When I was pregnant with Daisy I read everything I could about the whole experience. I knew whether she’d grown eyelashes that particular week, what possible changes to my body I could expect and by the time I was due, I was an expert in the stages of labour. There were so many apps and websites to get information from, I felt totally prepared for motherhood. I look back and laugh at this now, because the pregnancy and labour were the small parts of a much bigger life change.
After giving birth, I couldn’t believe how little there had been to inform (or warn!) expectant mothers about those first postpartum days. This time around with Zac, I was more prepared but still can’t get over how little there is about the after effects of giving birth. So, here’s a little list of things that you may experience, but don’t necessarily get told about.
- You’ll Still Look Pregnant
Granted, you may not look full term anymore, but you’ll still have a swollen belly that’s way more squishy than it was before. You’ll probably feel like a sack of potatoes in everything you wear, so stick to pjs around the house and remember that baggy or lose clothing is your trusted friend and ally right now.
- Bodily Fluids
Yep, all of them. When women say they went through blood, sweat and tears in labour, they weren’t joking; although they left out the potential pee, poo and vomit issues too. Yes, you may well shit yourself (don’t worry, your partner will still love you!), you’ll cry for no reason, you’ll worry about peeing every time you sneeze and boy oh boy will there be blood. You may get top lip sweat while just sitting still, want to be sick at the mere thought of another isotonic drink and soak through multiple breast pads, because someone clearly must have left the taps on in your boobs?! It’s all normal.
- Your Dignity
Leave it at the door. You’re going to be poked, prodded and pulled around by multiple people whilst in labour. Your bits will be on full view to an audience, but you honestly won’t care; they have the power to get the baby out and they are also in charge of pain relief. You may need to be examined after going home, and with everything you’ve got going on ‘down there’ you won’t want anyone near it, but it’s necessary and they’ve seen it all before. A midwife actually said to me a few weeks back “I’ve lost count of how many vaginas I’ve seen today”.
- It’s Not Glamorous
Too many celebrities boast about their pain relief free, natural labour with immediate skin to skin and a dream breastfeeding baby. Before you know it, they’re photographed on a beach showing off their “incredible postpartum body, just four weeks after having a baby!” (thanks for the confidence boost Mail Online). Sometimes, this just isn’t possible. Remember that a lot of these celebrities have nannies, personal trainers, chefs etc and sadly, usually have pressure on them to be seen a certain way. I guarantee you, that plenty of them have vomited into a bedpan, whilst wearing a backless, ass out hospital gown and compression stockings, whilst their other half snatched the baby out of the way. So glamorous!
- A Rush of Love
I can honestly say, that being handed my newborn babies was the closest thing to euphoria I have ever felt. You’ve had them move around in your belly for months and wondered what they’ll be like. You’ve tried to picture who they’re going to look like and what personality they’ll have, but in truth you know absolutely nothing about that little person. However, when you’re handed your baby, that rush of love is something you can’t be prepared for. It’s funny how you can love someone so much, without knowing them properly, but in that moment, you immediately know you’d give your life for this tiny, squishy bundle without a moments hesitation.