Hey friends! So you might have noticed I didn’t have a blog post go up yesterday – the first monday in MONTHS that that’s happened. But TBH, I haven’t figured out how the heck i’m supposed to get work done now with a newborn ha. She’s such a good baby but, she doesn’t sleep through the night so #exhausted during the day, she eats every 2-3 hours, i’m pumping, trying to take care of myself, take care of our house, have a social life and a marriage still…sooo…just bear with me as I figure these things out! Today I want to talk about something really personal and relavant to me right now though, that I don’t think is talked about enough and that’s post partum. People always talk about “what to expect when you’re expecting”, and people talk about how sleep deprived you are with a newborn…but I don’t think people really prepare you for what the post partum season looks like for mom. So, I want to share some of my experience with y’all today.
First of all, every woman’s post partum journey is different. So, take what I say with a grain of salt because your experience might be totally different. A lot of what your post partum journey looks like will have to do with what your birth experience was like. (In case you missed it, I shared my birth story with Shiloh in this blog post). So, I am now 3 weeks 3 days post partum. I knew after having a baby I wouldn’t be allowed to work out or have sex for 6 weeks. I knew I’d be sleep deprived from having a newborn, but that was about it. I’ve been surprised by A LOT of things. So, first let’s just talk about what you can physically expect as a woman during the first few weeks.
When we first got home from the hospital with Shiloh…my parents were here which I was so thankful for. I walked up the stairs to our bedroom and started crying. I couldn’t believe how painful it was to walk up the stairs. I couldn’t believe how much work it was for my body to go up one flight of stairs. I was crying because I was in pain but also because I had this fear of “what has happened to my body?”. Luckily my mom was there and she just said “Lauren this is NORMAL! You just gave birth two days ago. You gave birth naturally. You had your first baby! This is all so normal and your body will bounce back.” In that moment though, I was just so taken back by how sore and how exhausted my body was because TBH…I’m so used to being very active, capable, and fit. So this felt pretty foreign to me.
(FYI – First I’m going to share with y’all things that surprised me and things you can expect. And then I will share things that helped me tremendously in these first few weeks).
That first week after having Shiloh…I pretty much didn’t leave the second floor of our house (that’s where our master bedroom is). My mom and Michael brought all of my meals up there, I kept Shiloh up there with me all the time…and only went downstairs maybe once a day when I absolutely had to. When I did have to leave the house, I was moving slow. I took ibuprofen or Tylenol twice a day everyday. You might be reading this and thinking “duh lauren. you just had a baby.” But I just wasn’t expecting this!
In addition to just feeling so sore down there and SO exhausted…I also wasn’t aware how much you bled after giving birth. (Sorry if this is TMI or if it grosses you out). But I didn’t realize you wear pads for a LONG time after giving birth because you’re bleeding for a while! Again, every woman is different so some bleed longer than others I’m sure. But I was definitely still consistently bleeding for at least a week, if not 10 days or a bit longer.
Another thing I had no idea to expect…I was absolutely terrified after I gave birth of going number two. Luckily the hospital prescribed me a stool softener which helped TREMENDOUSLY. Advice: TAKE THE STOOL SOFTENER. TBH my first BM actually wasn’t bad at all. It was more mental, I was terrified of ‘pushing’ anywhere near that area down there. (Side note I can’t believe I’m talking about this on the blog lol but I want y’all to be prepared!). Now I have no issues with this at all haha.
Something else I was surprised by that I shared on IG stories this past weekend: I CRY AT EVERYTHING. It’s gotten better this week, but holy cow the first two weeks Shiloh was here, a day didn’t go by that I didn’t cry. (TBH an hour didn’t go by that I didn’t cry haha). Most of them were happy tears – I would look at Shiloh and cry because she was so beautiful. I’d cry because I couldn’t believe she was no longer inside me. I’d cry when I looked at Michael because I loved him so much, etc. But, I’d also cry at 2am bc Shiloh wouldn’t stop crying and I had no idea why. I’d cry because I was so tired, because I wondered if life would ever go back to normal. You get it. Lots of tears. I had no clue that was a thing haha so let this be a warning to you! It’s normal, and it’s okay! The weepiness is real, but it won’t last forever. I already feel way more back to normal this week.
The last thing I’ll say that I was surprised by with post partum things was the fact that the female body is amazing and WILL GO BACK TO NORMAL. I’m definitely not there yet. My body doesn’t feel “normal” necessarily…but I’m now walking about 2 miles a day, I’m not taking any more pain pills, not experiencing pain…and that’s amazing. Your body will heal, it will recover, you just have to take care of it.
So, those were the biggest things I was surprised by – when it comes to MY body and post partum things. Now I want to share things that were very helpful for me:
- Sitz bath – at least once a day, everyday (even better if you can do it twice a day). We got the stuff to do a Sitz bath from Whole Foods (you can ask the people who work there where to find it). Michael or my mom got it ready for me and I did this at least once a day and it felt so good on my perineum + was SO helpful for my healing. By week two, I was already in so much less pain in that area.
- TUCKS (medicated cooling pads) – I put these in my pads for the first two weeks and they were so helpful in soothing my pain, and also helped with the healing process. They’re made from witch hazel which will soothe and cool and help heal your painful area.
- ASK FOR HELP. Y’all this is something that was NOT easy for me. I hated asking Michael to bring me my breakfast in the mornings or asking my mom to get my sitz bath ready. But this is maybe the one time in your life you are ALLOWED to do those things and you should. It will be so helpful for your healing, and also for your mental/emotional sanity.
- Power naps are key. I’m still trying to teach myself this one. I get about an hour and a half stretch of sleep at night – maybe 2 or 3 times right now. So it’s key to power nap during the day when you can – even if it’s just 30 minutes. My natural instinct is “Shiloh is sleeping! I can get work done!”. But, if you forego sleep, before too long your body will burn out. You will have an emotional breakdown ha. Force yourself to choose sleep.
- Epsom salt bath. These also feel amazing and are so relaxing and will help a lot with your healing down there. If I didn’t do a sitz bath one day, I’d try to do an epsom salt bath at night.
- Worship music playing constantly. This probably seems so random…but when you are sleep deprived and super hormonal, it’s so easy to let your thoughts get the best (or worst) of you. Negative thoughts about your body or feelings of loneliness or negative thoughts about how you’re doing as a mom, etc…I have worship music playing 24/7 because it reminds me of TRUTH and helps me fight the negativity that i can start to feel at times.
- Talk to your husband or a friend or a mom about everything. There will be times when you feel discouraged or alone or…so many other things haha. It’s so important you don’t stay stuck or isolated in those thoughts. Talk to someone. Get it out there. Know that you are not alone! Don’t let yourself keep all of those thoughts or emotions cooped up. Always talk it out.
- Take care of yourself / do something that makes you happy! If its possible for you to get out of the house for maybe an hour – do it! I got my nails done a week after Shiloh was born and it felt so good to get out of the house and pamper myself a little bit. Once I could start going for walks, I started strolling with Shiloh everyday and the fresh air did wonders for me. I would also try to do a face mask every now and then, or just take a nice long shower if I had someone to help with Shiloh. It’s so important in this first post partum period to still take care of yourself and do things that make you happy! A face mask, a manicure, a nice walk around the block…these things will remind you that you are still YOU!
The last thing I’ll say that I’ve been surprised by is the motherly instinct that kicks in the moment you are holding your baby. I was so nervous before Shiloh was born about SO many things – how will I know how to feed her or bathe her or soothe her?! Etc etc. The amount of immense love you feel for your baby the moment you meet them, and the motherly instinct that takes over will SHOCK you. I’ve only been a mom for 3 weeks and 3 days now but feel like i was born to do this, and it’s already my favorite thing in the entire world. So, fear not mommas to be! You’ve got this. Your body WILL bounce back, your motherly instincts WILL kick in…and it’s truly the most amazing and beautiful thing you will ever experience.
Okay YOUR TURN! What questions do you have about post partum? Or for my mommas out there, what was something that surprised you the most?! Let’s start a conversation about this in the comments below! Thanks for reading!