If starting a family is something a woman has always wanted, becoming a mom can be the best moment of her life. She has waited all her life to hear that baby coo for the first time and has prepared herself for the sleepless nights she knows are ahead. She has fully stocked her home bathroom with diapers and pads for recovery and has already mentally prepared herself for the huge transition that is to come.
However, even when Mom thinks she’s fully prepared for all that comes with the post-pregnancy life – she isn’t ever fully prepared. No one is ever fully prepared.
Little things sneak up on new moms during those initial postpartum days, but the surprises don’t end after that first week home with the baby. Postpartum means “the period of time following childbirth” according to Dictionary.com. Therefore, once that baby is out, a woman is living the postpartum life. This means that unexpected changes, transitions, and emotions will not end right away – or ever. The changes will continue to occur and the mom will learn to accept them and grow with them.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps along the way, of course. But every bump in the road that comes with parenthood is a positive one. Why? Because you have your little one alongside you.
20 Women Will Still Look Pregnant
Most first-time mamas know it takes time (and work) before their belly goes back to being anything close to how it looked before pregnancy. However, many women are still hard on themselves even hours after delivery when they look down to see what looks to be a still-pregnant belly.
A woman’s body is a miraculous thing and goes through insane changes during pregnancy and after. According to Baby Center, “hormonal changes cause your uterus to contract, shrinking it back to its pre-pregnancy state. It takes six to eight weeks for your uterus to return to its normal size.” Even though women their best to accept these truths, they still find themselves criticizing every aspect of their postpartum belly bulge.
You just had a baby – a human was living inside of your body. That in itself is a powerful, inspiring thing. It will take time for your body to readjust and get back to being even a little closer to how it was before pregnancy.
19 Those Uncontrollable Emotions Are Still Very Active
The emotional ups-and-downs a mama feels during pregnancy does not just disappear the moment their baby is delivered. The placenta creates high levels of progesterone during pregnancy and when the baby is delivered, that quick drop in hormones can sometimes create the moody, emotional rollercoaster Moms may experience days after – also known as “Baby Blues”.
According to the Hotze Health And Wellness Center International, even when a woman’s progesterone levels are lowering after delivery, “her estrogen levels remain high. Oftentimes, this imbalance in progesterone and estrogen does not normalize right after childbirth.” It takes a while before a mom’s body gets back to regulating the way it did all those months before the baby was brewing. Being patient and staying relaxed is the best way to try not let those crazy hormones impact you.
18 The First Postpartum “Number Two” Will Be Celebrated
Plain and simple: New Parents will talk about poop. A lot. This doesn’t just mean what comes out of their baby either. After birth, Moms have difficulty going “Number Two” for the first time and usually, they can’t leave the hospital until the dreaded “Number Two” has happened.
When they say new parents experience everything together, they really mean everything.
Drinking prune juice and taking the mild laxative the doctors give you after birth will help, but you have to stick with it. Sometimes Miralax is also recommended, but the best bet is to follow the exact orders from your doctor and call when there are concerns. Postpartum poo issues can sometimes last for a few days and if it is really getting in the way of day-to-day comfort, contacting your medical professional is necessary.
17 You Will Keep Looking At Baby Thinking, “I Made You.”
Your baby will never stop amazing you. Sure your little one will leave you in awe because of their perfect little noises or the teeny milestones they meet, but what truly is amazing is that you made them.
You created a tiny human inside of you during all those months. You fully provided for them. You supported them in every way. Because of you and your significant other (or whatever the family dynamic may be), that little one has the nose and the eyes and the hair that he or she does.
You quite literally made your baby. Be proud, be amazed, and never stop looking down at your little one in the same light. Because before you know it, that little one won’t be so little anymore (believe it or not).
16 Walking (And Peeing And Thinking) After Delivery Is Hard
Whether a woman has a c-section or a vaginal birth, delivery is not easy – and recovery isn’t easy either. People think that because a woman has a c-section they won’t have to deal with difficulty walking and peeing after delivery. Some people also don’t think c-section mamas will have to wear extra-large pads and diapers for weeks on end.
No matter the delivery method, the baby still came from the same place. Therefore, every woman will deal with the lovely side effects to some extent. A woman’s mind is often overloaded with thoughts, emotions, and sometimes medications right after delivery so thoughts can become jumbled. Walking is often an activity that needs a lot of support and guidance those first few times and for the stubborn mama – it’s not fun re-teaching the body to walk. And peeing? Once that catheter is removed, it’s up to Mom to listen to her body and focus.
15 The Body Immediately Changes
The moment your baby is delivered, your body is changing. Hormones are rearranging, organs are trying to readjust, and you’re becoming a nutrient powerhouse for your newborn. Even though many moms expect changes to occur, they mentally aren’t prepared for the transition that will smack them kindly in the face even moments after birth.
According to Parents, some postpartum changes that occur include hair loss, skin discoloration, breast changes, back pain, incontinence, constipation, varicose veins, swollen limbs, sweating, energy level changes, and adjusting to your new weight.
Whether or not a woman faces all these changes, they are bound to experience a brand-new body they will learn to love. Why? Because it created life – and that’s one heck of a reason to love it.
14 The Swelling Doesn't Go Away Just Yet (And Might Get Worse)
Right when you thought those swollen ankles would disappear when your pregnancy ended, you may realize the swelling hasn’t changed. If anything, some women experience worse swelling for days, or weeks, following delivery.
According to Healthline, “many women experience postpartum swelling, also called edema, of the face and extremities like hands, feet, and legs. Some will also experience swelling around the incision from a cesarean delivery.” To help decrease the swelling, try to keep your feet elevated and don’t stand for long periods of time. Staying hydrated (yes, even after pregnancy) also dramatically helps. Drinking water is something that will help with many of the bodily changes a mom is going through.
13 You May Get Lots Of Help Right Away – But Prepare For When It’s Just You
If you have a large support system (something everyone dreams of having or is grateful to have), you may feel mixed emotions when you come home for the first time with your little one. Though the number of visitors may be overwhelming at first, it’s important to recognize the help and take it. If help is offered, do not hesitate to take it. This can be tough for independent, stubborn moms who want to do everything they can to support their newborn on their own. However, it’s important for new moms to rest and recover because sooner than later – the help and visitors will be gone.
Even though friends and family visit new parents often, the initial swarm of support slowly does start to diminish. This is good because parents need to learn more about their parenting style and about the specific needs of their little one on their own. It also gives Mom time to heal and recover so she can be ready-to-go when the home is a little less full of the love and support it was filled with when family and friends were near (and still is filled with, of course).
12 You Will Break Down
Motherhood is a beautiful, exciting time, but it really is a huge change. The transition can sometimes take a woman by surprise (even if she knows there will be changes) because, as cliché as it sounds: A person never fully understands motherhood until they are actually a mother.
These changes can make you emotional, overwhelmed, and just plain sad for reasons your mind can’t comprehend. Hormones are still raging and your world is still trying to fully embrace the transition from pregnancy into motherhood. On top of all those changes, you are officially a new mom. You must learn the ins-and-outs of your new little one while also discovering what works best for you as a parent.
11 Your Newborn May Do Weird Things (Don’t Panic)
Newborns can be a little odd. Their heads may be shaped weird and their cries can be terrifying. They sometimes can have hair on their backs or shoulders and sometimes even right above their tailbones. One minute they may seem like the most precious, perfect newborn and the next they’re acting a little weird or making a face of pure disgust.
There are many odd and unexpected things a newborn may experience during their initial weeks of life. If they have very imaginative sleep patterns, they may have intense REM sleep cycles and their eyes may open and twitch slightly when sleeping. They may have cradle cap which is dry, flaky skin on top of your newborn’s head. If your baby is female, they may even have teeny, tiny breast buds due to hormonal exposure during pregnancy.
These are all normal occurrence and shouldn’t be worrisome. However, if a new parent does need some professional justification, doctors are always more than open to discussing them further.
10 It Really Can Take A While To Heal
Whether a woman has a vaginal birth or a c-section, the healing process doesn’t just happen overnight. It often takes weeks, sometimes months, before a mama feels like herself again. Taking it easy is important, even though that is often extremely hard for a new mother because she wants to fully care for her newborn.
Even after the given “six-week period” doctors give moms, the healing process is not over. C-section moms need to slowly strengthen their abdominals and pelvic floor again since those muscles were severely compromised. They also must tend to their incisions carefully to make sure infections doesn’t occur. Some mothers may experience diastasis recti which there is a slight gap in the muscles of the abdominal wall. This condition makes it even more important to continue to protect and strengthen those core muscles during and after the baby has arrived.
9 You Will Feel Like You’re Still Giving Birth (Even Weeks Later)
After most women go almost a year without their “monthly friend,” jumping into the postpartum life means dealing with, what seems to be, a never-ending period. Even though this is all part of the recovery process, it’s frustrating, disgusting, and just plain annoying. You went all those months without needing to buy supplies and now you probably feel as if you’ll never stop using them.
According to Baby Center, the gross truth is this: “For a few days after you give birth, you’ll seem to have a very heavy period. Because the amount of blood in your body rises about 50 percent during pregnancy, your body is well prepared for this normal blood loss.”
Even though these facts aren’t typically truths Moms want to hear, it’s good to be prepared. Be ready for slight cramping, blood clots (if you dealt with some during or after delivery), and the purchasing of super-duper pads (since you can’t use tampons during those first six weeks after delivery).
8 Ice Chips Get Old Fast
Many people fear eating or drinking up until the time they’re told they can’t (before either a c-section or during labor) because they don’t want to go “Number Two” during birth. However, is it worth becoming ridiculously “hangry” when ice chips are the only substance a woman can eat after delivery on most occasions?
According to Parenting, “many hospitals restrict women from eating and drinking during labor, giving women intravenous fluids or ice chips to prevent dehydration instead.” They do this often so there are no internal issues or vomiting during or after delivery, but recent studies have been looking closer to see if the restriction really plays an impactful role.
Until then, eat and drink until when you are told to, listen to your body, and listen to the medical professionals.
7 Your Schedule Revolves Around Baby’s Schedule
This statement is a popular one many people hear – whether they are parents or not. It is popular because it is true. The newborn makes the schedule and the parents must go along for the ride. Even though many people have different parenting styles and beliefs, it’s hard to really crack down on those unique styles during the newborn phase.
It’s best to focus on making sure your newborn is functioning appropriately and growing at a healthy rate. Once the newborn phase starts to shift a bit, parents can begin to work their style into the baby’s life. However, every baby is unique and sometimes new parents are able to sculpt and condition that routine very early on. No matter what, all parents transition alongside their little one and become flexible to change – because change is inevitable with newborns.
6 Laying Down And Sitting Up After A C-Section Is Hell
C-section mamas despise any phrase that sounds similar to this: C-sections are the easy way out. Whether the baby (or babies) make their entrance into the world vaginally or through cesarean, one thing is for sure: There is no easy way.
After a c-section, you must heal from the abdominal muscles being completely ripped apart and stitched back up. Those muscles need to learn to behave as muscles again and, until then, it is extremely hard to sit up, lay down, and lift your legs the way you were used to doing before the surgery. This can make sleeping even harder than it already will be with a newborn in the home. Often additional help is needed for those midnight feedings because Mom can’t jump right out of bed.
Be patient with your body and don’t be afraid to ask for that help (you will need it).
5 You Will Go Through All Your Granny Panties (Probably Within Two Days)
As gross as it may sound, you will want to make sure you have all of your ugliest, granniest pairs of underwear ready to go when returning home from the hospital after delivery. Even though the hospital does give you a few pairs to leave with (and don’t forget to ask for more before leaving), you will want to prep your bedroom for your return.
Since the postpartum body is healing and trying to figure out all the hormonal changes going on, it will start behaving oddly. This could mean it feels as if you have your period for days on end. This also may mean you experience additional discharge. No matter how disgusting these truths are, you will want to be prepared – so whip out the granny panties and get ready to rock them.
4 Snuggling With Your Baby Really Will Make Your Day
Even amid the chaos parenting throws at you, it’s important to step back and enjoy time with your little one. Postpartum life is filled with diaper changes, loads of laundry, and what feels like hours spent at a breast pump, but it also is spent loving, snuggling, and learning about your little one.
Embrace the moments you get when you’re able to simply just cuddle up with your new baby. Those moments will become rare occurrences as they grow older – the cliché is true. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything going on around you, sometimes it’s that very second when you need to stop, look down at your baby, and smile. Cuddle them close and remember that feeling. It will overpower any stress you were feeling moments before.
3 Breastfeeding Can Be Tougher Than Expected
Many moms want to breastfeed and when they bring their newborn to their chest, it doesn’t work quite as easily as they may have hoped. More goes into breastfeeding than simply bringing your baby to your breast. Some babies have trouble latching and some moms don’t produce enough milk. Sometimes it’s painful for women to breastfeed and sometimes the baby just can’t find a position that works well for them.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, some issues women face when it comes to breastfeeding are lack of knowledge, social norms, poor social support, embarrassment, lactations problems, employment and childcare, and lack of local health services available. Much more goes into breastfeeding than women expect and it’s important to fully prepare yourself for the journey if it is the one you wish to take with your little one.
2 Your Relationship Changes, But It Isn’t “Ruined”
Many couples hope their relationship will stay the same once a little one is in the picture. They tell each other they will find time for one another and promise not to take the stress that comes with parenthood out on each other. They hope to never overlook one another and remain each other’s rock through every possible scenario.
While these statements are nice and all, they’re promises that are tough to keep 100% of the time. All babies are different which makes parenthood different for every couple. Couples shouldn’t think negatively when it comes to facing the changes that parenthood throws at them. They should see the transition as a new adventure they’re about to take, but also realize they will endure some hardships as a couple (that will only make them stronger).
Why? Because they are human. Very tired humans.
1 Embrace Those Supermom Moments (Because You Will Have Them)
When a woman becomes a mom, she is faced with an ever-changing body, a change in lifestyle, and the changing of lots and lots of diapers. Multitasking becomes a trait Moms learn to grasp onto without even realizing it and when they want to collapse and breakdown, they often can’t because they have a crying or uncomfortable newborn they need to soothe.
That is when it’s important to remember those “Supermom Moments.” Remember the times when you thought you couldn’t do anymore, but you did. Remember when you multitasked incredibly and still kept your little one happy through it all. If you were able to feed, bathe, snuggle, and get your newborn down all on your own one night – remember that feeling. If your baby was crying nonstop and you felt ill from either your recovery or just from being under the weather, remember how you made it through that difficult time.
Remember those tough times when you think you’re on the verge of breaking down. You’ve been there and you’ve pushed through. Moms really are superheroes.
References: Dictionary.com, Baby Center, Hotze Health And Wellness Center International, Parents, Healthline, National Center for Biotechnology Information