I hope you all had a good night sleep and are ready for the weekend! I actually had a really good night, Liam slept almost 9 hours straight so I really can´t complain. He is now 3,5 months old and I have to say I am feeling really well. It wasn´t always like this though.
A lot has happened during the first few weeks after I gave birth, most of which I somehow didn´t expect. So here I go sharing with you my top 5 things you (might) go through right after getting a baby that you might not know about just yet.
But hey, don´t worry, there is nothing a woman can´t do, and post-partum is not so bad after all. Our bodies and souls get back to normal faster than you would think, and all of a sudden we feel stronger and empowered, because there is just so much a woman can do!
*** Note: I had a natual birth, I have no idea what happens in the weeks following a C-section **
- You don´t magically lose your pregnancy weight (and your baby bump) right after giving birth
If you thought all those pounds you put on during those hard but beautiful 9 pregnany months would just go away the moment you see your bundle of joy, rethink. It is definitely not true, at least for most of us it isn´t.
Right after giving birth you lose the weight of the baby, the placenta, some water and some blood. Now, depending on how much you have put on during pregnancy, this could be about a third of the total extra pounds you have gained. For me it was unfortunately only a fourth of my plus weight (I did gain a whooooole lot though!). This means you will probably look like someone in her 5th pregnancy month, meaning that the maternity pants you bought may still serve their purpose. So do not throw them away the moment you check into hospital for delivery! AND remember to get very comfy pants (and panties) with you to the hospital.
Whilst you might be disappointed by the way you look, you won´t really have time to think about it. The joy of finally having your baby overweighs everything else for sure!
Also, don´t worry! The rest will also slowly (but surely) disappear with time. I still, for example, have only 800grams left to shake off, which is not much at all (given I had put on 21Kg!). It might be a tough road at times, but be reassured, everything does get better, and all those beautiful clothes hanging in your wardrobe will soon enough fit again!
2. Your (natural) birth wounds do not heal overnight
The pain that comes with natural birth is forgotten the moment you see your little bundle of joy; however there is one or the other thing you might experience right after! I had third degree wounds and at the beginning I could feel pretty much all the stiches I got, which made the whole process of going to the toilette a little scary. Fortunately it was not as bad as I thought it would be, just remember to always use warm (not hot) water right after peeing (it really works magic, I promise), and at the beginning use suppositories (they should give you some at the hospital) if you need to go to the toilette for something else.
I know, this sounds a little gross, but it is the bold truth: you want to avoid haemorrhoids and ease pain (so this is the perfect solution for both). I am sorry this is a little too bold for some of you, but I believe it is important to speak about it! It is also important to mention that you should not use any toiletry articles if you are still bleeding, just use hot water!
I fortunately did all of this right away and had no problems in the healing process, it just all took its time and its course.
3. You might bleed for 6 weeks straight
Yup, you heard that well. Ladies, not having your period for 9 months straight was pretty cool yes, but it all comes back at you at once (but it stops again if you nurse). Just think about it, your body needs to get rid of all that little extra you piled up during pregnancy, the uterus needs to get back to its natural size and shape, and your organs need to get back into the right place and position. While all of this happens, your body naturally gets rid of all the extra and it goes through a well deserved healing process. The bleeding is quite strong at first (so you will need specific sanitary pads at first, I needed those for about 2 weeks, maybe a little less) but it lessen with time, before it stops completely at week 6 the latest. I think I was done by the end of week 4 or 5. At the end is not as bad, it just feels like the last day of your period and normal pads will definitely do.
Again, this might be a gross and very explicit topic, but it is important that we talk about it and share our experience, this is part of a process and it is part of education. Don´t forget to visit your doctor 6 to 8 weeks after giving birth, just to make sure everything is really ok!
4. Breasfeeding is not easy and it takes time to get it right
Whilst it is ok if you decide not to breasfeed and use formula instead (I respect all opinions and decisions), I believe there is nothing better for a child than drinking his mother´s milk. I was told by all the doctors I have seen that it contains vitamins which formula cannot replace, it builds antibodies, and (let´s be honest) it helps the natural healing process of the mother (as well as it helps you lose weight if you do not over-eat of course, the production of milk consumes at least 200 Kcal a day I was told !).
At first it will take (a lol of ) time! I don´t feel like I am ready to share my experience about this with everyone just yet, but I promise breastfeeding took a lot of effort. I even got sick, but fortunately it all went well. Even then, I didn´t stop nursing. After a very long 6 weeks, my baby boy has learnt how to eat properly and did not need any additional food through bottles. If you are facing problems, I promise it gets better. Just stay at it and don´t give up! My doctor adviced me to nurse at least till Liam is 6months old, I am planning to do it until he is 1 (unless something comes in between). We will start giving him food other than milk after he is 5 months and we will see how things will change.
This is a beautiful experience, it is a bond you get to experience only once with your child. Do not miss it if you can, even if at the beginning you might bleed, get milk clogs, and/or get fever. Trust me, it all goes away!
5. Diastasis Recti (or abdominal separation)
This is a condition a lot of woman (including me) have right after giving birth. As your uterus grows, a gap caused by its stretching forms between your abdominal muscles. Let your care provider advice you on what you can do to reduce this gap and to make sure your muscles get into the right place again. I personally did some pelvic excercises and followed all the instructions I was given. Also, I started a 10 weeks post partum rehab program which is really good for my waistline as well.
I now don´t have diastasis recti anymore and can luckily do all sort of physical activities again.
So that was it from my side on this topic for now! As I said, all of the above are just temporary conditions, but it is very important to talk about them and share our experiences with one another.
Let me know what you think in the comments below, or else you can write me an E-mail 😉