So you’re enjoying your pregnancy and maybe a little worried about that last month or two. Or perhaps you’re starting to worry about actually giving birth and if it’s going to be painful. But have you stopped to think about the two weeks postpartum after you give birth? Yeah… probably not.
Your Postpartum Body: What To Expect
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You may be asking yourself, why is she even mentioning that? If you can get through the pregnancy and the birth then you should be golden right? Sorry… but those two weeks after you give birth are what you should worry about the most!
I remember the moment well… about 7 months pregnant and I was having a conversation with one of my closest friends when she suddenly mentioned: “Just wait until after you get home, you’ll feel like you got run over by a semi truck.”
I assumed she meant my lady bits because I’m not dumb… I’m pushing a baby out of there. Of course, I’m going to hurt afterward! Oh no no no… her description was dead on.
(Related Read: Get a Good Nights Sleep with Dream Feeding Your Infant)
For about a 2 week period after I got home with my daughter, every inch of me hurt. My hair hurt, my toes hurt, and everything in between. It literally felt like I’d been hit by a semi-truck. Damn.
The all-over body pain that lasted much longer then I anticipated was only ONE of the things I never knew about! Why don’t people talk about this part? Why didn’t anyone warn me!!!
Well, buckle up my friend! Because I’m about to tell you all about those two weeks after giving birth when you thought a crying baby was your biggest concern.
This isn’t meant to scare you… it’s to help you be prepared. Because I wish I was!
Those Two Weeks After You Give Birth
You’re in the hospital, you made it through the birth, and you’re a bit sore. But you feel ok, and you are so ready to get home and back into your own clothes and your own bed.
The nurse then asks you if you want a prescription for pain meds, and you say you’re ok just taking Motrin.
Now, the first thing no one tells you is that your body is still running off the adrenaline it had for the birthing process. In fact, it can take about 48 hours for that adrenaline to wear off. Often times, you are pushed out of the hospital only a day after giving birth vaginally.
So you tell the nurse you’re fine just taking the Motrin and you actually feel pretty good. BIG MISTAKE! And so starts the worst two weeks of your life…
Oh yes, the pain. The first tip, when someone offers you a prescription for pain meds, TAKE IT! Even if you don’t think you’ll need it.
Better to have it just in case. Because yes, you feel ok in the hospital with all that adrenaline coursing through your body. But when you get home and it wears off… you HURT!
You can’t do anything physically
They give you a packet of instructions in the hospital of what not to do when you get home. I remember reading that I shouldn’t vacuum. Vacuum?!? You don’t lift anything when you vacuum. Why would I not be able to do that?
As my mother so kindly explained it to me… your body had 9 months of rearranging your entire insides to accommodate the necessary room for the baby.
But after the baby comes out, your body only takes a day or two to shift all those organs back. It’s literally like going through major surgery on every one of your organs. Sound like fun, huh?
So when someone tells you to take it easy… please listen and take it easy!
Bonding with baby is tough
You’re sore, you’re tired and emotional… but no time to think about yourself right now! You also have a newborn to take care of.
See Related: I Didn’t Love My Baby At First and That‘s Ok.
A tiny little human that doesn’t smile and shows you no signs of affection. And then starts the mom-guilt because you never realized that bonding with your new infant would be so hard.
You’re Still Fat
I knew I wasn’t going to walk out of the hospital being my pre-baby weight. But what I didn’t expect was walking out of the hospital still looking 9 months pregnant.
I didn’t just look ‘bigger’ I still had a full pregnant stomach. I went to Target 2 weeks after giving birth (with my baby, mind you!) and someone asked me when I was due. Because I still looked pregnant!
Having a belly band on hand after birth will help with this! Not only to look slimmer, but it actually feels so much better to have that compression around your now loose belly.
Trying to pee postpartum is a PROCESS: A long process
No one ever told me that every single time I had to pee (which is quite often those first two weeks) that I would need a bag of supplies with me and it would take a minimum of 20 minutes each time.
Because first, you pee, then you need to rinse off with that squirt bottle. Then you need to apply the creams.
Next comes the cooling witch hazel pads, along with a new giant pad for your underwear… and more. I never knew it would be so much work just to pee.
(You might also be interested in Postpartum Problems: How to Pee Postpartum Without Wanting to Cry)
One reason I figured out why women don’t like to leave the house after birth is because I had an entire backpack of supplies I needed to take with me just in case I had to go to the bathroom somewhere.
It hurt to pee postpartum
Not only did peeing take forever but it freaking hurt! I was one of the lucky ones who tore during my vaginal birth and ended up with stitches.
Every time I peed, it ran down the stitches and burned. Like pouring salt in an open wound burn.
I started holding my urine until I was about to burst, just to avoid having to pee. I tried peeing in a cup so it ran into the cup and not on my stitches.
That didn’t work.
What did finally work (after literally crying and swearing out loud every time I used the bathroom) was putting Neosporin over the stitches before I peed so the urine didn’t touch the wound.
So now there is another thing you add to the process of just trying to go pee!
You are super hormonal postpartum
I cried over everything. I also left my keys hanging in the front door two days in a row and cried my eyes out both times when I found them. Just make sure you have plenty of kleenexes around.
Try reading a book about postpartum hormones, it’ll help to know you’re not alone and get tips on what to do.
You are super dehydrated
This is even truer if you breastfeed. I became addicted to Vitamin Water and bought it by the caseload from Costco.
It became the norm to grab a bottle and chug the entire thing. I’ve never experienced thirst like in those first two weeks. Especially if you breastfeed!
You leak milk everywhere
My milk supply came in really heavy and it was nice being able to feed my daughter and stock up on milk in the freezer. But then what people don’t tell you is that your boobs NEVER shut off.
If I wasn’t feeding or pumping every 2-3 hours, it came anyway. And I’m talking, it just poured out of me. I would wake up at night with a sopping wet bra and shirt and smell like sour milk.
Not to mention just being sticky all over.
So that’s really great if you have a partner who will get up and do night time feeds, or you have a baby that sleeps 6 hours at a time.
Yes indeed, it’s so nice to watch them sleep while you wake up anyway just to pump or you risk waking up in a foul-smelling and sticky mess.
And there’s another reason not to ever leave the house. If you go anywhere for more then 2 hours, pack your pump! Add that to the 5 other bags of crap you have.
*Stock up on a BIG supply of breast pads. I had to stuff multiple pads in my bra at once to soak up all the spilled milk.
And so much more…
Do we even have time to talk about the bloody avalanche going on ‘down there’? Or constipation? Or the abdominal pain and cramping you get those two weeks after giving birth? I think we’ll save all that for another day!
Don’t Worry… You’ll Survive your postpartum experience!
The best thing you can do is make sure you are well prepared for that first couple of weeks postpartum. This Postpartum Essentials Checklist will help make sure you have everything YOU need. Not just what you need for the baby.
Another piece of advice I can give is to get a copy of this book by Jenny McCarthy. Her story of the first year of motherhood tells it how it really is… all those really fun details no one else wants to tell you about! It’s perfect for that moment you realize a crying baby is the easiest part of your day.
In all seriousness, try not to panic. Sometimes it’s just better to be prepared so you know what to expect.
Make it easier on yourself. Accept help, take it easy, plan to be a homebody. And eventually, you will heal and feel great again. Just in time for your little one to start walking… and there starts a whole new adventure in motherhood!
See Related: Breastfeeding Hacks Every New Mom Needs to Know!