Childbirth is such a wonderful thing – or so they say. Forget about the 9 months where mom-to-be sees her own body as a stranger. Forget about the extra weight on her waist, legs, and back. Forget the hellish scream and death wish during labor. Just forget aaaaaalllllllllllllllll those things because childbirth is supposed to be wonderful.
So after all the screaming and blaming their husbands, Obama and God for ruining their lives, the baby finally comes out and all of a sudden, the new mommies are calm again. It’s almost like the previous unending hours of misery never happened. They start smiling again and all is well. But is it really?
The first couple of weeks or months after child birth can be a real nightmare and the worst part is that Hollywood has always made us believe otherwise. In fact for some women - scratch that – all women, it is a new time of discovery. They experience all sorts of strange phenomena that even M. Night Shylaman and Stephen king couldn’t conceive of in their wildest dreams (no joke!).
If these women felt like strangers to their bodies before child birth, then it’s safe to say that the feeling after childbirth is not much different.
Sometimes it could even feel like that brief moment of relief after labor was a ‘commercial break’ in a TV series titled ‘Pain – How Much Of It Can Ya Really Take?’ It is crazy. Some of these post birth experiences are so shocking, it might make a woman think again. “Is that baby really necessary?” Is there another way out of this?”
Well sadly, there isn’t!
15 The Massage Immediately After
Finally, the baby is here. We are all happy. Now here comes the arrival of the first wave of pain for the new mother. Immediately after that beautiful bundle of joy plops out into the world, (okay, more like 20 minutes after), the mother has to sit – make that lie down and receive the most rigorous massage of her life.
Because hey, what’s a massage after the massive load that a woman pushed out of her nether regions, right? NOTE: This massage is to be done regularly for up to 40 days after childbirth.
Sometimes this massage is done by one of the nurses, but most times, it is done by two nurses. Because hey, after everybody’s has had a peek at the most intimate regions, why not let another 2 nurses have a go at the back, right? But that isn’t even the worst part. It’s the fact that this massage is excruciating, but sadly cannot be avoided.
And it should not be avoided because ‘the massage’ increases blood flow to the mother’s muscles, increases the amount of Oxytocin produced among other things.
14 Painful Breasts
Yup! In Harry Potter, the expansion of an object can be performed with a spell called ‘Engorgio’. After child birth, there is the Engorgio phase which is quickly followed by the ‘Crucio’ spell, ie the most excruciating pain known to man. This phase is what we dearly call the painful chest phase. This pain is maddeningly uncomfortable.
This is caused by milk filling up in the chest and though it doesn’t happen to all women often all the time, it will happen to a majority of women out there, at least once. This results in hard and heavy breasts and this should be expected to happen within the first few weeks of delivery. It is not a bad thing per se, but it is something new mommies have to deal with till they finish breastfeeding, which might be a couple of months.
The good news is that it gets easier as the months progress. Experts say the easiest way to deal with this is to let the baby feed on demand.
13 Vaginal Bleeding
Or red pee, like it is popularly called. It is a very heavy flow of blood which can last for up to ten days after delivery. This flow is usually accompanied by a discharge called ‘lochia’. This is not the end of the bleeding though, because light bleeding can occur for up to six weeks after delivery.
In the later stages, the blood gets lighter in color, giving off a pinkish look. At this stage, the body is trying to get rid of all the extra blood it had stored up in the past couple of months. Although it is a bloody (pun very much intended) experience, it is not painful and that is something women should be to be grateful for.
Because quite honestly, except for the baby women really don’t have much to look forward to when it comes to pregnancies.
Mothers are advised to use pads and not tampons to manage the flow because – well it is obvious isn’t it? Tampons can’t handle that type of bleeding.
12 Mood Swings
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You would think that once the baby is born that the mother would get rid of the bloody mood swings right? WRONG.
Mood swings are considered perfectly normal even after child birth. One minute she is fine and the next minute she is crying waterfalls. It is nothing to worry about as this is only the hormones are trying to balance themselves after being thrown off during the pregnancy. It usually subsides within three to four weeks after delivery.
However there are more severe cases known as postpartum depression and women who suffer from it have to endure it for much longer.
These mood swings are not always from happy to sad, it could be from happy to angry too, which not many people know. They can sometimes make a woman very aggressive. There have been extreme cases noted where mothers even attempted to harm their babies while in this state.
In such scenarios, professional help must be sought immediately. Of course there is a reverse side to this, new mommies can also as easily feel very energized and ecstatic for no reason at all.
11 A Disfigured Lady Part
There is a term – dilation – associated with a woman who is about to give birth. The cervix ripens or has to be ‘open enough’ to let the baby through. In most cases of a first time pregnancy, and even a second baby, the vagina has to be cut in order to bring the baby through.
This is then stitched and it takes more than a few months for everything down there to look normal again. During such times, it is normal for a woman to feel disgusted by the way she looks in her nether regions, but it is nothing to be concerned about. The only way not to have a funny-looking vagina is through a C-section.
It should be noted that for most women, those lady parts never go back to exactly how it looked before the baby came out. A good number of said women lose confidence in their mojo and have to go to a therapist, others move on acknowledging that they are not the only ones and they still ‘feel’ pretty down there.
10 Really Heavy Periods
Women who have just given birth can relate to this. The postpartum period in general goes on for about six weeks. After this time, a woman would begin seeing her monthly periods again.
The time for this is estimated at six weeks to five months depending on body chemistry and whether or not the mother is nursing. The first period after childbirth is described as annoyingly vengeful (whatever that means) and the cramps that come in this package are more discomforting and painful as well. So that’s a double whammy that no woman would ever want for herself.
The good news is that these heavy periods will only occur twice at the most. The only time these flows should become a concern is if the mom starts to feel exhausted really fast. A woman should pay attention to, and observe her body, as it changes so as to properly react in any given situation.
9 Waterfall Pee
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Is this like for real? First the periods, now this? Well sadly, the bad news just keeps piling on one after the other. We did promise brutally honest experiences, didn’t we?
The vagina is wider after childbirth, not to talk of the entire network of muscles around the pelvis. This is the stark reality, girls… ahem women, and it would take some pelvic exercises to return one’s pelvis to its former glory. And this is nothing to worry about. But what about the waterfall pees? Well, the term is urinary incontinence, and it is the inability to control one’s own bladder.
A new mom might find that she pees when she sneezes or laughs, taking her completely by surprise. This goes on for about three to six months after delivery and could be even longer for some women. During this period, experts say that women should avoid coffee, citrus, alcohol as these things make it harder to control the bladder.
A final word of advice to new moms - after that baby comes, just exercise, exercise…exercise.
8 Painful Time On The Toilet
Oh yeah! More on that 'pain' part. In medical terms, this is called postpartum rectal bleeding and it is caused by hemorrhoids. These wonderful hemorrhoids are caused by one of many things, and are quite common in the third trimester of a pregnancy (feel free to re-read the previous sentence as it needs to sink in).
So if a mother suffered hemorrhoids during pregnancy (sometimes it could be triggered by the ‘push’), chances are that the effects will linger till after the child is born.
It is uncomfortable and painful especially during the first few trips to the toilet after childbirth. This is not a permanent issue however. Home treatments are said to be all that is necessary to get rid of them. Mothers experiencing this should eat foods that are high in fiber (Fruits, vegetables, whole grain) in order to quickly end the reign of the hemorrhoids.
7 Hair Loss
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Our readers really thought that things couldn’t get any worse, didn’t they? Now this hair loss is not exactly on the same level as the hair loss in chemotherapy, but this is still on the sadder turn of events.
Turns out hair loss is not as strange as we may think and is quite common to ‘shed’ after child birth. This loss of hair is due to an estrogen decline in the body and usually occurs a few months after delivery – lasting for two to three months.
If a mother is not aware of this beforehand, it could freak her out because she’d definitely think she is losing all her hair. But that ain’t the truth. And to balance things out - during pregnancy, more hair is produced due to an incline in estrogen level and a soon-to-be mom would be happy that she has fuller and thicker hair.
So really moms are only losing the extra hair that had grown during the pregnancy, although some women do lose more.
6 Feeling Dirty Constantly
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One way or another, every single woman who has just given birth, feels dirty. This feeling may come as a result of the mood swings, the excessive bleeding, or the smear of milk all over her chest while nursing the baby. It takes new mommies about 18 months to feel clean again and get their confidence back.
In addition to feeling dirty, sure they also feel fat and unattractive (more of a psychological thing, really). And while 18 months is not a short time, knowing that this feeling is normal will help a woman to stay calm and not over-react during this period. Partners are advised to ‘up’ the compliment level at this point so as to aid the woman on her journey to get her confidence back.
After all, what’s a little lying to keep the lady of the house feeling happy and content, right?
5 Constant Lack Of Sleep
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Maternal instincts are so wonderful - and weird. A mother knows when her baby is hungry, when her baby is happy, and when her baby may be in danger. And of course, that instinct is in overdrive in the first few months after delivery.
And since a baby’s sleep pattern is not the same as his mom’s, she would find herself waking up in the night as often as her baby is up, and sometimes even when he’s not up. Remember, she can sense these things because her senses are very finely tuned to this.
Experts say that a new born baby sleeps for about 15 hours a day, so understanding a baby’s sleep pastern can help mom cope better with this change in her sleep schedule. Waking up unnecessarily, staying up late etc can result in sleep deprivation, which could in turn lead to hallucinations while awake.
If a mother experiences any such thing, it must be reported to a medical professional as soon as they are noticed.
4 A Sudden Diet Change
Still on the matter of being a stranger to one’s body, the fat that comes with being pregnant in the case of most ladies is something that won’t go away just by exercising. During pregnancy, a woman always experiences a lot of strange cravings, mostly because her body needs fat in order to properly line the womb (this fat is used as a cushion for the baby in there).
When the child is born, the mother is stuck with that fat, and to lose it, a diet change is necessary.
As much as they would like to lose the cellulite ASAP, it is advised not to start diet restriction too soon – mothers are asked to wait at least six weeks postpartum before changing their diet. Also if a mother is breastfeeding, she is advised to wait until the baby is at least six months before she embarks on any kind of diet change.
3 Terrifying Nightmares
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Hours and hours of labor can be traumatizing and possibly emotional scarring for a lot of women. This emotional trauma can manifest itself in nightmares, and women sometimes experience nightmares even up to six months after the delivery. Most of these dreams revolve around the delivery itself.
Others are usually about the baby being in danger and they wake up wanting to make sure the baby is okay. There are reported cases of moms who repeatedly had dreams of literally being overwhelmed with babies to the extent that they would wake up choking.
Just like it is with sleep deprivation, more severe cases could involve hallucinations. So a second eye on the baby in the first couple of months is advised. Well, like earlier stated, only women who have given birth will relate to this kind of experience.
As of now, there is just ‘cure’ for this postpartum phase.
2 Having To Sit In Hot Water
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This is not so practiced in the Western world due to the advancement of medical science. But in continents like Asia and Africa however, it is common for a new mom to sit in hot water (not burning water) and it helps with the cleansing of the womb.
The woman is sits in the water and lets the steam emanating from it, engulf her body. It’s kind of like being in a steam bath, ya know, the one that lodges up in the mountains have.
This method is slowly catching up in the West, especially when it comes to treating vaginal tears. Take a bucket of warm water (not hot) and add a few drops of an antiseptic like Dettol. Then sit on the bucket so that the steam can reach up to your nether regions. This steam acts as a deterrent for the growth of bacterial or fungal infections. Continue till the vaginal tear has completely healed
1 The Crying
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Not the tears of the mother – she probably exhausted her quota of tears during labor and during her mood swings. The crying here refer to the tears of the baby. Babies cry! And they cry so, so, soooooooooo much. Babies cry when they’re hungry, sleepy, bored and sometimes they cry for no fathomable reason.
Needless to say, this can get increasingly frustrating for a mother who’s cooped up in her home with nothing for company except for a baby that’s constantly either eating, pooping or crying.
But know that these baby cries are not a bad thing. They are the baby’s way of saying that they are dependent on their mother and that they want her around – it is a twisted concept, but that is how it works in their head.
These babies don’t know that it is uncomfortable to wake their moms up from sleep but that is them saying they want the mother around and that they care. So all that one has to do is be patient when dealing with crying babies.