“I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy and have done everything to prepare for labor & delivery. What should I be expecting after delivery that I haven’t already heard about?“
Yes! As expecting mothers, we spend so much time reading up on every aspect of our pregnancy and what to expect during labor. But there are a few surprising things that come postpartum. Here were my top 6 biggest surprises:
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1. The peri bottle
Talk about a lifesaver! After you give birth and you’re a bloody mess *down there*, the hospital will provide you with a little water bottle that you squirt on yourself when you go to the bathroom. It feels great and leaves your very sore parts clean, like a portable bidet!
A word of advice: get a spare and pack it in your diaper bag because you do not want to be running an errand, have to pee and realize you left your peri bottle at home. It hurts and it’s just not an experience I’d wish on anyone I love.
2. Being scared to poop
I was more scared of my post-delivery bowel movement than I was of childbirth itself. Every muscle, tendon and piece of skin had been stretched beyond its breaking point and the idea of anything else coming out was just unfathomable.
Between how I felt physically and the mental block that prohibited me from going…it was days before I would get near a toilet for Number 2.
3. Tailbone pain
To piggy back on my fear of going to the bathroom…that was in large part because of how bad my tailbone hurt! I remember telling the nurse at the hospital that it felt like I bruised my tailbone, to which she responded, “you probably did.” What?!
Yeah. Apparently Baby’s head can cause some trauma to your tailbone. I couldn’t sit comfortably for months after delivery!
4. Stretchy skin
It makes sense, but not something I ever gave any consideration. After giving birth, your stomach is still very swollen for weeks, but once the swelling starts to come down, your skin is still stretched out.
Don’t panic yet! Your skin does eventually catch up…kind of. I’ve accepted that I’m probably always going to be a little squishier, but at least my skin doesn’t look/feel as funny as it did in the days following delivery.
I’ll also add…the squishy skin and stretch marks are so worth it.
5. Nursing is hard
I don’t know if you plan on nursing, but if you are, just know that it’s hard at first. And it hurts! But it’s normal and it does get better.
I don’t know why, but this took me totally by surprise. I thought it would be the most natural thing in the world, but it takes your baby some time to learn and it takes your body some time to acclimate.
It’s also tricky because breastfeeding requires you to continue to care for your body when your only care in the world is caring for that brand new baby. The last thing on your mind is drinking enough water and intaking enough calories…which is what your body needs in order to produce milk.
Unfortunately it also means a couple of weeks of pain and sleep deprivation because your baby needs to eat every 2-3 hours, if not more.
Once both you and Baby get into a routine, though, it’s very special.
6. How much I love my son
Of course I knew I would love him. But I never expected how overwhelmed with love I would be. There were so many days when I would just hold him and look at him and cry because my heart was just exploding out of my chest. The love that a mother has for her child is unlike anything I ever could have imagined. It’s simultaneously wondering how you ever lived without this little person, worrying about everything that could ever hurt them, and understanding that this right here was your entire life’s purpose and nothing else will ever matter as much as your baby.
Wishing you and your baby a healthy delivery. You’re doing great!
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