We always think we have read every book, attended all the right classes, and that there could not possibly be anymore
There’s a ton of not so glamorous (but so worth it) stuff that happens after birth!
I mean, you probably have hard a little of what to expect before and during labor (those pregnancy books and OB appointments are pretty good for that!).
But… what happens after your baby is on your chest?
What happens once you get home, and all the help is gone (after only a couple of days!)
I know with my son, as soon as the magic and overwhelming joy wore off after having him, I felt REALLY scared!
Like… I have to deliver WHAT… after I already delivered my baby?
Or that mister bottle that every mom is oh so familiar with after bith.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then stay tuned and find out what happens after birth – the good, the bad, and the gross as told by fellow mamas!
Table of Contents
What happens during birth (that I wish someone would have told me)
This is a short section, but I’m going straight to the most talked about tidbits!
The epidural DOES NOT make you feel nothing
Some people like that, some people were very upset by that!
Epidurals (if they work for you) take away the sharp pains of labor and birth, however you should still be able to feel things like pushing and pulling.
I thought it was really helpful to be able to feel when I should push with my twins!
I too thought I would just lay on the table like a dead fish and let the doctors do their thing… wrong!
Yes, you will likely poop during labor
I was SO SCARED OF THIS! But guess what… almost everyone does it!
You will be using the same muscles you use to poo as you will to push your baby out, so this actually isn’t surprising!
And, to be honest, once your actually in it, trying to push, things like pooping on the table are (mostly) forgotten!
No one will mention it, and the nurses will just quietly clean it up
What happens right after birth?
Besides feeling like roaring because you are woman and you just freaking created life?
Well, some other less glamorous things…
You still have to give birth to one more thing
.. your placenta!
This might come as a surprise! I know I had no idea my first time around!
The good news is that it is, for the most part, WAY easier than birthing your baby. The bad news is that sometimes the nurses have to push on your belly to kind of coax it out which can be pretty painful!
Your milk doesn’t all of a sudden come in
I thought I’d just have tons of milk ready to go – instead, I felt like I struggled for days becausue all I got was this yellow stuff!
Well, it turns out the yellows stuff that only comes in drop is colustrum, and it is super important for you baby! And they don’t actually need to eat that much at the start anyways!
You milk will normally comes in within a couple of days!
Breastfeeding can cause contractions (of your uterus)
I was SO caught off guard by this!
While it is a positive thing (the faster your uterus shrinks down, the faster you can return to “normal”) it is quite painful, especially when you thought you were done with all of that!
Speaking of your uterus.. the nurses are going to knead that thing like dough after everything!
Possibly the only thing more painful than the birth! Nurses do “fundal massage” to help reduce the bleeding and cramping after your birth.. but it certainly doesn’t feel helpful at the time!
Your belly doesn’t all of a sudden get super small
I had actually brought my pre pregnancy jeans with me! HAH! Ladies, it took 9 months for your tummy to expand as much as it did – it’s not just going to dissapear that quick!
Expect to still look around 6 months pregnant, and have a super jiggly tummy for at least a month or so while your uterus contracts back down to it’s normal size!
The first pee is going to sting!
In fact, the sting is so bad that you are often given some numbing spray and a squirt bottle to use while peeing!
DO NOT be a hero! Use it every time you go!
The amount you pee is measured every single time for that first one or two days
Not that it matters at this point who sees what, but a nurse will likely help you pee those first couple of times as well as meausre how much you pee.
There will be a little pee catcher on the inside of the toilet just to make sure everything is still good!
Say YES to stool softeners
You might think one rough poo isn’t that big of a deal, but some women have compared it to giving birth again!
Some hospitals actually want you to poo one time before you are released, just to make sure all is good!
You will bleed for a little while – get comfy
There is a lot of blood that still comes even a week after birth!
However, in those first couple of days make sure to have a GIANT pad, or some kind of absorbent underwear such as Depends1
What happens after I get home?
This amazing feeling that you finally have your baby in your arms, and you are home ready to start the next chaper!
But sometimes you also question what just happened – was becoming a parent even right for me?
How come I don’t feel this crazy bond with my baby?
There’s a ton of feelings and such no one really talks about once you get home, and all the excitement is over.
Here’s some things that alot of moms wish someone would have told them
Baby’s first poop is going to look like tar – that’s normal!
This is called “meconium” and it’s full of all the stuff your baby ingested while still in the womb – mucus, shed skin cells and water!
The good news is that this kind of poop only happens once!
Tell visitors to hold off until you are ready!
Everyone will definitely be excited to see the baby and “help” but the fact is, you just had a major event happen to your body and your family.
It takes time to stop bleeding, learn the basics (diaper changes, breast or bottle feeding, how to get them to sleep etc) and having to feel like you need to entertain a visitor is not helpful!
If someone does want to come to visit, be sure to emphasize that you could actually use help!
Yes holding the baby is nice so that you can get some food or shower, but what’s really helpful is someone bringing food, doing dishes and laundry!
It is OK to put your baby down
I know I was SUPER into the whole “fourth trimester” style of thinking that means babies need an adjustment period to being outside the womb.
That means to baby wear as much as possible so that they can still hear your heartbeat, smell you and feel your warmth.
BUT, your baby won’t suffer if you need to put them in the Mom a Roo, or Rock N Play, or wherever you need to in order to take a break!
There is no medal for whoever holds their baby the most at the start!
Moms everywhere come to this realization after awhile, but don’t take a month to get there like the rest of us first time moms did!
Post Partum Anxiety and Depression are very real, and way more common than you think
Don’t hesistate to talk to your doctor because you fear they will think you’re a bad mom.
PPD can make you think and feel crazy things that just aren’t true.
For example, if your baby has colic and won’t stop crying, no matter what you do, it can be pretty easy to feel like you’re already failing at this, and wonder if someone else would be better.
DON’T DISMISS THOSE THOUGHTS!
If this is a reoccurring thought process, please get seen!
Don’t lose those first months or years to PPD!
You would be surprised to know how many women felt like they had no one to talk to about this, because they were scared that doctors or their partners would think that they were a bad mother.
Mental health is #1!
Sleep Deprivation is a torture tactic for a reason – make sure to take care of yourself!
Some people can handle it fine, and just drink more coffee or whatever the next day.
However for others, sleep deprivation can seriously affect their mental health and put them in a bad place.
In fact, I knew it was time to transfer all 3 of my co sleepers into their bed because at some point, the all night nursing sessions and kicking meant no sleep. And no sleep for months on end was literally starting to drive me crazy.
I was starting to shake, have awful thoughts, and was 1 step away from needing anti depressants just to be able to function as a mother.
However, once I got the kids into the crib, and they started sleeping for longer periods of time, I got better and returned to normal.
If you’re in the trenches of no sleep, please just sleep when you can!
Once a week, have someone watch the kids so that you can have a catch up day!
Sleep during naps (I know, there’s chores.. but sleep during atleast one nap!)
Keep the diagnosis “Diastasis Recti” in mind for about 6 months down the road
I’m sad more doctors and OBs aren’t aware of this condition!
Whole most womens’ muscles will sort of retract back and close up after expanding for pregnancy, some women (such as myself!) will have been overstretched, resulting in a sort of “split” in your abs!
This can cause you to still look pregnant years and years down the road, despite eating right an working out.
It can also cause the notorious issue of peeing when you sneeze, gas, digestive issues and more.
The gap in your abdominal wall allows your organs to move out of place, reduces your core function (Causing massive back pain sometimes) and more…
So please, ask your OB about this!
I wrote all about Diastasis Recti here, and I actually had to get it surgically repaired (read about that here) after my PT and doctor both said it was not repairable any other way.
My physical life (which is alot, since I hike, camp, etc) was instantly turned around as soon as I got the surgery!
But here’s the most important part… life is just made up of seasons, and this one is short. You’re going to get a lot of advice as a first time mom.. but don’t let it scare you! You are the only mom that is perfect for you baby!
When you look into your baby’s eyes, or hear you baby laugh, or see them understand something as simple as their hands… your chest will almost burst!
All the tiredness, screaming for hours on end, and everything else will be forgotten!
So, just remember… this too shall pas.
Just worry about survival in the rough times, and take mental snapshots of the awesome times to carry you through!
I have most definitely stress eaten way too much candy, drank wine at 10 AM, had the TV on for HOURS, had a
But, here I am with my girls at 18 months and my son is now 3. My twins have slept through the night 4 out of the last 5 days, and my son is now in school for a couple of hours in the morning…
I made it!
You will too mama!
Hey Mama, here are some other articles you’ll love!
- 17 pieces of advice about birth and babies that no one talks about, and
ipson how to make newborn life WAY easier
- Check out these tried and tested baby sleep tips – EVERYONE is happier and less tantrum-y with more sleep!
- All the breastfeeding tips you’ll need (lactation cookies, pumping
- If you have a toddler at home, check out fun ways to get them used to the new baby here!
- If you’re a SAHM, check out how to fight off mom guilt that is bound to happen, and habits to adapt to become happier despite the “groundhog day” feelings you sometimes get from being