Thursday, 5 March 2015

6 things that surprised me after having a baby

after you have a baby
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I read all the pregnancy and birth books, went to the antenatal classes and got all the stuff I needed for when I had my baby. I didn’t think I could be more prepared. But I was wrong. When I brought my baby home, a few things took me by surprise in those early weeks.
While I imagined hours of cuddles and relaxing feeds and long walks during the day, this wasn’t all I got. Looking back, I realise that none of my reading back then covered what would happen to me after the pregnancy. Sure, I had my birth plan done and the nursery was ready. But I was NOT prepared for what would happen to my body after it was done with being pregnant.

Here are 6 things that took me by surprise after having a baby:

1. Whose boobs are these?!? They got bigger during pregnancy, but wow, when my milk came in, they were massive. And no, not in a sexy way. More like a cow with giant udders.  And they were painful! Think really hard, really lumpy, really sore. And while my baby and I got used to feeding. It. Hurt. I'm talking knives-under-skin-type pain that made me grit my teeth. 
after you have a baby
 2. Downstairs. Without going into too much detail, let's just say I was pretty battered and bruised down there after the birth ordeal. And there were stitches. This pretty much scarpered my vision of long walks with my baby in the first few weeks. And sex? Forget about it. It took me weeks months to go back there again. Also, I bled for weeks. They told me to have a few packs of maternity pads handy, not to buy out the local Coles in pads and liners.
3. Pelvic floor. There’s a reason why they get you doing all those kegel exercises while you’re pregnant. Things change down there. There’s stretching. And straining. Find the pelvic floor lifting and squeezing too boring to bother with? Yeah, I did too. Boy, did I get a nasty surprise when I started playing netball again. Think of all that jumping and throwing. My bladder. Couldn’t. Handle. It.
after you have a baby
 4.  Sleep deprivation. People told me what I was in for. But I just shrugged and thought, ‘I get up a couple of times a night for the toilet as it is. How different is it going to be?’  Oh, how little I knew. The first 9 months with each baby I’ve had has thrown the book at me in terms of sleep deprivation. It's been used as torture for a reason. The term, 'I feel like I've been hit by a truck' was designed  for sleep-deprived mothers. You'll see.
5.  Brain mush. They call it 'baby brain', which I always thought was time specific. Meaning that once baby arrived, I could have my brain back. But my brain has never been the same since I first got pregnant. Nowadays, I regularly struggle to finish sentences and quite often lose track altogether of what’s been said. My memory cannot be trusted. I'd make a terrible eye-witness. I used to read gripping, wordy novels that stretched my mind and tested my attention span. Now I exclusively read chick lit (not that there's anything wrong with that).
after you have a baby
6. Crazy hair loss. Apparently, because your hair becomes so thick and lustrous during pregnancy, it starts falling out once you're not anymore. I never really noticed my hair becoming that thick, so I was pretty horrified at the amounts that fell out in the months following the birth. And it would turn up everywhere - on the walls, in food, in my baby's mouth. I have friends that developed bald spots after losing so much hair. I knew it was getting to be an issue for me when my hairdresser whispered that I was getting a bit too thin in the front to carry off the fringe I was hoping for....
You've been warned.  Not everything is rosy after you have a baby.  But it is pretty awesome. I mean, you just made a baby. Congratulations! Just don't forget your kegels. You don't want to be like me, clinging on to your pelvic floor for dear life every time you sneeze.

Can you remember any of this stuff after having your first baby? Or did you get off easy?

Any of it still happening, like it is for me?!?

*First Published on ivillage.com.au
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Mums' Days

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