Male readers? Are you out there? If so, this is your precautionary warning. You are welcome to skip this blog post. Down and dirty momma details follow...
Okay all you mommas-to-be. Here they are. The down and dirty details that no one ever really talks about. Out loud.
What do we hear about after a new, fresher-than-clean-laundry, sweeter-than-sunshine, bundle of pure joy is born? How life has now truly begun. How the world now has real meaning. How love's true definition is now clear. And all of that is truer than true.
Why doesn't anyone ever talk about the aftermath of giving birth? Well, I am here to bust that conversation wide open. Starting with:
1. Remember that scene from "Tommy Boy" where Chris Farley puts on David Spade's sports coat and joyfully sings out, "Fat guy in a little coat?", and then the coat rips? Well, a few days after giving birth, when your milk comes in, your breasts will feel similar to that poor sports coat. We are talking boulders, ladies, that cause an avalanche of pain. Actually, more like a volcano of pain given that you will be leaking "lava" (aka milk) for weeks and weeks. Go buy breast pads. Wear them daily. Go buy breast shells. Put them in your bra over night. Otherwise, you will awaken to a smoldering "lava" drenched shirt.
2. I had every hope and intention of delivering my first baby the "good old-fashioned way" (and no, I will not type that woman's anatomy word for fear some perv with too much time on his hands will google that woman's anatomy word and be lead here. Although my frequent mention of the word "breast" above may have already landed him here. I digress). Yes, although, like most mommas-to-be, I had dreamed about delivering my first baby the "good old-fashioned way," my 9-pound 15-ounce son and apparently too-small pelvis did not get the memo. Despite a full day of labor. Consequently, my son was delivered via cesarean section as was my daughter (via planned, repeat c-section). The good news? I did not have to experience any of the unfortunate feminine "consequences" that many mommas endure who deliver the "good old-fashioned way." The bad news? I had to undergo major surgery. Twice. For any mommas who end up with c-sections, know that you will experience pain for several weeks following the procedure (Duh. You just had major surgery). Use your painkillers as much as you need them but don't over do it. I think the recovery is easier the quicker you can get off of them. Also, don't be surprised when your incision site is completely numb for awhile and also really tender months and months later. It is bizarre. But normal. Oh, and know that, should you elect to go the c-section route the second time around, the recovery is much better. After all, you will not have gone through an entire day of labor and then had major surgery. A win-win for all.
3. We all know how refreshing it is when, in the dead of the summer heat, we dive into a crisp, clear, cool body of water and emerge from the water's embrace feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, reborn. Yeah. Now think of the night sweats you will experience for several weeks after giving birth as being the complete opposite of that. That's right. For weeks, our momma hormones are completely out of whack and in complete overdrive. One of the lovely results? Waking up soaked, absolutely drenched, in the middle of the night. So all that extra laundry you'll be doing is not just because of all the spit-up soaked clothes you'll be washing. There will be frequent loads of bed sheets that need to be sanitized. Gross. But true.
4. I think Mother Nature plays many a trick on us mommas when we are expecting. We get the glorious pregnant glow which is rivaled only by the long, lustrous locks we get to rock for those loooong 10 months of pregnancy. Nice, right? Until about 4 months after your sweet little bundle of joy arrives, at which point, your hair will begin falling out. And I'm not talkin' 10 or 12 strands in a hairbrush after a shower. I'm talking, full-on clumps of hair that will quickly clog your shower drain and cover every.square.inch. of living space within a 5-mile radius. You think I'm exaggerating? I'm not. It is insane. And it continues for months and months and months. I am almost 8 months out from having my second babe and the extreme hair loss continues. Fingers crossed I don't develop any bald spots.
5. I pride myself on trying to be active, trying to be healthy, trying to maintain some level of fitness. This is why it has been hard for me after both pregnancies to deal with the inevitable "pudge" that will stick around for a few months. The days after your precious baby is born, it's all, "Oh joy! He's here! Nothing else matters in the whole world!" And then, you notice that your tummy doesn't immediately return to its pre-pregnancy flatness the second after your little one debuts. Actually, what the eff, it still looks like you're very pregnant (Here's lookin' at you, woman in Babies 'R Us, who sweetly asked me when I was due two weeks after my son was born. Pretty sure she never asked that question to any woman again. Ever.). Even as your belly begins to shrink (thanks to your uterus slowly shrinking back down to its normal size), your stomach is not the same. No matter how many crunches you did throughout pregnancy, your stomach, your skin, your muscles, well, they have been stretched. And they don't just immediately "bounce back." You will have some tummy jiggle for awhile. And even if you quickly lose the pregnancy weight, your good ol' skinny jeans may not fit for awhile, as things, including your now pudgy tummy, have shifted and changed shape. It will take some time. But. If you put in the time and effort, that jiggle won't stick around forever. Several months? Yes. Forever? No. Still, though, this can be a tough pill to swallow when you no longer have a little miracle inside you to explain the misshapen tummy.
Hello post-baby belly
6. There is one other post-baby dirty detail I was going to write about but my hub
kindly requested insisted that I not. I'll just say take the laxatives the hospital gives you and leave it at that. If there is nothing else you take from this post, take my advice to take the laxatives. 'Nuff said.
So there you have it.
But you know what? I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It's all worth it. Because those smiles, those giggles, those first steps, those "mamama's", well, they are what life is all about. And no down and dirty detail can take away from that.