When a woman has a baby, her entire life changes immediately. Her days of sleeping in and taking daily showers are over. Her hormones will be all over the place and she'll lose track of time so often that the days just start to blur together into one long, sleepless trainwreck. It's no wonder that many new moms tend to hide away for a couple of months. They might not even reply to text messages!
There's simply too much going on to reply to everyone, and some things are far too intimate to talk about. No matter how close you are to your best friend, you can't deny that there are some things better left unsaid.
You're sweaty, tired, emotional, and you haven't pooped since before your baby was born. Those aren't things that most people typically want to share, especially when we're constantly bombarded with Facebook pictures of friends from high school, perfectly posing with their newborns. Little do you know, everyone who has had a baby has been through at least some of the same things as you. Don't worry, you can let your hair down a little bit (even if it's greasy and unwashed). There's no need to keep everything to yourself, especially if you suspect you may be suffering from postpartum depression. Some things, on the other hand, are probably best kept a secret.
Look, I'm not really one to jump on board with the whole "Oh, I'm a mom, I never have time to shower anymore!" I truly do think some women play it up a bit. Honestly, just make the time to shower! Surely you have 10 minutes to yourself every few days at least, right?
However, for moms with newborns, it's a different story. It's not uncommon for women to go several days in between showers, especially when they're learning how to breastfeed. Your baby might be attached to you for 18-20 hours out of the day, and when you finally have just a few minutes in between nursing sessions, can you really blame a gal for choosing to relax or nap instead of showering? And if you're in pain from giving birth and you're not allowed to take a bath yet, yeah, that's a hard pass. I'll do it tomorrow.
There's no way to sugar coat it: After you give birth, you most likely will be constipated. For a long time. In fact, TMI, I think I went almost two weeks without going. And it's not fun. It's not really something that most women talk about because it doesn't get much more personal than that. Doctors will warn you about it, but you figure it won't be too big of a deal. Think again!
Whether you go a few days or two weeks, it's often painful and definitely adds on to the stress of having a new baby. I certainly never thought I'd break down crying on the toilet, begging to just GO. Did I tell anyone? Nope. I suffered silently while eating every food I could think of that might help.
Continuing on with the last topic, when you finally do go, it's not a fun experience. In fact, it's about as far from fun as you can imagine. It is the most painful poop you'll ever take in your entire life. Especially if you had an episiotomy.
You've been backed up for gosh knows how long, you've been eating whatever you can get your hands on that might help move things along down there, and it's finally here. The time has come. And you wish you could go back and eat more bananas and cheese so you wouldn't be in the position you're in right now. You'd give anything to change your mind on the whole situation and return to having cramps and the urge to push without anything actually happening. Do I need to elaborate? Nope. I think you get the idea.
Many women expect to feel this amazing connection with their baby as soon as they're born, or at least within the first few weeks. The reality is, it doesn't always happen right away. It's really easy to spiral down into despair because new moms will often think that something is wrong with them, or that they're not good parents. That's far from the truth!
It's not unusual to feel weird or even uncomfortable holding your baby for the first time. After all, you really don't even know them yet. Suddenly they exist, and you have to adjust to that. This isn't always an indication of postpartum depression, but you should definitely watch for other signs as well. Mostly, it's just a matter of time. Some women report feel disconnected from their babies for months, and in some cases, even years. Though it's not uncommon, many women will keep these feelings to themselves, afraid to say the words out loud.
Let's talk about pee. The crazy amount of pee you will encounter as a new parent is ridiculous. It's disgusting, really. And if you have a baby boy, oh man. Forget about it. Your hair, your clothes, your furniture, you name it - it will all be covered in urine at one point or another.
When you're exhausted, in pain, and already feeling gross, it's easy to just brush it off. Throw some paper towels on it, give it a quick little clean, and move on. And if a tiny bit of pee gets on the only clean shirt you have, oh well. It might have the least amount of pee or spit up out of all of your clothes. You're not just going to change over a little bit of urine. Don't be ridiculous.
If you're in any Facebook groups for moms, you've likely seen posts about how awful husbands are. Many women tend to go through a phase where they absolutely cannot stand their significant other during those first few months with a new baby. I'm fully against dad-bashing, but I can definitely see their point sometimes. I mean, can you really blame ladies for feeling a little resentful that their body is (in their eyes) "ruined", that they have to wake up several times a night, and that they never get a moment alone. Meanwhile their significant other sleeps through the night and has the same body he did when they met. It doesn't usually last forever, but it's interesting that so many women feel this way right after having a baby. Some are open about it, while others try to save face by acting like their relationship is peachy keen.
Just because you're sent home after birth does not mean your body is done healing. In fact, most women continue to bleed for weeks after going home. The doctors will warn you about what to watch out for, but for the most part, you're on your own.
Look, I won't get too graphic, but the things coming out of you after you go home are pretty horrific sometimes. Some women still have some uh... stuff in there, and well, it has to come out somehow. The whole ordeal will leave you amazed at what your body can go through. I mean, seriously! Women deal with all of this, while taking care of a newborn. However, as amazing as it is, it's also pretty gross. Let's just say, you'll be wearing diaper-sized pads for quite some time.
Hormones are all over the place after giving birth! You might think things were rough during pregnancy, but boy, is it crazy after having the baby. It is far from over after welcoming your new bundle of joy into the world!
Some days new moms feel like they're completely losing their mind. Whether they blew up on their husband or mom, or they cry uncontrollably out of nowhere, things can get pretty crazy. It's not something most people feel like talking about, and many women just shove it down until it passes. If you think your friend might be going through a lot emotionally, I can guarantee you that she'd love it if you reached out, even just as a shoulder to cry on.
When you have to wake up every 2 hours to feed a newborn, midnight snacks become inevitable. And, unless you're just a beast at life, and you totally have everything together, a lot of the time it won't be a healthy, well-rounded little snack. It will be whatever you have around that's easy and delicious, because dangit, you're up at 3:45am, you deserve a HoHo, a bag of chips, and a microwave corndog. Just kidding, but really. Most moms can remember slipping up and eating something totally disgusting(ly delicious) at least a time or two in the middle of the night. Guess it's time to turn on Netflix and eat with the baby! No reason to force some raw veggies down when you're half asleep and cranky. Grab that ice cream, Mama! Just don't make it a habit, because that's a slippery slope that's way harder to crawl out of than it is to get into.
When you deliver a baby naturally, it's no secret that things change down there. I mean, you did just push a 5-10 pound human being out of a tiny hole. Most women have episiotomies or they tear, making things even scarier.
When I had my son, I didn't dare look down there, touch anything down there, or even think about it, really. I know I can't be alone on that. It's almost like it's a coping mechanism. Deep down you know what your body just went through, but the only way to not freak the heck out is to just push it to the back of your mind and leave the whole topic alone. It's probably a source of curiosity for other women who haven't had kids yet, but honestly, if someone asked me what things were like down there, my answer would straight up be: I have no freakin' clue. It hurt! I had to use a little squirt bottle to clean myself after using the restroom, instead of using toilet paper. That's all I know.
It comes as a shock to many new moms, when they see their friends growing up and starting families of their own. The pictures on Facebook that would make even the craziest party-girl a tad envious and those adorable holiday cards that make everyone say 'aww'. But guess what, it really isn't anything like that! Of course, motherhood is beautiful and rewarding in so many ways. But what you don't see on social media is the nights that new moms spend broken down emotionally and completely worn out physically. The times they cried when they looked at their droopy tummy in the mirror. The stupid fights they have with their spouse over who changed the last poopy diaper. Because of this image we all have in our head of what parenthood will be like, many women choose to continue to put off this vibe that everything is picture-perfect all the time. No crying or yelling over here, nothing but beautiful baby coos and funny jokes about coffee and wine.
The sudden drop in estrogen levels after delivering a baby can make even the simplest of activities turn into a situation where you instantly need a shower. It's not sexy. At all. It really just adds insult to injury. Oh you bent over to pick up a pen that you dropped? Covered in sweat. You thought you could climb the stairs without feeling like a pig? Ha! Think again! It's something most of us will try to hide or play off, because, there's no nice way to put it - it's nasty.
I remember waking up in a puddle of sweat on several occasions after having my son. I can even recall a few hot flashes! Thank goodness it doesn't last for long because I don't know if I could put up with it.
Yes, it's true. Those beautiful luscious locks you grew due to the high levels of estrogen during pregnancy may indeed start falling out postpartum. It can be an embarrassing thing for anyone, but women in particular have it pretty rough when it comes to hair loss. Hair is many women's pride and joy - an extension of themselves almost. It can make a statement, practically change the way other people view us, and it certainly can alter the way we feel about ourselves. My hair has thinned out quite a bit since having my son, but it didn't get too bad. I know I found hair all over my room constantly, especially during those first few months. It wasn't too severe, and even still, I didn't really feel like talking about it with anyone. Can you blame a girl? Most of us would probably just try to hide the issue unless it got out of control.
Remember the good ol' days, when you used to snuggle up with your honey after a long day at work? When you would rip each others' clothes off like they do in the movies? Those days become virtually non-existent for many couples after having a baby. Lack of time and lack of sex drive can really kill your intimate relationship with your significant other.
Something that used to come naturally can become something you have to really work at, and many women don't have the energy to do anything after having a baby. And I'm talking about even after the 6-week period is over. Some people are comfortable sharing this information with anyone, while some don't even feel comfortable talking about it with their bestie.
At the end of the day, the absolute biggest secret that new moms keep to themselves is that they have no idea what they're doing, and they need help. There are several reasons for this. For me, I truly just wanted to figure it out for myself, and I'm sure many other women feel the same. Other women simply stink at asking for help, or accepting it when it's offered. If you need help, reach out! For gosh sake's woman! There is no need to kill yourself over taking care of everything on your own. It's not even the natural way things happen. Haven't you heard the saying, "it takes a village"? It does! Women used to breastfeed each others' babies like it was nothing, so the new mom in the group could rest or eat without a child attached to her. There is no shame in asking for help.