So you just had a baby. Now what?

One of my dearest and closest friends in the world is 10 days away from her due date, and I couldn’t be more happy for her. I’ve answered any and all questions she has had for me as fully and honestly as I can, but I honestly have no question in my mind that she’s got nothing to worry about when it comes to preparing herself for birth. She is probably the strongest woman I know, both physically and mentally, and quite literally can roll with the punches. She’s also come out at the other end of some pretty horrific injuries, and can tough it out in any situation she is thrown into. Honestly, I admire her in many ways for her strengths and accomplishments, and am proud to call her my friend.

But here’s the thing. Everyone prepares you for birth. You take birthing/parenting classes and they tell you what to expect during delivery – what may happen and the various types of scenarios you may encounter. You read plenty of books, and every single person you know (and their step-sister’s cousin’s uncle’s half-brother) has told you their birth stories. You go in there terrified, but pretty sure what’s going to happen. You’re going to come out on the other end of things with a baby. But then what?

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I know I wasn’t fully prepared for everything that can happen to you postpartum, and all while you’re going through an emotional shit-show called hormone fluctuations. So I thought, why not do a post about it! I hope it doesn’t scare her (though I know her well enough to know that she tends to go after challenges balls-first), but I also know that sometimes brutal honesty is the best thing for you. So let’s get to it!

You will sweat more than a Ladyboy in Thailand at high-noon. Thank the hormones for that one. I was in the hospital for a week after L was born. After delivery, I had a nice lovely shower (that first one feels like you struck it rich!) and got moved up to our proper hospital room. The next day I remember doing a few sniffs and thinking “Holy shit, what is that smell! Someone hasn’t washed in a few months”. Then I realized it was me. I was the stinker. I smelled like the deep folds on Jabba the Hut. I asked my fiance why he didn’t tell me I reeked so badly, and he said he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. God love him. I don’t know how he was in the same room as I was. So G, my dear friend, pack deodorant, antiperspirant, baby powder (for yourself!), body spray, and any other anti-stink gunk you can think of.

Don’t look at your crotch! You might be tempted, but trust me, don’t do it. It won’t be recognizable to you, and might scare you. It’s straight out of a horror movie. Think “Night of the Living Labia”, “The Blair Stitch Project”, “The Vagina Chainsaw Massacre”. It won’t stay that way for ever so it isn’t even worth torturing yourself about. Make sure you take advantage of sits baths and the little squirt bottle they give you.

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You’ll be scared to poop. Literally scared shitless. You just pushed a baby out of your vagina, which if you think about it, practically shares real estate with your pooper. You will be terrified, especially if you’ve torn or had stitches. Don’t be scared – the amount of stool softeners you are on will, for lack of better words, soften the blow.

You may have a Marsupial Pouch. Thankfully, most people are aware of a typical postpartum body now after Kate Middleton showed hers off. You won’t walk out with a flat tummy. You will still probably look 5 months pregnant when you leave the hospital and it’s normal. Even after you lose the weight you may still have what I lovingly refer to as the “Mommy Marsupial Pouch”. Don’t sweat it – it’s like instant membership into the club we call motherhood. No entrance fees required.

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You may have a period of mourning. I didn’t hear a lot of people talk about this, but I had a serious period of mourning. I loved my little L, and was so thrilled she was in this world, but part of me was sad that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I was mourning my baby tummy, and found myself looking down at my saggy, squishy gut and feeling depressed. I had felt so empowered while I was pregnant – I was nurturing, growing and protecting a human being that I had helped create. I was still doing all of those things with her on the outside world, but now it wasn’t only up to me. Others could help out, and my sense of empowerment had diminished. It’s okay to feel this way.

You may cry. A lot. You won’t always know why. And it isn’t a pretty cry. It’s an ugly, soggy, snotty, yucky cry. You’ll cry because you’re so overwhelmed with love and happiness your body literally explodes with tears. You’ll cry because your shoelaces aren’t cooperating with you. You’ll cry because your husband looked at you “wrong”, and so he obviously must be judging you. It’s ok to cry. But if it gets too much, remember to reach out. You may feel alone, but you aren’t.

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You’ll get porn star worthy tits, without the surgery! I know you’re looking forward to this added bonus! They’ll be firm, and perky, and glorious. The only downfall is, they may leak a bit. We just can’t have everything.

You’ll panic and think you are going bald. Ahhh the postpartum shed. It’s just lovely. Your hair will come out in CLUMPS in the shower, and you’ll freak out and wonder if it’s normal. It is. You won’t go bald, it is just your hormones adjusting back to normal. Pretty damn scary though!

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In all seriousness, my dear G, you’ve got this. But if there ever comes a time where you feel you don’t, remember that we’ve got you.

xoxo

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39 thoughts on “So you just had a baby. Now what?

  1. I only had the crazy sweats after Zoey. I didn’t after the boys. I thought something was wrong with me! I love this post, I wish I had seen something like this before I had my babies so I knew what to expect, instead of after when I am sitting here nodding.

    • I wish I had, too. From the feedback I’m hearing, I think a lot of mom’s feel the same way. In this case, honesy really is the best policy.

      That’s why I’m hoping, that of all my posts, this one gets around the most. The more expecting Mama’s (or their partners for that matter) that it reaches, the less alone I think they will feel in their feelings and experiences.

  2. I remember the sweats. I would wake up drenched despite waking up in a cold room (gave birth in winter and I would leave the window to our room open…). I thought they would never end. I also remember crying because I was so overwhelmed with love for my tiny baby. This is a must read for expecting mothers. These are things that I also learned on my own after giving birth.

    • Thank you so much for saying so! The sweats are super gross, and I wasn’t expecting that at all. Nobody tells you these things. Everybody wants to come across as in control of everything, and like things aren’t difficult.

      I’m quite hopeful that this post in particular can get out there to as many expecting mama’s (and their partners) as possible. Maybe they will feel less alone and more prepared for what’s to come.

  3. Ah the spontaneous outbursts of happy/sad/totally confused tears. When my third was a week or so old I went to a wedding shower. I was laughing, snuggling my baby, chatting with friends and watching the happy couple open their gifts. Then I ducked into the bathroom and sobbed for several minutes. Then I came back out happy again. I felt like the weirdest person in the world.

    • 🙂
      Sorry that comment actually made me smile. I’m sure at the time you felt like one of those car accidents that everybody drives by hoping to get a peek at the wreck. That’s how I felt sometimes, anyway.
      Hormones are jerks. That’s the only way to describe them, in my opinion.

  4. Oh, man. I cried a lot after Samuel. There were insurance issues and jaundice issues. Oh, it was not fun. 😦

    • Oh no! I can definitely relate to the jaundice issues. My water broke on a Saturday, and we weren’t released from the hospital until the following Saturday. I was feeling helpless, and trapped in hospital walls (which felt like prison walls at the time), and so sad that she was ill and I had no way to help her other than watch her under the lights and cross every single finger and toe that her bilirubin results would be better after the next set of bloodwork. Her poor heels were so pinpricked. It was awful. 😦

      • Oh my, that is a long time at the hospital!! 😦 I am going to be researching jaundice in the coming months because I want to be more prepared for it if/when we have another baby! There have to be more natural ways to handle to condition!!!

  5. Perfectly written. I desperately missed my pregnant bellies (still do!) Doesn’t matter how much weight I lose, the marsupial pouch isn’t going anywhere. Annnd, yeah, totally agree with everything else too. Shit show of hormones. Haha. Yes, exactly.

    • Thank you so much! That means a lot to me.
      Haha shit show of hormones is right. I was trying to think of a more delicate way to describe it, but hormones are jerks, and there is no other way to say so. It was a shit show.

      I wasn’t prepared for any of the “afters” of having a baby. I knew I’d have a baby, and we’d go home and I’d have to raise her and care for her, but everyone expects that. It’s the other stuff nobody talks about. Everyone wants to come off as completely in control and as if nothing is difficult, which just isn’t thet truth.

      I feel that as mothers, we’d feel a lot less alone on this planet with our difficulties if people just talked about them! So I’m quite hopeful that this post has some reach and makes its way around the place we call the internet. I feel quite strongly that it is important to talk about this stuff!

      • I totally agree. I’ve never understood why moms hide behind perfection. I dealt with ppd after my twins and I am not ashamed to say it or talk to others about it. But I still get the “oh wow, there must be something wrong with her” looks from strangers. There’s a huge disconnect in understanding just everything moms go through internally.

  6. Ah, porn star tits…. they’re fab!
    …. but also feel the need to add to that they don’t last forever. Something else people don’t talk about much: when your milk regulates (if you are nursing) your porn star tits will “deflate”. Your boobs will feel soft and droopy and lifeless, they are pretty sad looking, but don’t worry, keep nursing as long as it is right for you and your baby (if you plan to), it’s just you won’t get engorged/feel “full” as often (plus side is you will no longer leak and squirt everywhere- including your baby’s face or indeed halfway across the room! LOL)) Never fear though, when the time comes to end the nursing adventures, gradually the fatty breast tissue will fill back in and your boobs will be *somewhat* normal again. -The flopsy, regulated, nursing tits will no longer be flopsy. LOL

    • Hahaha they are FABULOUS, but sadly short lived.
      My boobs now…not so fabulous. One seems to have stayed firmer than the other. The not so firm one feels almost flacid.
      I’m always thankful with C grabs for Righty over Lefty now lol.

  7. Oh my God I honestly can’t remember most of what happened the day after I gave birth to our first born. I was disoriented the whole day and I even forgot I gave birth until my mother said something about how cute the baby looked! LOL
    Thank you so much for linking this up at the Blog Strut! ❤

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  9. Thanks so much for this post! I’m due with my first in October and I am eagerly anticipating everything that comes along with having a new baby and motherhood. I’m always looking things like this up, and really enjoyed reading your post.

    ~Tenns

    • Oh you are so welcome! You (and people like you) are the very reason I wrote it. I find that a lot of the time, we as women like to appear in control of things, and therefore don’t talk about the struggles we have. The thing is though, we all have them.
      I hope it didn’t scare you too much. None of it lasts forever, but your gorgeous new baby outweighs any of the hardships I’ve listed. Just remember some body spray lol.
      Congrats on your soon to be new babe, and thanks so much for your feedback! 🙂

  10. I laughed so hard. So much truth! I’m in the home stretch for #3. I had a nurse come in and gripe at me with my first because I had the air down too low for the baby. I cried, because the room being over 70 made me sweat and smell like Jaba’s pits…

  11. OK so I was lucky and didn’t tear despite a huchal hand, so I thought I had pooping all covered. Didn’t even need medicinal assistance. Until about a week after delivery. Then I did myself more damage pooping than I did giving birth, if you know what I mean! I don’t know what it was, but holy chocolate don’t give up on those stool softeners too soon people!

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      • HAHAHA.yikes! Well, after the the amount of milk that I pumped out for my babies (see my post on pumping the boob juice), I told myself that I was OWED a nice new pair of boobs – which I just got two months ago. whooohooo. made the rise and fall of my milk machines worth it.

  15. See, this is the stuff our so-called friends who already have children SHOULD tell us, but they don’t. Or they wait until afterwards to regale us with horror stories. Oddly, knowing these things in advance are preparing me for the ineitable. Ack.

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