During the first day after you give birth you’ll feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster ride. Wave after wave of emotions will cascade over you and an overwhelming feeling of indescribable love will fill every cell in your body. You may not know how to react; it’s almost inevitable that there’ll be a few tears of happiness as you cradle your little bundle of joy in your arms. But aside from the extreme feelings of total elation, it’s also possible you’ll feel nothing at all, just blank exhaustion, relieved that the last nine months of your pregnancy have finally come to an end. Things are going to be changing too, for you and your family, forever from that moment on. It’s therefore not uncommon to feel a sense of worry and anxiety as you contemplate the times ahead; your home’s going to become a family home, you’re going to be responsible for the wellbeing of another living thing - your own flesh and blood - and you’re now a mum - a round-the-clock job for the next decade and a bit anyway.
It’s hard to describe and put into words what you’ll feel in those initial moments after you give birth, but we’ll give it a try.
15 Indescribable Joy and Happiness
Having a baby is a joyous adventure. But nothing compares to that feeling you’ll experience when the nurse hands you your baby for the first time and you cradle him/her in your arms.
In life everybody experiences love, hate, loss, sorrow, success, failure, but the feeling you’ll get when you set eyes on and hold your baby for the first time is a feeling that can’t be categorized. You’ll hold your baby, keep staring at your baby, then share the joy with your loved ones in the waiting room.
The special moment is when you touch your baby skin-to-skin for the first time. Put your finger in your baby’s hand and it will wrap around your finger – there’s that connection, the moment to saviour, but you won’t want to saviour it, you’ll be doing that time and time again over the next day or so - you’ll never get tired of that feeling.
14 Overcome with Love
Joy and happiness will make you want to show your baby to the world and shout about recent events from the rooftops, but love is something different, something deep within you that makes you go all warm and fuzzy inside. You may have experienced love before – loved/love a partner, parents, friends, siblings, etc. but this form of love is something entirely different. In the first day after you welcome your little one into the world, you’ll find yourself just staring at your baby and you’ll be completely infatuated with him/her. Everything your baby does will seem remarkable and so unbelievably cute – it’s your own flesh and blood, a love connection that will last a lifetime. The first twenty-four hours after giving birth is the first time you’ll meet your baby, learn your baby’s mannerisms and form that instant connection – a bond only a mother can experience.
13 Blank Nothingness
Whether you’ve gone through a long labor or the process was pretty uneventful, sometimes the process just becomes a bit too much to wrap your head around, too much to take in immediately after giving birth.
You hear stories of mums describing the feelings they got when they held their babes for the first time – feelings of love, joy and overwhelming happiness, and you just expect that it will be the same for you. You expect that your heart will explode with love, happiness and excitement, and a feeling of fulfilment will cascade through every cell in your body, but it doesn’t always work out like that – it’s not the same for everybody.
Don’t worry, you’re not evil, not a monster, it’s not uncommon. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be an unfit mum. Often people create lofty expectations in the minds, and this contributes to the underwhelming feeling you get when thing don’t live up to expectations. You’re tired, not thinking straight, but give yourself some time and often those feelings will all come rushing in all at once. You’ve been through a lot, so in those first twenty-four hours after giving birth, just chill – you certainly deserve it.
You want to enjoy your pregnancy, want to spend every waking moment with your new born in those initial stages after giving birth, but you’re just too tired and can’t seem to muster enough energy to do what you want.
Again this is to be expected and there’s no shame in wanting to sleep - sleep to your heart’s content after going through the rigours of giving birth because no one is more deserved of some shut eye than you. In fact, in the first twenty-four hours after giving birth, you shouldn’t be on your feet – leave it to others to pick up the slack and just rest and recuperate. When your baby’s resting, so should you.
Unless you’re superwoman and the incredible physical accomplishment of pregnancy and childbirth had no impact on your body and energy levels, you can expect to be tired, especially in those first moments after giving birth.
11 An Underwhelming Feeling
We’ve mentioned that you might feel underwhelmed or nothing at all in those hours after giving birth. But what about how other people react? You shouldn’t really care what other people think, even if they are loved ones and let what they might or might not say affect you, but inevitably it does. Very often you expect others to share the same amount of joy that you experienced, and when their reactions aren’t what you were expecting, it plays in your mind. But you’ve got to remember that other people also have stuff going on in their lives. Your parents may already have other grandchildren, your friends may have kids of their own and have seen it all before. It may also be the case that some people just don’t know what to say or how to react in these situations – it doesn’t mean that they’re not supportive. Don’t let the reactions of others get you down and play on your mind when you’re about to embark on this joyous journey of motherhood.
10 Scared and Apprehensive
It’s perfectly normal to feel scared and apprehensive, especially if you’re new to this and are a first time mother. There’s no parenting book in the world that will be able to offer you the perfect solution, so you’ll have to learn many things as you go. This can be a scary process and you’ll find that you’re constantly questioning yourself – “am I doing this right, what if I’ve forgotten something” etc. but you’ll get through it.
But in those first twenty-four hours don’t even worry about these things. If you’re in the hospital, the nurses will give you all the help you need during that initial period after giving birth, so there’s no need to worry about a thing.
It’s not uncommon to feel as you’re about to suffer a nervous breakdown. You may freak out over the tiniest of things – your partner’s late coming back from the shops and you might screen like a horror movie, but don’t worry, it’s all part of the process. It also has a lot to do with your hormone levels which will take time to get back to normal levels.
Tears of worry, tears of joy, tears of happiness – whatever the reason, be it one or a combination of all three, you may find yourself crying a lot that first day after you give birth. You may also just cry for no reason at all, just find yourself blubbering away uncontrollably. It’s those emotions that will make you teary-eyed, understandably so, but your hormones also have a big part to play. It’s a combination of your hormones and psychological state – your state of mind will obviously be a little frazzled after giving birth – that may make you suffer with the baby blues. You may find yourself crying as much as your baby during those initial stages, but don’t worry, it’s totally normal. Having said that, if your crying persists for longer than a few weeks, get some expert help and go and see your doctor.
8 Resentment Towards your Other Half
You may be a tad tetchy after giving birth – again understandably so – and just want time alone, just you and your baby. But if there’s going to be other people in the mix, whether it’s family, friends, loved ones or your partner, they’re all going to want a piece of the special moment. You may find that you snap, but if they have any sense at all, they’ll understand.
Your other half might feel the brunt of your emotions in the day after you give birth. While you’re resting having just gone through a possibly painful and laborious labor, your partner’s on his feet, is able to do as he pleases and this can piss you off no end. Feelings of resentment towards those around you is common and may make you snap from time to time, but again, if your partner is loving and isn’t burying his head in the sand, he’ll understand – it’s a minor thing that everyone will soon forgive and forget.
7 Your Breastfeeders
Many people feel like mothers should take to breastfeeding like a duck to water, but that’s not always the case. Yes, breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, but it may not feel like that, especially if you’re a first time mother. For some women it can be excruciatingly painful, not to mention frustrating if your baby doesn’t immediately latch on.
After the painful experience of labor, you may think that breastfeeding will be a walk in the park. But a number of potential problems could arise – your baby might not latch on or you might not lactate or have low milk supply. It may take some time to get used to and milk may take a few days to come and when it does, breastfeeding will feel like the most natural thing in the world. The crazy thing is that when you begin lactating, you may not be able to control it – you may lactate randomly which can be really annoying for obvious reasons.
If your boobs are sore and tender, invest in some nipple cream - ice packs can also do wonders.
6 You Miss your Pregnancy
Having just spent roughly nine months in labor, about a day ago I bet you couldn’t wait for your baby to shoot out. But when it does, it’s a different story. It feels weird to not have a baby growing and developing inside you. You look down and you can see your own feet – makes a change from the last few months of your pregnancy. You miss being pregnant because you’ve grown accustomed to it, you’ve gotten used to all the nuances of pregnancy, and now it’s over, for the time being anyway. For many people it’s a relief that it’s all over and done with, but others get a touch of the baby blues and miss that feeling of being pregnant and being an expectant mother. In those twenty-four hours after you give birth you may feel very nostalgic. There are two things you can do to combat this; just ride it out and get over it – you will do eventually – or get pregnant again!
5 Muscle Memory
The human body is a weird and wonderful thing and constantly surprises us. You’ll sure feel surprised when you feel your baby kicking in your womb…. especially since you’ve already given birth. This is enough to freak anyone out. “Do I have twins and is one just exceptionally late, is there an alien living in there?” are just some of the things you might be thinking, but be rest assured you’re not a host for an alien species and it’s unlikely the doctors missed the fact you’re having more than one baby. It’s just muscle memory. Muscle memory kicks in – your uterus has been used to these twitching movements and may take some time to settle. These so-called ‘phantom pregnancy’ kicks are due to muscle and nerve memory sensations that could start just hours after you give birth. Some women are more sensitive to their baby’s movements during pregnancy and are therefore likely to experience more of these phantom kicks, but they’ll soon die down once your body gets used to not being pregnant.
4 Find Yourself Hating Sex
Our aim here isn’t to scare you, but let’s face it, labor will be painful and when it’s all finished, certain body part will feel the effects more than others and it might take some time for them to return back to normal. You’ll be in pain, and so in this situation, sex for most people will be out of the question – unless you like that sort of thing that is.
But seriously, your body will take time to adapt to not carrying a baby. In those initial periods after giving birth, you might also continue to feel some involuntary movements such as phantom kicks, as we’ve just mentioned, but their might be other things, such as vaginal bleeding that will understandably deter you from having sex.
Having just had a baby, it’s unlikely that mothers will feel that sexy, but anyway, your sole focus is likely to be on your new born.
Hormones also have a big part to play and can wreak havoc with your libido. One moment you may find that you never want to have sex again, the thought of sex makes you want to puke, but the next you want to go at it with your partner like rabbits.
Make no bones about it, labor can be painful, very painful. Even if you use all the drugs in the world to make the process easier, you’re still going to feel some pain, if not during the pregnancy then definitely after it, when the effects of the medication wear off.
This can be tricky to get through and can mess with a lot of people’s minds. You think you’ve gotten through the worst of it, everything’s done and dusted, but then boom! something else happens to your body that you weren’t expecting.
This may include more contractions; contractions may not always stop when you give birth. Postpartum contractions are common – they’re cramps and you may feel intense cramping, especially within the first day after giving birth, although these tend to taper off in a few days.
Vaginal pain is also very common, the degree of which varies depending on how intense and painful your labor was. Again, we don’t want to give you a fright, but there could be tearing and light bleeding after giving birth.
2 Hair Falling Out
As if you haven’t been through enough, you may now have to deal with your hair falling out. Postpartum hair loss may occur due to your hormone levels being imbalanced. This may involve your body shedding more hair than usual, or unfortunately and in the worst circumstances, you could lose hair in clumps.
Don’t freak out when his happens. You don’t have an illness and your body isn’t changing permanently – it’s actually just your body and hormone levels trying to get back to normal, trying to establish a balance. By the time your baby has a full head of hair, your hair should have returned to normal.
There are things that you can do to help combat and slow down hair loss. Eat healthily, take supplements and avoid using coarse brushes, hair dryers and scrunchies.
As if your hair falling out wasn’t crazy enough, it may also change colour – you may start to notice white streaks for example - or it may start to grow in weird places. But not to worry, this shouldn’t last too long.
You’ve just given birth and have been sweating it out during labor in the delivery room. But you’ll also feel the heat after giving birth. Hot flushes and night sweats after giving birth are extremely common, so don’t fret if you feel yourself burning up or dripping with sweat – you’re not alone. Again, this can be attributed to those crazy but vital chemicals we call hormones. The process is essentially the same as when women go through menopause – it’s due to hormonal changes, but don’t worry you’re not going through the menopausal stage of your life yet.
Hot flushes are due to hormone changes, stress also plays a part, and it’s because your body has started to produce breast milk – causing your body temperature to raise by half a degree, according to independent midwife Jacqui Tomkins, from the London Birth Practice.
Hot flushes are totally normal and can start as soon as you’ve given birth – unfortunately just another crazy surprise your body might spring on you in those initial stages post-pregnancy.