We’ve all seen the ‘after delivery’ posts that come with pregnancy. “What a beautiful miracle,” “Mom and baby are doing awesome.” But let’s get serious. There is nothing beautiful about expelling a human being out of your body. I asked some moms what they thought about the process. Mainly, “What had you wished someone would have told you about childbirth/pregnancy that was far from ‘beautiful’?
Here are some of their candid responses:
“The day after – you feel the ugliest ever! Your stomach is disgusting and flabby, you can’t stand up with out gushing blood from your lady parts and having a child eat from your boobs is weird as hell”
A mans view- “Boy can I tell you what’s not beautiful about childbirth!? Kristin’s vagina grew to the size of a kitchen table when she was pushing out Ryan’s melon head. Holy shit. There was nothing beautiful about that. Put that in your blog.”
“After the baby is born, they’d be pushing on my stomach for a good 1/2 hour after delivery to push out the placenta. Stomach was tender for the next two days!!”
“You bleed like a dying animal after birth and you will use a spray bottle to wipe. Your boobs hurt like none other. Your love for your child the moment they lay her on your chest is the most powerful emotion you will have. The instinct to protect her with your life is natural. You will never think twice about putting her life/comfort/happiness in front of your own.”
“That my vagina ripped, I pooped and then they sewed my vagina back together so I can be tight like a tiger. Except I pee on trampolines and when I sneeze. So I guess the sewing didn’t really work.”
“The hormone fluctuation = night sweats for weeks.”
“No one told me that the first few times you breastfeed hurts just as much as labor. The breastfeeding contracts your uterus, so I had to breathe through it. Yowza!”
“There’s potential for you to rip your butthole, making it impossible for you to poop normal for months. But your vagina will be fine in a week.”
“Your body will not be the same beautiful body after pregnancy. That was the hardest for me personally. Childbirth – nurses and doctors will try pressuring you to breastfeed, but it’s perfectly fine if that’s not your choice and you shouldn’t feel guilt.”
“No one talks about the clear spray bottle of cold water that you absolutely MUST have anytime you pee, unless of course you want to feel like you’re sitting directly on top of a bonfire. Or the ice pack underwear. Or the constipation that eventually ends up in a bowel movement so horribly painful it feels like a you’re giving birth a second time. Oh, and the exhaustion. People are like, “you’re never going to sleep!” That is a gross understatement. During the birthing process tho… no one ever prepared me to watch my doctor fit her entire hand/forearm inside my body. Nope. Definitely wasn’t ready for that.”
“The hormones, the night sweats! The baby isn’t the only one in diapers.”
“Exercise! During pregnancy, and as soon as your doc approves you to start again. Tums and milk for heartburn. Sciatic pain is sometimes caused by baby sleeping against your nerve. Drink something with sugar/caffeine to make baby move. Meal prep and freeze food before. Allow people to come clean, etc., if they offer. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE EVERY DAY postpartum. IT IS OK if you can’t produce milk/can’t produce enough/choose to not to breastfeed. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Postpartum hormones are a bitch. No joke. They will own you. You will cry for no reason, potentially be depressed and you WILL have days you want to toss your new child out the window and doubt becoming a mom. IT’S OKAY. Just seriously, don’t toss your kid out the window. Ask for help. Talk. Some people will NOT have horrible hormones. You’ll be jealous and mad. It’s okay. Your vag will itch for like 2 weeks while it heals. Every time you pee for a while, you will lose blood clots, normal. Excessive bleeding, not so much. Listen to your body. Do what it tells you. Listen to your doctor. If you don’t like your doctor, get a new one. Ask your friends for pediatrician recommendations at least 2 months in advance, make sure they are accepting new patients and meet them. You are going to feel like you are failing. A lot. But you aren’t.”
I was also asked to talk about postpartum depression, as that seems to still be a topic not talked about a lot. From some of the above comments, it is a very real thing to go into a depressed state, wish harm upon your new child, and even though you have a new baby, hate everything around you. These feelings are normal. There is nothing wrong with you.
In these times, ask for help. Tell someone how you are feeling. Get out of the house, do things for you. You are not only a feeding post for the wrinkly potato you just gave birth too.
Check out this site for more resources if you are still unsure how to get help.
Now I know some people will start with the “creating a child is beautiful, blah blah blah”. And I’m not knocking the process of creating a person inside your body as not beautiful. But people don’t talk about the ugly side of childbirth. I think there is a humility and respect that goes into actually talking about what happens during and after childbirth. Gaining knowledge and admiration for what women go through to produce a child, some effects lasting the rest of her life, gives us yet another reason that women are complete bad asses.
My beautiful sister and niece. Photo cred: Me