Postpartum is a weird time. There are so many changes going on. Your body is changing, your emotions and hormones are crazy and not to mention you’re now responsible for a little human.
The fourth trimester can be rough so let’s prepare a little bit and talk about some of the things that people don’t tell you.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and don’t claim to be one. The statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any message and will not be held responsible for the content of any message. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice.
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Things Everyone Talks About
Everyone tells you after you’ve just given birth you will be fatigued, bleeding, and dealing with a newborn baby. They tell you to cherish your baby and to rest when you can. These are all true and great things but what about everything else that goes on during postpartum?
RELATED: My First Birth Story
Things No One Tells You About Postpartum
1 . Breastfeeding might not work
Everyone makes breastfeeding sound so magical and easy but the reality is…it isn’t always that way. A lot of baby’s have trouble latching and a lot of moms have no clue how to help them.
When my daughter was born we had every intention of exclusively breastfeeding. We tried at the hospital to get her to latch but she wouldn’t. The lactation consultant tried and it wasn’t working.
I was so exhausted that I didn’t have the effort to put into trying so hard so we gave her formula while I pumped. This was not the reality I expected and I wasn’t prepared for it because everyone says breastfeeding is so great and they make it seem easy.
I ended up exclusively pumping for my daughter and it took me a while to feel okay with that. Things might not go as planned and that’s fine!
Just be prepared that breastfeeding doesn’t always go as planned. I think it’s also a great idea to have a private lactation consultant help you if needed.
2 . The doctor will push on your uterus SO MUCH!
Why does no one talk about this?! After giving birth, your doctor will come in every couple of hours to push on your uterus to make sure it’s shrinking back down to normal size.
This might not sound that bad but it’s uncomfortable and quite annoying. It maybe wouldn’t have been so bad if people had warned me about it.
3 . All modesty goes out the window
Modesty? What’s modesty? But in all seriousness, you can try to be modest during postpartum but there’s only so much you can cover up.
If you are breastfeeding then you’re exposed. If your doctor is checking you, you’re exposed. I just accepted it and went with it.
4 . Using the bathroom is an experience
At the hospital they are more than likely going to give you a laxative to make it easier to have your first bowel movement.
Some moms say pooping for the first time is awful, I thankfully didn’t have that experience but just know it’s possible that it might hurt.
Also, the hospital gives you a peri bottle for a reason, use it! Wiping with toilet paper while your vagina is sensitive isn’t fun at all. Use the peri bottle and it’ll save you a lot of pain.
5 . You might be exhausted…but also wide awake
After giving birth I was exhausted. I was cranky and irritable and I just wanted to sleep. We finally got settled in and I started to try to fall asleep and just couldn’t. I was wide awake. I don’t know if it was adrenaline or what but I know lot’s of other moms who have had this same experience.
At one point in the hospital, I told my husband I was going to ask the nurse to give me something to help me sleep. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t sleep that it was making everything harder.
Just prepare yourself for sleep to not come easy even if you’re exhausted. It might also be a good idea to bring all of your sleep essentials to the hospital so that you can get adequate sleep while there.
6 . Mesh panties will be your new BFF
If you’re like me, you always thought people were crazy when they talked so good about mesh hospital panties. Well, turns out, they are absolutely right.
Mesh panties are so much more comfortable than regular underwear in those first few days after giving birth. Some moms also really like adult diapers but I never tried them.
Make sure you are stocked up on postpartum pads and supplies because you are going to need them!
RELATED: Postpartum Supplies You Must Have!
7 . You might not bond with your baby right away
You hear all of those stories about how moms see their babies and are instantly in love but you never hear the stories about that not happening.
I didn’t have that instant love feeling with my daughter and you might not either and that’s perfectly okay! It doesn’t mean you love your baby any less, it just means you need more time to process those feelings and to get through what your own body is dealing with.
The love will come so don’t let anyone shame you for not bonding with your baby right away.
8 . Everyone says to sleep when baby is sleeping but that’s not the most important thing
Yes, sleep is important and you should get adequate sleep but the more important thing is self care. If sleep is self care for you then great, get some sleep but if not then prioritize what is important for you.
What makes you feel like your best self? It might be getting your nails done, taking a bath, going for a walk, browsing Target, etc. Whatever it is, make time for it, your mental health will be better because of it.
9 . It’s okay to not be okay
It’s okay to feel down. It’s okay to feel anxious. It’s okay to feel lost. These feelings can be the normal baby blues or they could be something more.
It’s okay to ask for help if you aren’t feeling right. There’s nothing wrong with you for having these feelings. This is just how some bodies respond to postpartum and it’s normal.
Don’t let others make you feel bad for feeling down.
10 . One of the hardest things about postpartum is trying not to compare yourself to others
Things you shouldn’t do after giving birth? Compare yourself to other moms!
Some people’s bodies bounce back quickly and they lose a ton of weight. Other people never lose the weight.
Some moms have a blissful breastfeeding journey. Some don’t.
Some moms have babies that sleep long stretches at night. Some don’t.
The point here is don’t compare yourself to what you are seeing on Facebook or Instagram from new moms. You are seeing the highlight reel. You might be seeing all the good in their postpartum journey but they might not be showing the hard.
Everyone’s body reacts differently to being pregnant and giving birth. Comparison can steal your joy, don’t let it.
What Do I Really Need for Postpartum?
Things you wish you had after giving birth
1 . Padsicles
Do yourself a favor and prep some padsicles before you give birth. Your postpartum self will thank you!
2 . Comfortable Clothes
Forget looking cute, just give me some comfy loungewear. Purchase some comfortable loungewear for postpartum because you probably won’t feel like wearing real clothes very often. Some great options are:
Check out our Postpartum Must Haves post for more great ideas!