Warning: If you are a first time pregnant momma proceed with caution! Many laughs, big eyes and “is she serious? No, she can’t be serious” is sure to follow.
Alright, ladies, it’s time for a serious and frank discussion about the topic NOBODY wants to talk about….post partum stuff. It seems like in today’s society of “who has the best instagram” and “who can bounce back the fastest after popping out a kid” we have forgotten to be completely real and honest about what the “journey after baby” really is all about. It is time to stop hiding behind our spanx, belly bandits (yea we’re all guilty) and ‘from the neck up’ pictures and start embracing the fact that what happens after pregnancy and birth is normal and that if you look like Angelina Jolie when you leave the hospital….that’s just not normal. (Yup, I said it)
So lets peel off the layers of the endless filters and see what 99.9% of women experience and go through after having a baby, or two, or three.
1) Your belly. This seems to be the biggest mystery when you are pregnant for the first time…so we will get this out of the way first. I remember with my first pregnancy I seriously thought my belly would bounce right back to it’s place and voila no harm done. What I didn’t prepare myself for was the first moment I saw my belly after birth. Ummm….was I in for a surprise of a lifetime. A lot of people refer to the immediate post partum belly as a bowl full of jello. This really isn’t far off except I think it’s more like a bowl full of jello that someone has taken a fork to and a few bites. It jiggles until you giggle, moves around like a pan full of soapy water and it feels like a squishy peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Now don’t get me wrong…..the whole thing is rather comical….probably because you’re delirious from no sleep and overwhelmed with seeing your baby for the first time. Truth be told you’re so smitten with the whole ordeal you don’t care much about it until a couple weeks later. Many women swear by the belly bandits and corsets and all other things….I swear by whatever makes you feel better physically and mentally. There will be enough things to worry about without being distracted by the carved jello that sits on your belly.
Good news is that your belly will bounce back to some sort of recognizable existence. If you have great genetics and worked out a lot during pregnancy you’ll be back into your skinny jeans in no time flat. For those who didn’t (yup, my hand is raised) then it’s going to take a lot more work and dedication, However, even the Heidi Klums of the world will still have a different belly after kids and ya know what? WHO CARES?!?!? YOU MADE A HUMAN BEING!!! So love your belly full of jelly and walk around like superwoman….cause you are!
2) The boobage. Enjoy the girls while you can because once that sweet chubby things enters your existence they are no longer yours. Breastfeeding is hard, hard, hard, hard, hard, hard and more hard. You would think it would be the easiest and most natural thing in the world but it’s really not. Especially if you haven’t done it before. If you go in thinking it’s a breeze it is sure to be the worst thing in the world so my advice….expect it to be difficult and it will likely be easier. Breastfeeding was completely different with all three of my boys. They each did it differently, had their own preferences, their own demands and with my third it just didn’t work out like I had hoped. DON’T beat yourself up, DON’T get discouraged, and DON’T feel like a failure if it just doesn’t click. Give it some time and your best shot and then decide how to move forward if it just isn’t working. If your plan is to breastfeed then bet on going through bras and shirts at a rapid pace, several times a day….have a lifetime supply of lanolin cream cause, girl, you’re gonna be hurting and not in a good way….and lastly, warn those around you when you whip those puppies out cause you may just be squirting milk across the room if you’re not careful.
Other than that breastfeeding is really glorious and I’m a huge fan and I encourage EVERYONE who can to give it a go!!
3) Your skin. So we all know that with age and hormonal changes our skin changes and goes through different phases. Unless you are blessed with the skin of gods than you know what I’m talking about. Pregnancy in and of itself often brings with it different skin issues from your face down to your feet. Some get extra oily, others really dry. My skin changed differently with all three of my pregnancies as well…..joyful! With this last pregnancy I have ended up with a dryer complexion (after 26 years of oily) and still have some lingering red patches on my cheeks from pregnancy. Will these go away? Perhaps. Will they stay? Most likely. My point is don’t get too freaked if all those products you have in your bathroom stop working after your baby arrives. Those bags and dark circles are going to be permanent for a few
decades months so don’t even worry about those. Instead invest in some good products that alleviate whatever skin you have after baby so that you feel better and don’t do further harm by slathering products that are no longer appropriate. Once all the hormones are back to normal and things have healed you may go back to the skin you had previously. However, in my own experience and in talking to other moms….permanent changes evolved after baby.
4) Your hair. Okay, so don’t get freaked out but you may or may not wake up and see small clumps of hair on your pillow, or you may brush through and feel like half your head has come with it. Post-Partum baldness is NORMAL and happens to MOST women. We are so attached to our hair that this really can be traumatic. I remember when this happened to me I literally almost had an anxiety attack. You will probably only notice it around the hairline where our hair is thinner there so don’t think you’ll have bald patches all over your head. However, you will likely lose some gloss and thickness you loved so much when pregnant. Again, like your skin, adjust some products and be good to your hair. I know the last thing you have time for with a newborn is beauty time….but a coconut oil mask once a week and putting the inevitable ponytail in different places throughout the week will help keep your hair where it needs to be.
(Pardon the random splotches on my face in this photo. There seems to be a weird glare from my light.)
5) The attention. This funny thing happens when you announce your pregnancy. People from all over the place seem to want to touch, caress, ask questions and supply you with an endless amount of attention. This is mostly great when you’re pregnant….except towards the end the “is the baby here yet” questions can be enough to drive you off a cliff. However, you can use pregnancy as an excuse for an extra foot rub, an extra long bath, an afternoon nap and pretty much anything else you need. A funny thing happens when your baby pops out……no one really cares about you anymore. I mean they care about you but you’re just a segway to that precious bundle of joy you’re losing sleep over. No one seems to notice the dark purple circles and bags under your eyes, or the fact that you have worn the same sweatpants 4 days in a row and have spit up dripping out of your hair. Nope….long gone are the offers for starbucks errands and foot rubs. This is certainly not a bad thing since you will also be as equally obsessed with your little one and let’s be honest….clean sweatpants are overrated! 😉 My advice is this…don’t get upset when you seem to have been forgotten about in those first few weeks. No one is intentionally ignoring you and behind your back they are doing nothing but talking about what an amazing woman you are to have given birth to such a beautiful baby. You’ll have to forgive them for being so blinded by the magnificent creature YOU made that their eyes have gone blind and ears have gone deaf to that creature’s momma. Instead just ask for help and don’t be afraid to do just that. As women we think we are supposed to do EVERYTHING on our own. Call your mom drop the baby in her lap and say, “I’m going to take a hot shower, blow out my hair, apply mascara, paint my toenails and take a nap….in that order. Don’t bother me!” Trust me…..Gma will be happy to have a couple of hours alone with her new grand baby. The spoiling has to start sometime.
6) NEW MOMS listen up!! You are going to have moments in those first couple months,
years, decades that you will ask yourself, “What have I done?” You’re baby will be crying for a reason you can’t soothe, you’ll be dead from exhaustion on you’re feet, milk will be leaking from your breasts and your husband will pick that exact moment to ask, “What’s for dinner?” In this moment you will honestly want to kill him and likely burst into tears. Again, perfectly normal. Any mom who says they haven’t had a meltdown moment is lying through their teeth. We all have them not just in those first few weeks but mostly in every stage of our children growing up. Being a PARENT is HARD and it’s okay to need a break sometimes. It’s okay to have those fleeting feelings of throwing in the towel (because you won’t) or daydreaming of your baby-less days (cause you really don’t want those back anyway) or envisioning that one time you were in a bikini with perfect hair, perfect abs and the sun shining on your face (cause that girl didn’t quite know what life was all about until she became a mom.) At the end of the day, good or bad, high or low, we kiss our kid(s) goodnight and our heart swells with so much love we literally forget all the reasons we were overwhelmed in the first place. We leave them in their cribs and start to miss them 3 minutes later so we spend our “adult” time flipping through pictures on our iPhones. We go on a date (Cause we need a break) and then just talk about our babies the whole entire time. We just can’t help it. So don’t ever feel guilty for thinking these things and realize that it’s perfectly healthy and a sign that you’re a dedicated mommy not a psychiatric patient.
After, I have thoroughly put a spotlight on all these “not so fun” things… let me close with this. I would NEVER trade ANY of these things for a day without my kids. Having children truly changes your whole entire life and all for the better. You will never know the love you’re capable of until you have a little person who steals your heart and depends on you all in the same instant. My children are and will ALWAYS be my biggest accomplishment as long as I live. So at the end of the day that overflowing heart of yours makes up for all the little annoyances I listed above. You will be a great mom…You are a great mom….and You will always be a great mom! Keep you chin up, your heart full, and your mascara handy! 😉