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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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