make it burn less!
Poop Time – Best Advice. TAKE THE STOOL SOFTENERS. Do not try to be superhuman and think you don’t need them. Haha. You’ve just had a baby. You’re already superhuman.
Sitting Down – Since everything is loose “down there” sitting can be very painful. Getting a cushion (like this one) makes it a bit easier. I’d suggest using it on firmer options like a chair or a firmer couch. If your couch is fluffy it might not help as much.
Episiotomy Care – An episiotomy is when the doctor has to make a small incision to help the baby make it out. Doctors try really hard not to cut but sometimes it’s the only thing standing in the way of your little one coming out. I had a second-degree incision. (Do some more research if you’re interested in what it all means.) After the baby comes out, you’ll get stitched up where they cut. If I had to pick one thing that was the worst part, I’d have to say it was this. Episiotomy’s take a lot longer to heal. In all honesty, I think the healing down there would have been a lot less painful without the stitches. Using a peri bottle with cleansing wash, ice pads, witch hazel pads, and numbing spray will help you get through it. One thing I wish I would have used from the start is Perennial balm. I started using it about a month after and I feel like I actually started healing after use. * Pro-tip – Use a silicone brush like this to apply balm. It’s made for babies diaper cream but I ended up using it for myself and it made it a less painful to apply. Buy the two-pack so you have one for you and one for baby!
Breastfeeding and Pumping – Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things that happens after birth. I didn’t say easy though. For me, it came naturally but figuring out positions that worked and trying to find the right time to pump was a bit harder. In the first few days, just focus on feeding your baby. If it means that you don’t pump, it’s ok. Take the pressure off yourself to do it all.
Still Looking Pregnant – Yep.. You still look preggers for some time! haha. It took 9 months for your body to stretch out and it’s going to take time for it to get to its new normal (whatever that might be). Here are some of my progress photos during postpartum.
Here are some of the things I didn’t prepare for.
Shaking – I’m not sure if it was because of the medicine or because my body had just gone through so much but I would have on and off moments where I felt like I had no control of my body. I would start shaking uncontrollably. I will say that was one of the scariest things that I didn’t know about.
Bending Down – You know those pregnancy memes that say “If it falls on the floor it’s dead to me”? Giiiirl, you just wait till you’ve given birth! Bending down, squatting down or any movement like that was impossible for me! Chargers, water bottles, phones, papers, and pretty much anything else I needed that was on the floor or fell into the floor were inaccessible.
Getting In And Out Of Bed – Movies and TV Shows have done a bad job at showing realistic after birth experiences. Women jumping in and out of bed.. smh, that’s NOT how it goes! haha. Our bed is adjustable and I thought it would be helpful with getting in and out of bed. I will say, it was helpful for nighttime feedings and lounging in bed with B, but it didn’t make movement easy like I originally thought. Getting in bed was so hard because our bed is so high. I’d pretty much lay on my back and then try to lift my legs and push my tush to get in place. I could barely lift my legs on my own and didn’t have the abdominal strength to lift my butt to scoot back.
The Pressure To Build A Freezer Stash – Like I said earlier, figuring out when to pump while still feeding baby was pretty frustrating. On top of that, I constantly saw women on social media creating a freezer stash of milk within the first month. I wanted to be like that but quickly realized that I needed to go at my own pace. I didn’t pump after every feed. I didn’t wake up and pump in the middle of the night. But I did what was necessary to get by. I’m twelve weeks in and I’m just now starting the process of a consistent pumping schedule. You find what works for you and don’t compare your journey to others!
I hope this blog has been helpful! There’s so much to go over and every woman is different!
New moms – Feel free to ask questions below!
Experienced moms – Feel free to leave advice below and I’ll make sure to share it!
Here’s a reminder of why we do it! There’s so much beauty beyond the pain. And what people say is so true… The love you feel for your baby far out-weights the pain you feel bringing them into the world.
Below are links to websites and Instagram accounts that helped me big time! Find people that encourage you and have good information. You got this Mama!