The lead up to your due date is about as full-on as life can get (pre-baby that is!). There is just so much to wrap your novice head around. Getting used to the constant changes that your body is going through. Trying to find a home that is suitable to live in and then trying to make that home as child-friendly as possible. Attending the local prenatal class every Wednesday night, which goes on until 10 pm and takes place in a church that is either too hot or too cold, while a voice at the back of your head reminds you of the fact it could be your body temperature that is fluctuating instead. Reading as many baby books as your brain will digest as you do everything in your might to get ready for the arrival of your baby. Knowing what exercises are good for you and why. Organizing a baby shower. Like we said, it is a pretty full-on time. Luckily, the support is there, as is access to all the information you could shake a diaper at; information about what is happening to you and information about what you can expect at the birth.
But what about afterward.
Yes, you know you are going to have a baby that will require some serious looking after. But what about you? What about your life? How come all that detailed stuff about what to expect has suddenly stopped? It’s bizarre, right, how all the focus suddenly shifts to the newborn when there is so much more you want to know about you as well.
Luckily for you (or not so luckily depending on how you look at it), we have come up with a list of things that no one tells you about after you’ve given birth. Yeah. The happily ever is still definitely going to happen, there are just a few scenes you may not have expected, that’s all.
1. There Could Be A LOT OF CRYING. A LOT.
Everything about pregnancy and life after pregnancy is unique. What happens to you may not happen to someone else (as that film What to Expect When You Are Expecting so astutely portrays). So while some moms may be lucky enough to avoid the hormonal roller coaster during their trip to Baby Adventure land, you may well. Postpartum depression is utterly horrendous. But what is worse than the burst fire hydrant water works is the fact you may not be aware of how hard you have been affected by it. That’s why it is so important you listen to those around you, those that know you really well, and those that will be able to recognize whether you are completely losing it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about; it is a totally common side-effect of life after birth. The best thing you can do is see your doctor and get their advice. Being miserable isn’t going to make anybody happy, so make sure you get help if you need it.
2. Don’t Worry, Every New Mum Has That Heavy Period
This is something you really need to be aware of and prepared for. That’s because almost every single new mom has to endure the postpartum period which, totally unfortunately, involves a lot of bleeding. It doesn’t matter what type of birth you went through, this happens. If you really want to find out more about it then we recommend you speak to your midwife, or get your partner to head to the library, and ask about lochia. That’s what this is called. To give you a little overview, this level of bleeding can last anywhere from two to six weeks, so you’ll really want to get a load of massive, ginormous and scarily big sanitary pads, and then invest in whichever company makes them. Tampons are not advised during this time.
3. Your Contraception Options After Birth
We know, contraception is probably going to be the very last thing on your mind after you have given birth. You’re more likely to think about Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History Of Time than you are about contraception, but it is something that you need to know about nonetheless, especially if you want to delay or avoid another pregnancy. You may have just spat your tea over yourself a little bit because you aren’t going to be having any sex anytime soon but, the reality is, most unplanned pregnancies happen in the first three-months after birth. The one we would tell you to avoid at all costs (we’re talking about contraception again) is Essure, which has so many harmful side-effects you can actually get an attorney that specializes in help after an accident. Contraception that we do recommend, however, which can be used right after birth, are condoms, implant, and the progestogen-only pill. Anything else and you should check with your doctor about how long to wait before you start using it.
4. You Could Start To Feel Really Hot
Unfortunately, we’re not talking about feeling sexy. It is very rare that a woman gives birth and then struts down the street feeling like she’s Bridget Bardot or Kim Kardashian. No. We’re talking about the kind of hot that tends to be synonymous with sweating, panting and just generally feeling gross. If you want to know where to send your thank you letter to, address to PO Box Your Hormones. Yeah. Your hormones can continue to play with your body temperature after giving birth, giving you hot flashes when you least expect it (or want it for that matter). Don’t worry, though, this is totally common. It is also fine to feel disgusting. You aren’t, as these celebs will tell you. You are a miracle-maker. Literally. You just created life and that the eighteen pounds of extra body fat is part of that. Give it six weeks and you won’t give a damn about your post-miracle body. But if you do, just remember the miracle you are.
We know that we haven’t exactly painted the prettiest of pictures for you and that we may well have just ruined your day a little bit because you had started to count down the days until all of this pregnancy stuff was out of the way. The good news is, these things don’t happen to everybody. We just wanted to forewarn you that they could happen, not that you’ll care too much because your whole life will be occupied by the need to look after that new little someone in your life; your everything. But if you do start to get down by the side-effects, please do remember what we said in the bit above: this isn’t a post-baby body, it is a post-miracle one.