5 Things New Moms Never Talk About
Becoming a mama is an amazing and wonderful thing, filled with experiencing a love like no other and finding pure joy and happiness being with the little love you created. But it also comes with a lot of sacrifices and unexpected changes most of us are never truly prepared for or talk about after experiencing.
But why don’t we talk about the mama’s postpartum journey as much as we do the baby’s? If it could help even one fellow mama, I'm all for talking about it.
Today, I'm one month postpartum and want to share with you 5 things new moms don't talk about:
1. Unexpected Postpartum Pain
It hurts to deliver! Whether vaginally or via c-section, there's a healing that needs to happen after a mama has a baby...and it takes time! Doctors say it's 6 weeks for vaginal and 8 weeks for caesarean, but every woman heals differently. As Marcy Crouch, aka “the Down There Doc,” shared with us at Happy Mom Conference, the pelvic floor does not fully heal at 6 weeks for most women who deliver vaginally.
There is so much your body goes through during labor and has to heal from. Especially if you tear, perineum pain is common in those first days or even weeks, and sitting becomes nearly impossible. Luckily, with Max, I had the smallest, minor tear, but with my other two boys I had second and third degree tears which took a long time to heal.
No matter how much you do or don’t tear, bleeding for days and even weeks after giving birth is typical. Something else we don’t talk about is that we’re essentially wearing diaper-style underwear gifted to us from the hospital those first few days postpartum. In some cases we’re even putting ice packs or witch hazel pads down there to ease pain and reduce swelling. It’s not pretty, but it’s so real and every mom goes through it to some extent.
2. Long-term or permanent physique changes
There are a good few months after having a baby where I don't wear jeans, period. I just can't. I'm a size 1-2 normally, and I refuse to buy any bigger, because 1. it won't help motivate me to lose the weight, and 2. it becomes a waste if I plan on getting back to my normal size regardless. I stick to loose-fitted rompers and flowy dresses and sweat pants, like the ones I recommended here.
But even after getting back to my normal weight, I've noticed permanent changes with my figure, like curvier hips and bigger breasts (especially while I'm breastfeeding). After my first pregnancy, I went from a B-cup to a D-cup and then settled into a C-cup after I was done breastfeeding!
Our skin, hair, and nails also change after having a baby! Even now I’m noticing my fingernails are just a tiny bit weaker, I’m getting some breakouts, and I’ve had a little bit of hair loss but I’m expecting to get that bigger hair loss that usually hits me around two to three months postpartum.
3. Modesty is a thing of the past
I was hesitant to nurse in public with my first baby, Ryan, in the beginning...but then I realized he needs to eat and who cares what anyone has to say about that?! Now, with Max, I nurse him whenever he is hungry, no hesitation. After you expose yourself to a room full of doctors and nurses during labor and delivery, having to then figure out how to discreetly feed your new baby while in public just becomes a nuisance more than anything. There's only one rule: baby's needs come first!
4. Friendships will change
It can be hard to maintain relationships with friends who don’t have kids. It can also be hard to maintain friendships with fellow mamas who aren’t like-minded in parenting style. With all of the changes that come with becoming a mama, finding your tribe is so important. It’s one of the reasons I started the Happy Moms community, because sometimes you just need a community of like-minded mamas to talk to on your journey.
And friendships continue to change as your child gets older. Now, with Ryan and Leo in preschool, they've formed friendships and have opinions on who they want to hang with, so I've made friends with their friends' moms and it's been a whole new set of mamas added to my circle.
I do still have a few friends with no kids, and although it's gotten harder and harder to see one another as my days are filled with things related to my kids and family, when I do see them it's so refreshing to be able to spend time with friends and not talk about kids or parenting and just enjoy!
5. How hard it is to remember self-care
Self-care is something I talk about a lot on the blog, because it is one of the hardest things to remember as a mom…especially when you have a newborn! It’s just so easy to put your kids’ needs first and not make time for yourself. Whether it’s a night out with a girlfriend, a day pampering yourself, or just taking a longer shower once a week like I do, it’s important to prioritize you so you can be your best self for your kiddos.
And I know, I know, this isn’t easy. Some sacrifices you just can’t help, like feeding your newborn three (or more) times a night. That’s how much Max is getting up these days, which is actually really good. But it takes like 30-45 minutes to feed him on both sides, change him, and get him back down and comfortable, so I’m tired. I’m like a zombie during the day these days. And, have I told you I don't drink coffee? I don't drink coffee! But even if we can’t help the lack of sleep or time to ourselves, it’s important to do our best to make time for self-care wherever we can!
Mamas rarely talk about how much "me" time changes after having kids. The message mamas should share with their friends who don't have kids yet is to not take your time for granted because once you have kids, finding time for yourself and time to spend with your significant other will be a challenge!
I will say, though, you become super efficient as a parent because you have no other choice haha! Washing the poop-stained sheets can't wait for laundry day, and you need diapers now, not tomorrow when you plan on running to the store. There's a new sense of urgency that comes along with becoming a parent and your life is truly never the same. It's a beautiful and chaotic thing all at once!
What's a change you experienced in postpartum that no one prepared you for? Let me know in comments!