Women who are pregnant for the first time are hungry for information about pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum recovery. They’re relentless scavengers of information, devouring books, posts, and pins, their appetite for knowledge as strong as the craving for human flesh by the man-eating lions of Tsavo. Unfortunately, most information available is generic, repetitive, or far too sugar-coated to be worth a damn, revealing none of the open and honest nitty-gritty they are craving. Lucky for those on the information hunt, I’m a tell-it-like-it-is kind of girl and I don’t hold back on the good stuff. If you stumbled across this on accident, it is possible that this kind of post may give you anxiety and fear and an intense desire to never have children (especially if you don’t read all the way to the end). Either way, I’m a believer that honesty is the best policy when it comes to postpartum preparedness. So, here we go, researching beasts, this post is for you.
1. You will sweat (a lot) from weird places. No matter how much weight you gain during your pregnancy, some of that weight is water weight. After delivery, that water starts to seep out of you, and it could seep from anywhere. Your eyelids, your hands, your kneecaps. After the birth of my first child, I lost approximately five pounds of water during a brisk walk around the grocery store, solely through the bottoms of my feet. You will feel the water draining out of you in the most disconcerting way, picture more of a roaring waterfall opposed to dewdrops glistening on delicate leaves.
2. You will be able to see and feel logs of shit through your paper-thin abs. After my first child I remember doing a bit of yoga, bridge pose to be exact, and thinking, “What the hell is going on with my stomach? Do I have some sort of hernia? Hemorrhage? Did some part of my body get out of place?” But, no. It was just a hunk of shit moving through my bowels, and I could SEE IT through my non-existent ab muscles. Horrifying.
3. You will be so excited to take a crap (after that first scary one). Okay, so as appalling as it may be to basically see your bowel movements before you can feel any indication that you need to expel them, after nine months of constipation, the ability to take a normal crap will make you ECSTATIC. For months after birth, you will give yourself a little mental high-five after sitting on the throne and taking a shit. The bigger the better, again, after first scary one, but just go ahead and get that one out of the way and then ahhhhhhhh. Heaven is the absence of digestive distress.
4. You will discover that your fat has stretched out. And fat doesn’t exactly bounce back like your abs eventually do. If you’re like me, someone with an overall healthy lifestyle, full of exercise and fitness, but also full of friends and fun (both of which often involve NACHOS and WINE) and no desire to go to extreme lengths to become the most fit mom on the planet, you will find that you have developed a poochy stretched out bit on your lower belly. I found this to be true after my first, and found it to be OH-SO-MUCH-MORE-THE-TRUTH after my second.
5. Your vagina might feel like it is collapsing in on itself and/or falling out. Yes, it is possible to feel like your vagina is going to fall out of your vagina. This informational gem is strategically placed in the middle of the list, kind of like how FIVE, GOLDEN RINGS! is situated in the middle of The Twelve Days of Christmas. It’s the highlight, clearly the important one, and it is iterated with a distinctively different tone than the rest of the song. You will have no idea what this means or how it could possibly be true unless you have birthed a child (okay, full disclosure – you may feel this way just solely from being pregnant with a child). I remember hearing from a few sources how they “couldn’t wear tampons” after they had given birth. Naive me said, “Huh?” and scratched my head. Wiser, post-childbirth me said, “Ooooh” and nodded in understanding (whilst doing kegels).
6. You will develop pancake boobs. Your breasts get larger during pregnancy and afterwards that boob fat makes good on the promise I gave in number four. It doesn’t matter if you breastfeed or formula feed, pregnancy itself makes your boobs less perky. You’ll want to invest in a bra with some lift.
7. You might not be able to have sex or sit on a bicycle for longer than you think. At your six-week postpartum visit, when your doctor tells you how great you’re healing up, and gives you the go-ahead for sex and exercise, know that a lot of what they are examining is your vaginal muscle tissue. However, you may continue to have pain in your pelvic/public/tail bone area(s) long after any tearing or stretching has mostly healed up. Wowza. The pelvic bones are kind of important and hard to ignore. It took me a full year after baby number one was born to be able to go for a jog without experiencing any pelvic pain for the twenty-four hours immediately following the workout.
8. You will not care about getting shit on, getting pissed or getting puked on. What used to seem disgusting when it happened to other people suddenly becomes no big deal. Your kid shits all over his or her crib and you are covered in feces after cleaning it up? You will not care. Your child spits up all over your hair and sweater three seconds before you are supposed to walk out the door to go to work? You will not care (and you won’t change, you’ll just rub it in). Your kid pees on you? Of all the substances, that one is the most benign. It’s basically just baby flavored water! You really will not care. You will care only that your child is clean and taken care of. I’m not being sarcastic here.
9. You will pee on yourself at least once. When you sneeze. When you cough. When you wait to long to go because you’re taking care of the baby. You may have experienced some of this during pregnancy, but it is important to be aware that it does not go away just because your child is no longer punching or head-butting your bladder. I’ll be honest, this is much more disgusting than the baby pee you didn’t care about.
10. There will be something more disgusting than what I mentioned here. What it is will depend on your body, and your birth story, and your comfort level when it comes to disgusting things. Maybe you will shit the bed the day after giving birth, maybe you will wake up soaked in your own breast milk night after night, maybe your breasts will be so uncomfortably engorged you will stuff chilled cabbage leaves in your bra to reduce the swelling. You will very likely be embarrassed and feel like you are the ONLY ONE who had to deal with whatever this disgusting thing is, but I assure you, you are NOT ALONE.
Are you still here? Those who got scared and didn’t finish reading miss out on the best part, and that is: Don’t worry, ladies. Our bodies are amazingly resilient and things go back to how they were before. Ish. For most of us, any small changes that remain with us forever are really no big deal. You tend to not give a damn about your husk, when your heart and soul have doubled in size and made you happier than you ever thought possible. Disgusting realities be damned, it really is true when people say that it is all worth it in the end. Some of the anti-saps reading this may find THIS truth to be the most disgusting part of the whole post.
If you liked this post you may also like A Comprehensive Pre-Pregnancy To-Do List and 10 Things Pregnant Women Do Not Want to Hear Coming Out of Your Mouth