The Top 10 Things They Don’t Tell You About The First Few Weeks Post-Partum

Hello…it’s me (sung in the style of Adele) WOW!  It’s been awhile since I’ve updated this thing! Truth be told, I like to put a lot of time, wit and coherent thought into my blog posts, and I have literally had none of those things since Naia popped out.

I have, however, been updating my Insta almost on the daily, so if you want to see the up-to-the-minute updates of life with baby and postpartum fitness, follow me @stepbitestep

As all 63 of my loyal readers know, I try to keep it real over here.  Sometimes a little too real.  My apologies to my father and husband, who are both still recovering over my “Top 10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Pregnancy” Post.  But now it’s time to resurrect that theme.  Back by popular demand, I bring you…The Top 10 Things They Don’t Tell You About The First Few Weeks Postpartum!

Also – my disclaimer – I gave brith to Naia vaginally with the aid of a glorious epidural (you can read about that shit show here and here), so some of my items are geared in that direction.

10.  You will HATE the hospital stay…except for one thing.  The hospital stay sucks.  You are BEYOND exhausted after labor and delivery.  All you want to do is sleep.  The baby is up every couple of hours to eat but it’s actually pretty manageable.  But there is someone coming into your room literally every 30 minutes.  It’s a nurse checking on your vitals…or a nurse checking on the baby’s vitals…or someone bringing you food…or a friend/family member…or a professional photographer offering you a photography package with your new bundle of joy for the low low price of $250 for some 8×10’s and 5×7’s of your puffy eyes, swollen face and greasy hair (he was nicely told to GTFO NOW).

But GOD I miss that hospital bed.  Not the comfiest thing in the world, but that magical little remote let you mechanically prop yourself up and then lay you back down.  My Serta pillowtop at home doesn’t do that, and that is literally the only thing I missed about the hospital.

9.  You will be forced to make a choice not unlike Sophie’s choice.  You get to either have painkillers for your swollen, stitched up nether regions.  Or you get to take a glorious poop that doesn’t literally reopen every physical and psychological wound you incurred during your child’s grand entrance into this world.  But you can’t have both.  Carefully evaluate your priorities, and choose wisely.

8.  Actually they DO send you home with a manual for the baby.   We have all heard the joke over the years that babies don’t come with a manual.  Actually, our hospital DID send us home with a very detailed manual.  And before we left, a nurse sat down with us and went over every single item in said manual in grave gory detail.  And Danon and I looked at her with serious looks on our faces, nodded in understanding as she went over the most important points, and thanked her when she was done.  Problem is, we were so exhausted and overwhelmed that we didn’t remember a damn thing from that talk, and we still brought Naia into our house completely clueless.

Carseat

Headed home from the hospital.  Cue the panic attack in 5…4…3…2…

7.  One of you will be a total panicked headcase when you get home.  One of you will be more chill.  Prior to Naia’s birth, I thought I was going to be the stressed out hot mess of a parent, and Danon was going to be the voice of reason.  However, I give you Exhibit A: Reasons Danon has wanted to call the pediatrician in the middle of the night:

  1. Naia had the hiccups
  2. One of Naia’s poops was greenish instead of yellowish
  3. Naia would not stop crying for an hour
  4. Naia spit up some milk twice in one night

6.  Dear Mom…I am SO SORRY.  Caring for a newborn is effing HARD.  You are putting an exhausting amount of time and energy into just simply sustaining basic human life for your little one.  And on top of that, your heart is just completely overwhelmed with love for this tiny little human you just met.  And for those first few weeks, until you see that first REAL smile (not just your baby’s face contorting into a “pushing a poop out” face that resembles a smile), it’s a pretty thankless job.  And after all your mother has done for you, after all those sleepless nights, and cracked and bleeding nipples, and the Franken-gina you left her with that has now taken the place of once pretty and perky lady-bits, (or c-section scar) and spit-up and poop stained clothing, after ALL THAT…how dare you go through puberty!!  Mom…I’d like to take this opportunity to just apologize for the ages of 12-17.  I was a real asshole.  I’m sorry.

Cartoon

Sometimes your child is smiling at you.  But in those first few weeks, chances are, she is just pooping. (Photo Credit @fowllanguagecomics)

5.  You’re gonna want to punch a LOT of people in the face in those first few weeks postpartum.  The FedEx guy who could just leave the mother effing package at the door, but chooses to bang loudly on the metal door instead to announce the arrival of your new nursing bra from Amazon, thus inciting a mild riot from the pups and waking the child you literally just got to fall asleep.  The well-meaning friend who pops in totally unannounced and interrupts your oh so very precious, precious naptime.  The person who tells you “These are the easy days…it gets SO MUCH worse!”.  The woman at CVS who asks you, two-weeks postartum, when you are due.  The list goes on…

4. When your doc says to wait 6 weeks to resume physical activity…just listen to her. Despite my steadfast belief to the contrary, I was not a post-partum superwoman.  Yes, I maintained some semblance of fitness during my pregnancy, and yes, there were times in the first few weeks after pushing a giant bobbleheaded baby out of Franken-gina that I actually felt OK to work out.  About 4 days post-partum, Danon suggested a short walk for us to get out of the house for a bit.  So put Naia in the stroller, and we walked across the street to the park.  And then I kept going…and going…and going…Danon had created a monster.  I was gleefully pushing the stroller along with a big ol’ shit eating grin on my face, waving at passing motorists and fellow walkers, even skipping along at times.  My body felt great, and HOLY SHIT I WAS OUT OF THE HOUSE CAVE!!! All the while, he kept saying “Babe, maybe we should head home.  Babe, maybe you’re pushing it a little too much.” But did I listen…hell no!! I was FREEEEEEEEE!!!! When I finally called it, we had walked over a mile.  Yea, bad idea…I spent the next two days flat on my back on the couch with ice packs jammed between my legs in addition to being totally unable to pee without crying out in pain.  Don’t be a postpartum hero-just rest.

Walk

Momma paid dearly for this walk.  

3. In addition to your new bundle of joy, you will also acquire 2 new, very large additions to the family.  I spent 20 years praying to Sweet Baby Jesus for bigger boobies, and I have spent the last 3 months begging him to please take them back.  These things suck!  They are huge, and painful, and engorged, and none of my cute tops or bras fit, and every damn time I go for a run I feel like I am going to end up with 2 black eyes.  And some of you women actually PAY for these things?!? What kind of unholy masochistic bullshit hell are you into? #ittybittytittycommitteeforlife

2. Nothing can prepare you…this statement is 100% accurate.  But I’m going to add to it (and get a little serious here too).  No one can prepare you for the total mind fuck that is the first few weeks postpartum.  Can we please do almost every new mommy a favor and stop filing this under the cutesy little alliterative euphemism we like to use called the “baby blues”? Just stop…it’s postpartum depression, and it’s very real, and its very scary.  Let’s think about this logically.  You have, on average, spent 18 waking hours laboring to have your womanhood torn to shreds at the culmination of said labor…OR…you have had your abdomen crudely sliced open, your insides placed on the outside, a baby removed from your uterus, and then your internal organs are unceremoniously smooshed back into place.  All of a sudden, your body does not feel like your own anymore – you can’t move the way you used to, and all the pieces are in the wrong places.  Your estrogen levels immediately plummet.  And on top of it all, you are averaging about 2-4 hours of sleep per 24 hour day, broken up into little bitty 20-45 minute slices of time (There’s a reason why many consider sleep deprivation to be an inhumane form of torture).  Add on the constant fear that you are doing something that could physically or emotionally hurt the baby, the feelings of inadequacy, and the fact that most of us have no idea what in the hell we are doing, (along with a million other emotions)…it’s no wonder new mommies sink into a depression.  And it’s easy to paint a pretty picture on social media…no one wants to see an Instagram post of me curled into the fetal position on my bed, sobbing into my pillow while an infant is hanging onto my cracked and bleeding boob for what feels like the 100th time that day with the caption “Please tell me it isn’t going to be like this forever” #babyblues #breastfeedingissohard (with a Juno filter of course).  And it’s not exactly appropriate to post to Facebook “Hi Facebook Friends and Family!  Sooo quick question…hospitals and firehouses…no questions asked, right? TIA!”

But it’s important to acknowledge that these feelings and very real, very scary and upsetting, and most importantly, very normal.  I want to get into this more in a different post, but to be blunt, there were some long nights, and some dark thoughts.  I never had thoughts of harming myself or my baby, and if your thoughts do happen to head in that direction, call your doctor ASAP.  But my feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, helplessness and sadness at times felt overwhelming.  I would wonder what Danon and I had gotten ourselves into, if our marriage was ever going to be the same, if anything was ever going to be the same, and then I would feel horrible guilt for having these feelings and thoughts because I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

For me, it helped to talk with my very supportive husband, and I also confided in a couple wonderful, non-judgemental girlfriends (who actually both assured me that they had gone through similar situations after the births of their children).  Bottom line is, nothing can prepare you for this, but being open and honest with the people around you who are closest to you and clearly communicating what you need and asking for help can help make it more manageable.  There is absolutely no shame in admitting that a new baby isn’t always all sunshine, butterflies and rainbows, but there is this societal stigma attached to PPD that it means you want to drown your kids in a bathtub, and this is soooo not the case.  If this admission on my blog helps just one new mommy realize that she is NOT alone in her struggle with PPD and encourages her to reach out to those she loves for support, then I’m a happy momma.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I want to end on a positive note!

1. Nothing can prepare you…for how much you are going to fall in love with this squirmy teeny tiny baby who you literally just met.  That little creature who is now all yours makes #2 more manageable and I am completely unable to explain how.  From the moment Naia was pulled from my body and placed into my arms, I felt this incredible connection to her and just wanted to do everything in my power to let her know how much she is and will be loved and cared for, and how her daddy and I would move mountains for her.  Whenever I was feeling especially depressed or anxious, I would remind myself why Danon and I doing this, and why  it’s so important that we keep our shit together…because it’s all for her.  And yes it does get better 🙂

I cannot get enough of this face!  She is my heart, my love, and no matter what physical and emotional boundaries may separate us over the years, she will always be the best part of me.

2 comments

  1. Booter!!! It’s Melanie Thornton (well, now Capraro) Thanks for writing this and telling us how it really goes down. I am 16 weeks pregnant and find it hard to get the straight answers about all this stuff (except for my mom of course!)

    Stay well and hope you are enjoying motherhood as much as it sounds! 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    • Melanie!!! Congrats on your marriage and congrats on having a little one on the way! You and mike are seriously going to be the worlds coolest parents! Hope pregnancy is treating you well so far now that you’re into the second trimester honeymoon part. Do you know the sex yet!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s