What they don’t tell you about post partum recovery

  • You may have a plan for just after the birth, but if something during the birth goes differently, your plan will have to change.  I wanted to have skin to skin in the pool and breastfeed immediately after the birth.  I wanted Cody to do the breast crawl and have Daniel, me and Cody in a peaceful little after birth bubble.  The reality ended up being that I tore and bled, so I needed to immediately get out of the pool holding Cody, who was still attached to me, and lay on the wood floor so that the midwives could evaluate my tear and make sure everything was okay.  I felt faint and exhausted.  The floor quickly became uncomfortable, and it took over an hour to get the placenta out, the cord cut, the stitches evaluated, and the baby breastfed.  By the time I left that spot on the floor, my bottom was sore and numb at the same time.  Not exactly picture perfect.
  • Even with a home birth, if you have stitches, there will be a good chunk of time when you’re not with your baby.  I remember getting to the end of the day and feeling like I had hardly seen my son.  Between showering, eating, getting stitched up, and resting, I had very small glimpses of Cody, mostly to try to breastfeed, which was confusing and not at all what I thought it would be (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog long).
  • If you lose a lot of blood, you will feel more faint than you’ve ever felt in your life.  This is not just a slight fainting feeling.  This is an “Oh my gosh, the world around me is feeling very unstable, I can’t stand up, and I know I’m going to black out any second and hope I have time and energy to tell someone.” I had to be dragged from the bed to the bath on a blow up mattress.  Thank the good Lord for my husband and midwife for all they did to take care of me that day.
  • Breastfeeding is hard work.  ‘Nuff said.
  • You won’t be exercising a week after you have the baby (yes, I thought this would be possible since I was going all natural).
  • If you have tearing, it will take FOREVER to heal.  I’m now 10 weeks post partum and still feel tugging and discomfort on a daily basis.
  • The weight will not just melt off, even if you’re breastfeeding.  Granted, I gained probably 60 lbs or more, but I cannot seem to get the last 40 off.  Terrible.  
  • Placenta capsules are a God-send.  I truly believe God doesn’t waste anything, and the placenta is a wonderful tool He has given us for recovering from birth.  On the days where I felt the most emotional, I could pop these and felt SO much better.  Made a world of difference.
  • Speaking of emotions, you will cry.  You will cry more than ever before and about the most ridiculous things you could ever think of.  The first few days, I cried because Cody is so beautiful and I was so happy (a pretty good reason to shed tears of joy, but these were a lot of tears, not just a glistening).  When I had to supplement with formula, I cried because Cody “didn’t smell like my baby” (formula smells very different to breastmilk.  He hasn’t smelled quite the same since).  Every joke Hubby made, I cried.  These are just a few examples.  I’m surprised I didn’t dehydrate from all the tears I shed.
  • Your body won’t be the same.  Okay, I knew this one, but seriously…I still look at least 3 months pregnant and have stretch marks, can’t lose the weight, have mondo boobs (not a bad thing, but I’m not used to having to worry about cleavage so much), and don’t feel normal down yonder because of my stitches.  I have only just recently been able to get rid of these massive chapped areas I had on the corners of my mouth that I finally found out were caused by a vitamin c deficiency.  I know to allow myself a lot of time to get back to normal, but I will be so excited to fit in my jeans and button them up again…*sigh* one day.

All this to say, postpartum has been the hardest part of pregnancy/birth, and I truly didn’t expect the curveballs I’ve been thrown.  Like I said above, I’m now 10 weeks post partum, and I’m only just starting to feel normal in my day to day life.  

What were you surprised about with your post partum recovery?  What would you add to this list?

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16 thoughts on “What they don’t tell you about post partum recovery

  1. The hideous Linea Nigra. Ugh!! I have darker toned skin, so my line was even darker. I couldn’t wait to get rid of it. Wrong!! I’m 8 weeks pp and still sporting it. Also, I sweat. I thought I was just a weirdo, but there are other moms out there with the same problem. Not just night sweats, either. And it’s the smell?!?! I take a shower, put on deoderant, and immediately start smelling after my first breast feeding session. I put on deoderant at least 5 times a day. So gross!!!!

  2. You summed it up about right! But then again nothing will every be the same. I’m 22 and my boobs hang lower than most 70 yr olds. It’s sooooo gross! TMI but down there is disgusting. It still looks nothing like it should! Lol. I guess that’s the price we pay for our awesome kiddos!

  3. I would add might sweats (your body’s way of shedding the water gained)… I’d wake up two, sometimes three times a night so entirely soaked that I literally had to move or leave the bed because it was too wet to go back to sleep.
    I’d also add bleeding. I am 6 wks pp and still have some break-through bleeding, but the first 4+ weeks I was wearing the giant pads EVERY day and night. Longest “period” of my life lol.
    Postpartum is tough, I wish I knew more of what to expect. I supposedly can start exercising now, but my tummy is still a little tender (c-section 😦 ) and my energy level is pretty low (maybe nursing is taking it all??).
    All said though, he’s worth every ache and pad 100 times over 🙂

  4. Man I kinda wish you had written this post sooner! I totally feel your pain and I agree with the above comments. I think I walked around horrified for the first month wondering, does everyone go through this? How come nobody told me about this??

    At 8 w PP I am FINALLY able to go a whole day without some ibuprofen but it still hurts to cough and sneeze and blow my nose. Night sweats were pretty bad and made worse by the fact that my hormones were so out of whack I was freezing all the time. And I live in Florida! But I lived in PJs, long sleeves and fluffy thick socks for a month. Sometimes I even slept with my bathrobe on for extra warmth. And the smell! OMG yes! You feel like an awkward teenager all over again, paranoid about if other people can smell you. I couldn’t scrub hard enough in the shower…And of course it doesn’t help that I can’t seem to take one as often while taking care of the baby all day. But his face and his smile erases it all 🙂

    • I love your description of the first month. Horrified and confused are great descriptions of post partum. Phew, it’s a shocker! I’m glad you can back off the meds some now, although if they help then I say you deserve them! You have been through a lot, Mama! I had chills, too. In fact, just last weekend I had the chills again. Weird what our hormones do. But, yes, the smiles and coos and cute faces erase every bad bit.

  5. Agree. Postpartum is the hardest part.. which is impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t gone through it. It does get better though! And then for some reason we do it all again 🙂 Oh and I remember it took me almost a year and a half after my first baby to be able to have sex without pain.. but eventually everything becomes normal again. I’m 8 months postpartum and still not feeling 100%. It does get better though!

  6. Yes, yes, and yes! I completely understand everything you said here! Postpartum is ROUGH! And you totally inspired me to write my own postpartum post now because otherwise my comment would be a million miles long. You’re right- it’s the part we talk about least and yet it IS the hardest!

  7. I can relate with all of these, and I also sweat a ton and smell not-so- lady-like. I switched deodorant brands, shower more often, and it still bothers me 😦

  8. Postpartum is not easy, I agree 🙂 I don’t enjoy the after pains of labor (postpartum contractions), did you have them? I didn’t have them at all with my first daughter, but with my last two they were very painful and lasted several days, ugh! I’m 7 weeks PP now and I’m feeling pretty “normal” again, but this is my third time doing this 😉 It will get better! Good luck with everything 🙂

    • I had small post partum contractions, but they didn’t bother me too much. It’s definitely a process to get to “normal,” isn’t it? Crazy how a few hours can change so much (although I guess it’s nearly a year in total).

  9. Pingback: Postpartum: What You Should Know | Natural Birth

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