I think the fact that it’s taken me 11 months to be able to write about what my body went through after birthing a baby speaks for itself. Was my delivery “normal”? Yes. Did I have any complications? No. Was the physical recovery so bad I probably blocked out parts of it from my memory? Yes.
No one told me about postpartum recovery. Everyone is so excited to tell you how hard and awful labor and delivery is. Everyone has their own warning and horror story. But not a single person warned me about how awful the healing process was after delivery. Here’s your warning. You’re welcome. I like coffee and donuts if you’re ever looking for a way to thank me.
For starters, I knew about the pads that are basically adult diapers. Plenty of people who delivered at the hospital told me about those. But I didn’t think I would need to wear them for so long! So. Much. Bodily. Fluid.
Your first shower might not provide the comfort you’re looking for. I think I took a shower about 40 hours after giving birth and I could barely stand through the whole shower. I was shaking so hard I thought I was going to fall over, so I rinsed my hair and got out. Oh, don’t forget all the bodily fluids too…
Bowel movements. Your nurse might ask you if you’ve had one yet every time she comes in and you might want to hurt her. The stool softeners helped, but I think what would have helped more would have been another epidural and some anti-anxiety meds. I wish I was kidding!
In keeping with this exhilarating topic…hemerrhoids. I don’t think I even felt the stitches, because so much of my pain was coming from another place right down the block. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly where to push when you’re pushing out a baby. Just sayin’. And there are no rocking chair cushions soft enough to make breastfeeding for hours on end comfortable (I’m pretty sure I bought the one with the lowest comfort ratings). Better moms could probably do it standing up, but I couldn’t.
A lot can happen between weeks 4 and 6. At four weeks postpartum I was terrified that I was even going to have a six week checkup. Let alone the fact that there was a chance my OBGYN might tell me it was okay to *ahem* practice making a baby again. At six weeks postpartum…well, it was only slightly less terrifying. 😳
Some women are excited when their milk comes in because they’re finally “blessed” in the boob region. I was not excited. For me it was painful. And leaky. Which is not usually a look I’m going for.And suddenly I didn’t have a single bra that fit. Which is not attractive either.
And on top of all that, there are unreal post-partum emotions to slug through. I can’t quite put a humorous spin on this topic, so that will get its own blog post. Stay tuned!