my sis-in-law had her first baby 6 weeks before i had my first. and the other day, we were texting about some postpartum symptoms we were experiencing, and i got hit with the realization that everyone talks about pregnancy and birth but then no one ever shares about what being postpartum is actually like! the real and the raw.

now, here’s the time to go out of this blog post if you’re not interested in hearing some maybe tmi woman things. can’t say i didn’t tell you.

like i mentioned, i had my first baby, a boy, five months ago. growing up i did a lot of working with kids, babysitting kids, etc., so i wasn’t at all nervous about what to do with my son when we got home from the hospital. but, if i’m being honest, i didn’t truly know anything about what was to go on with my body after that. i wasn’t nervous; i was just clueless. now, i didn’t have a c-section, so i cannot speak on behalf of that experience.

  1. bleeding. first off, can i say it feels so weird to bleed afterwards when you haven’t bled for 9 whole months? your body definitely makes up for it though haha. my postpartum nurse liked to call it the “diaper lasagna” because the pad, the witch hazel pads, the ice pack, the creams, etc. going to the bathroom becomes a 10-minute ordeal. thankfully, the bleeding does stop eventually.
  2. your period. just because you’re breastfeeding, doesn’t mean your period won’t return. i feel like everyone says that if you’re nursing your baby, you don’t get a period, but that’s not true! my period returned about 2 months postpartum, and my doctor said it’s completely normal. but, those first couple periods postpartum are very very heavy…
  3. belly. i think social media has done us a big disservice by making “bouncing back” after having a baby just an overnight change, but that’s not realistic. what is realistic is your belly sagging more than it used to, stretch marks not disappearing instantly, and carrying weight in your body differently than pre-pregnancy. and that’s all okay & totally normal. i follow a mom on social media who openly talks about her back-to-back pregnancies and what the recovery journey has looked like for her. she calls her belly her “mom pooch,” and is actually proud of it because of what it can do! I love that.
  4. hair loss. around 4 months postpartum, i started noticing large clumps of my hair coming out, and now at 5 months postpartum, i’ve started to notice baby hairs growing back in around my face. it’s not the cutest thing on the planet but it’s real life. just be prepared for your shower drain to get real clogged real fast.
  5. tearing. my son was over 10 pounds at birth and i pushed him out in about 45 minutes, so i had a pretty good third degree tear that took a long time to heal. i’m actually still going to pelvic floor physical therapy to heal all the muscles down there.
  6. going to the bathroom. due to tearing a lot at birth, going to the bathroom was very painful to say the least. right after delivery, they have you try and the pressure from just sitting on the toilet was too much to handle; i physically couldn’t pee. due to hours post delivery still not being able to pee, they had to put a catheter in me (this was not fun after having a 3rd degree tear and being only 4 hours after delivery). they started me on stool softeners almost instantly and i’m glad because i had a really hard and painful time having a BM. i would literally sit on the toilet for 20+ minutes having to go but it hurt so much. thankfully, this is a temporary thing. i’ve never been so happy in my life to poop haha.
  7. breastfeeding. i am extremely thankful i am able to nurse my son, but no one tells you that it is literally a full-time job, especially in the first couple months. my son was (and still is) a big boy, so he would want to eat all the time. specifically i remember one time, i was wanting to go to bed and i decided i would feed hudson one more time. that feeding lasted over an hour because he just wanted to cluster feed. i felt like all i did was feed him, but you and your baby will get into a good routine and it won’t feel like as much of a full-time job eventually. i promise you.
  8. bassinet. our pediatrician told us that the recommended time for your baby to sleep in your room in a bassinet is 12 months. personally, i think that’s crazy. now obviously, a newborn needs their parents all the time, but eventually, once your baby starts sleeping longer stretches, it actually makes both you and your baby sleep better when they’re not in your room at night. hudson began sleeping through the night around 6 weeks old, and our pediatrician said there’s no reason not to have him in his crib at this time, so we did, and before we knew it, he was sleeping 10+ hours a night straight and this has continued. i actually find that i am less nervous with hudson in his own room because the monitor is right on my night stand and anytime i hear a noise, i can look up and see him. when he was in our room, our bed was way taller than the bassinet so we had to physically get out of bed to see him when we heard a noise, and sometimes just getting out of bed made him wake up. obviously, everyone’s comfort level is going to be different, so do what makes you feel the most peace.
  9. swelling. everyone knows that you swell up during the last bit of your pregnancy, but no one tells you about the swelling postpartum! my hands swelled up around 20 weeks pregnant to the point that i couldn’t fit my wedding ring on anymore. and then, i was over 2 months postpartum and my hands still hadn’t gone back to normal. i ended up getting my wedding ring resized because it had been like 6 months since i had been able to wear it & i missed it! i even had a third grader in my class ask me why i was wearing my husband’s ring (i was wearing a white silicone ring that apparently looked very manly).
  10. anxiety. my husband and i had a miscarriage before we got pregnant with hudson, so i found myself very nervous and anxious a lot during his pregnancy. so, i assumed once he was born that would all go away. and to some extent it did because i’ve been very relaxed and chill as a parent, but in other ways, it’s ramped up. you find that when it’s your first pregnancy, you just want to make sure your baby is okay no matter what, and that sometimes leads you down a road of being anxious.

are these things fun? no.

are they painful? yes.

but i would be lying if I said they weren’t worth it.

five months postpartum and i would do it all over again. it’s so true when you hear that you forget the pain. you wouldn’t see women birthing multiple children if it wasn’t worth it. even writing this, it took me a bit to remember all the symptoms i had because even just one look at my handsome son makes me more grateful than i have ever been. life is extremely beautiful. i wouldn’t trade having my husband be the one to birth children; i truly see it as a blessing that my body is capable of doing so.

so, yes, these symptoms are true and real (although everyone’s postpartum journey differs), but when it means you get a beautiful baby out of it, the pain doesn’t seem to be as bad anymore.

what’s your postpartum journey like? i’d love to hear about it.

tia marie

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