You don’t always hear about what happens after the delivery. Everyone is always so interested in your “labour and delivery story” and the conversation usually ends at that. I am here to talk to you about what happens after you’ve birthed your precious little miracle and my personal postpartum experience.
- I fainted. One piece of advice I wish I listened to was to eat in between my contractions. I was in too much pain to think about food even though I was hungry. I was running on 12+ hours of no food and only water by the time I delivered Kinzah, which is why I fainted soon after the delivery…as I was using the bathroom! Luckily my mom was with me and was able to get help from the nurse…eventually. (My mom was frantically pressing the help button and apparently the nurse thought it was a mistake and ignored it, until my sisters heard my mom yelling in the bathroom and ran to the nurse. Be prepared to deal with both good and bad nurses!)
- I needed help in the shower. I didn’t realize how fragile my body would feel after the delivery. I felt very weak and was afraid of being in the bathroom alone in case I needed any help. I used a chair to sit on while showering for the first three days and had my mom or husband help me with washing my hair and scrubbing my body.
- Constipation. Like you’ve never experienced before. Stock up on your stool softeners and prune juice. I’m just going to leave this one here.
- I wasn’t prepared for the “mommy pooch”. I have always been very petite. I never really struggled with body image and in fact needed to gain weight instead of lose. I think this is mainly why I didn’t mind my pregnancy body. I have always loved pregnant women and think they are absolutely adorable. I actually very much enjoyed being pregnant and would joke that I wish I could always have this belly because I thought it was just so cute and truly loved the way my body looked with little Kinzah bundled up inside. What I didn’t find cute however, was the deflated, saggy, cottage cheese textured belly I was left with. I know some of my good friends are reading this and rolling their eyes because to them, I didn’t look like I had a mom pooch, but they didn’t see what was hidden under the layers of clothing. No matter how big or small your postpartum belly is, it is still something the new mom needs to get used, accept and appreciate! Yes appreciate. This is where you housed and nurtured your little peanut for 9 months. And although you’re still left with a belly and a bunch of stretch marks after giving birth, I try to remind myself of everything my body went through, and is still going through and it truly is a miracle. It’s not easy though, and I still have days where I am bothered by it, even now…Kinzah is 16 months old! It does naturally get smaller over time and there are many girdles and bands out there that help, but I think staying active and eating healthy is key to toning your mommy belly.
- It was painful to walk. I had minor tearing while delivering which resulted in four stitches that left my under area feeling very tender as you can imagine. Something as simple as walking was painful and I had to be careful with every movement. I felt sore most of the time and walked pretty slowly for the first two weeks or so.
- I wasn’t prepared for the baby blues. I never thought I would get affected by the baby blues especially knowing that I was surrounded by my family and had all the help I could imagine, but I guess no one is immune to the drastic hormone changes your body goes through after giving birth. I felt very lonely at times, despite everyone around me. I felt like I was a bad mom for not thinking that my daughter was the most beautiful baby in the world when I first saw her. I felt like I wasn’t doing a good job especially when Kinzah was having trouble latching on while nursing. I felt guilty for not feeling that unconditional love at first sight. That love that makes you take a bullet for your child, yeah that doesn’t always come instantly. I felt scared about my daughter’s future and things I can’t control. I felt scared about my own life, and started to value my life more than I ever did before so that I can always be there for my daughter. Alhamdillah, I am very grateful that this phase didn’t last long and I did not fall into postpartum depression (which is very different than postpartum (baby) blues). I can only imagine how hard it is for moms who have.
- Breastfeeding. I never thought I would enjoy breastfeeding as much as I did, but it didn’t happen over night. It was a very tough and tiring process, but once you get the hang of it, it does get easier with time and as your baby grows. Kinzah had a hard time latching on so I needed to use a nipple shield and I also visited a lactation consultant who observed me nurse and helped me where needed. I’m not going to lie, this made me feel like I wasn’t doing a good job as a mom, but I quickly realized that asking for help is what makes you a good mom. If I hadn’t taken advantage of these resources, I don’t think my nursing journey would have been as successful as it ended up being. Nursing takes time, a lot of time. I found that my days were planned around my daughter’s nursing schedule. It felt inconvenient at times like when Kinzah would cry her head off in the middle of the mall and I had to drop everything find a place to sit and feed her. It took me a while to get comfortable with breastfeeding in public, because even with a nursing cover you’re still going to get some stares and disapproving glares. I would sometimes opt to sit in the car and nurse her just to avoid people’s looks. It gets exhausting, and who wouldn’t be when you have to wake up every 2-3 hours in the middle of the night to feed a crying baby? You feel lonely and your mind starts to wander to far off places… but hang in there mama because it does get easier, one day at a time, and it is so worth it!