When I was pregnant I received a heap of advice and information related to the process of motherhood that I felt mostly positive and happy about everything. But, somehow things still occured that left me feeling very clueless and asking myself “why didn’t anyone tell me this!?!”, even with my second pregnancy. I mean, was it assumed that I knew this stuff already?
Being a mother of two, I’ve realised that every pregnancy, labor and postpartum experience is different, but I would still like to share a list of things I’ve learned and I wished someone had told me. The not-so-pleasant aspects and truths about pregnancy, labor and life postpartum; just in case no one tells you.
Pregnancy and Labor:
- Modesty: Get accustom to having doctors and nurses looking at and touching your privates at your prenatal visits and while you are in the hospital for the delivery.
- Unsolicited Advice: Everyone will have an opinion on what you personally should or shouldn’t be doing, especially on how to care for your baby. To avoid discuting with anybody, simply smile, nod and walk away.
- Chest Burn and Shortness of Breath: As your baby grows the space for your vital organs will become limited and as this occurs, you may feel a burning sensation in the chest especially when you lay down and feel breathless even with just a little exertion.
- Vaginal Discharge: I still had to make trips down the feminine aisle, as I had to wear panty liners due to increase vaginal discharge on some days.
- Breaking of Water: Most women expect to have a sudden gush of water coming down, but it can also be as simple as feeling a trickle; like a little bladder leak which is then followed by multiple trips to the bathroom to “urinate”.
- Contractions: We have all seen women screaming and moaning in pain while in labor on tv and we kind of get a visual idea in our heads of how it can be, but never underestimate how intense the pain of contractions can really get.
- Labor: There is no concrete time period for labor, the length of time depends on your baby and your body.
- Excretion: The combination of the pressure on the bowel and the fact that you use the same muscles for excretion as for pushing, can lead to a bowel movemont right there during labor.
- Second birth: After giving birth to your baby you will also have to deliver the placenta, it will either detach itself with a series of further contractions or by pushing down on the stomach and guiding it out. Either way it hurts, hence the term second birth.
- Bathroom Visit and Weak Bladder: The first few visits to the bathroom will hurt due to tenderness and especially if you got stitches. Also, for a couple of weeks a sudden sneeze or a laugh can lead to bladder leakage.
- Cramps While Breastfeeding: With my first son I didn’t take notice of this, but I experienced it with my second son and at times it was quite intense. The uterus is a muscle which stretches more with each pregnancy and the stimulation from breastfeeding triggers the hormone which causes the uterus to contract in order to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy shape. It can be uncomfortable at times but it’s a good sign that your body is healing properly.
- Breastfeeding: Before you and your baby get the full graps of breastfeeding it will hurt ast first, your nipple will get rather sore and you can even get blisters. The good news is, it will get better with time for the both of you.
- Breast Engorgement: The production of milk will lead to tenderness and even plugged milk ducts. The pain can literally bring you to tears, however by putting a cold cabbage leaf in each bra cup, doing oil massages and placing a warm washcloth on the breast works wonders.
- Clothing: Dark colors and patterns are great for camouflaging drool, spit ups and stains. Moreover, strappy and open front tops are ideal for breastfeeding.
- Temporary Immobility: Grab whatever you need like the remote, your phone, food and water before sitting down to feed baby trust me you are going to be there a while and this will also lead to you learning how to master the art of doing almost everything with one hand.
- Baby Carriers/Slings and Automatic Bouncers: These are perfect for when you need to get household chores done and baby still wants to be held close or rocked.
- Onesies: The envelope flaps by the shoulders were made so the onesies can be pull down over the shoulders. This feature is to facilitate an easy clean up from a pamper blow outs or vomit instead of pulling it up and spreading the mess all over the baby.
- Colic: When there’s a build up of excess gases in your baby’s tummy, the constant crying is like having an alarm go off that you can’t figure out how to turn it off. Just lay your baby on its back and move the legs as if riding a bicycle to help eliminate gas.
- Sleep: Wait a few minutes before you gently and slowly lay down your baby, or else you will be frustrated when you see those open eyes looking back at you especially after all you did to get the baby to sleep in the first place.
- Hair Shedding: You shed very little hair during pregnancy hence the thickness and growth you experience, but after giving birth for a few months that hair will “fallout”, shed. With my first son it was very noticeable as it left me with thin hair and edges but second time around, I was more prepared. I wore low maintance hairstyles, contiuned taking my prenatal vitamins for month after, then I switched to a hair vaitmin and also applied coconut and castor oil to my hair, paying special attention to trouble areas.
Put aside everything you may or may not go through, pregnancy, labor and life post-partum can be scary and tough at times, but it is totally worth it all. I hope my shared experiences help to make things easier and if you have any experiences that you wished someone had told you comment below and if you know someone expecting a new bundle of joy please feel free to share this post with them so they will be prepared for what can lie ahead.
XOXO Sincerely Natz.