When you are 8 months pregnant, and you are about to become a first time mom, there are so many things that you think you are prepared for. I was one of those moms who had read up on nearly every single thing I came across that had to do with pregnancy, labor and delivery and the first few months of my child’s life. I thought I was prepared for anything, but came to find out I was so wrong.
Here is a list of some things no book, app or friend prepared me for after having a baby.
1. Baby Blues: I didn’t have baby blues after I had my son, but after I had my daughter, I had them badly. All I did was cry for the first two weeks of her life. There wasn’t a specific thing that made me cry, it was just constant. I’d wake up and cry, and I would fall asleep crying. I felt an immense amount of stress and was extremely overwhelmed. It felt like PMS on steroids. In addition to crying, I was easily annoyed. My husband annoyed me, even when he was trying to do something to help. It was something I couldn’t control, but luckily it only lasted a couple of weeks. I did some research on this matter and asked some of my mom friends if they experienced this and I came to find out it is perfectly normal to have the first couple of weeks. If it lasts longer though, or becomes unbearable, that can be signs of PPD and is something you should talk to you OB about right away!
2. Post Partum Hair Loss: I knew it was very likely that I would lose some of my hair after giving birth, but I had so idea how much hair I would lose. I also thought that it was something that happened shortly after having my baby, but it turns out it usually happens 2-4 months after giving birth. After having my son, I started losing my hair around 3 months postpartum. With my daughter, I still had my beautiful pregnancy hair after 3 months so I thought maybe I wouldn’t lose it this time, but low and behold just after she turned 4 months old, I started shedding like a husky in spring. RIP luscious locks.
3. Nesting can continue after having the baby: At least in my experience it did. The first few weeks of my sons life, I still had the nesting instinct and spent late nights cleaning the living room and nursery. My adrenaline was still pretty high because I was just so happy to finally be a mom that I didn’t sleep well, so I cleaned the living room, which is where we spent most of our day. I didn’t have this instinct as strongly after having my daughter though but I think that is because I was over exhausted from having two babies less than a year apart.
4. Post partum anxiety is a thing: I had never heard of it until after I had my kids. I knew that some women get depressed, but the whole anxiety thing was new to me. After having my son, I would be terrified to hold him while walking. I would have visions of dropping him, or a bookshelf falling on him, etc. I was terrified that something was going to happen to him. After I had my daughter it was even worse because she spent almost 2 weeks in the PICU for RSV when she was 9 days old. I was worried about her, but I would still have visions about my son getting hurt too. One time I was in the shower at my parents, and I kept thinking that my mom was going to be pounding on the bathroom door telling me my son was choking.
5. Your pelvic floor most likely will not be the same again: My second pregnancy was rough. Not only did I have horrible morning sickness, but every time I threw up, I also peed my pants. Same went for coughing and sneezing. After having my daughter, I found it hard to make it to the bathroom in time the first week or two. I remember one night standing in the hallway in the middle of the night and my step son asking me what was wrong, as I was standing there covering up with a towel because I had just soaked my pajamas. DO YOUR KEAGLES, LADIES!
6. It is okay if you don’t feel an immediate connection- And it is common: When I had both of my babies, it was absolute love at first sight. But they both had fluid in their lungs from quick deliveries and had to be taken to the special care nursery a couple minutes after their APGAR’S were taken. I didn’t get to do skin to skin with either of them, and I only got to hold them for a minute or two before they were taken away. I waited a little while before visiting either of them ( due to my epidural, my exhaustion as well as the fact the nurses had to get them into a bed, an IV, etc.) I didn’t get to experience the immediate bonding…and honestly I wasn’t too upset about it. My son was an IVF baby and his baby sister was a spontaneous miracle. We were both SO happy to have brand new babies in our lives, but I didn’t feel the immediate connection with them that I always pictured I would have.
7. Boy mamas- there are things you must do when you change your sons diaper: So this little tip is something that took me a couple of weeks, and lots of wet onesies to find out. When you change your sons diaper, make sure that his privates are pointing down when you put the new diaper on. If it is pointed up, and you put the new diaper on, he will pee his onesie every time. I honestly thought he had the wrong size diaper, or a bad brand for a long time, until my friend asked me if it was pointed down. Once I fixed that, we went through a lot less laundry!
8. Stretch marks can appear AFTER giving birth: I was SO happy that I did not get any stretch marks while I was pregnant with my son, other than a few on my hips and thighs. I was grateful that my tummy remained stretch mark free. That is until AFTER I had him! I went into the hospital with no stretch marks, and came home with a belly full of them.
9. Breastfeeding may not come as easily as you thought it would: Some women are masters at breastfeeding. Baby latches, mom produces enough and they have a wonderful bond. But sometimes the baby doesn’t latch, and sometimes mom under produces ( both were my case) and that can be really hard on you emotionally. I thought I was going to exclusively breastfeed my son until he was 1, but he wasn’t latching at the hospital, even with the lactation consultants help, and we ended up giving him formula. It was more important to me to have a healthy baby coming home with me than to continue to hold off on feeding while we tried to figure out his latching issues. We continued to try at home, but nothing worked. I pumped, but did not produce enough at all, so after a few weeks, I stopped. It was mentally weighing on me, I felt like a failure and between bottle feeding him, and pumping I wasn’t getting any time to do anything else. I decided that fed is best, and once I packed up the pump I felt so much better. We still had an amazing bond ( He is 16 months now and is a total mamas boy) and I don’t think we missed out on any bonding by not breastfeeding. Plus my husband was able to help with late night feedings!
10. Parenting is hard: You see pictures of mom bloggers on Instagram, and social media where everything looks picture perfect. Mom is smiling, babies are happy, and the sun is shining through the window, illuminating a perfectly clean living room. It’s not always like that, people! There are days where everything feels like an absolute sh*t show, literally, and figuratively. Babies cry, post partum recovery is hard physically and emotionally, and there are days where you will most likely feel like a complete failure. But it is completely normal. No matter how hard it may seem, you’re doing a good job, mama. Don’t compare yourself to the staged happiness you see on social media, because I promise you, it is not like that 24/7 for anybody. You will have your good times, and you will have your bad- but the love you have for your baby and the love that they show back outweighs any of the tough times.
What were some things you didn’t expect after having a baby?