A note from Alice: Today, we have a featured guest on our blog! Monika writes about beauty, fashion, marriage, motherhood, and lifestyle. In her blog, she focuses on her personal successes and struggles so others can learn from them as well. She has a wonderful story and AMAZING advice for other mommies out there!
I am already three months postpartum and I can’t believe how fast time is going by. Postpartum recovery and healing after birth were very different than I had imagined! There are some things that have come to me as a surprise and things I have learned. I think your postpartum journey is similar to your birth plan/story. Usually, nothing goes exactly according to plan and you never know what to expect. But hey, it’s totally okay! Today I wanted to share with you all the seven things I WISH I knew about postpartum recovery.
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7 Things I WISH I Knew About Postpartum Recovery
1. It takes time (all of it takes time)
Coming home from the hospital, I looked just about the same size as I did before giving birth. This was shocking to me because I assumed once the baby was delivered, a majority of that big belly would have deflated.
Weeks went by and every single morning I would look in the mirror to see if there was any progress; if my belly was reduced in size at all. It felt like it was never going to go away. For those who don’t know me, I am a very impatient person and I expect to see change instantly! It typically takes your uterus six weeks to go back to its pre-pregnancy size, but of course, I had wanted that to happen faster because I always see women having babies and then back in their bikinis three days later.
Although the doctors kept telling me to take it slow, I’m not one to sit still, so I made sure to be as active as I could around the house to hopefully speed up the weight loss process.
I started going on long walks with my little family by the 3rd week postpartum to try and get some exercise in. I soon realized that on days that I did too much, my belly wasn’t going down. In fac,t it would look even more bloated!!
The days I relaxed and stayed in bed, that’s when I actually started to see my body going into recovery and doing its job! It is so important to realize that everything will happen in its own time. It took your body nine months to grow a human inside: nine months of your body constantly changing. You have to give your body the time it needs.
So don’t be so hard on yourself like I was, it really does take time.
A Note From Alice: This is SO true! I expected my body to heal PRONTO after baby. When I got home from the hospital, I was shocked to see that I had lost 5 pounds. Our baby had weighed 5.13! The absolute best thing to help with healing is to prep a postpartum kit (see the list below, that has been featured on Amazon!). This will help you heal quickly with comfort and get you back to where you want to be.
2. Prepare your postpartum kit
Prepare your kit at least in your third trimester. Here are 9 absolutely necessary items:
- Very quickly, you will run out of those giant pads from the hospital. You also (like me) may not have been madly in love with them. Stock up on Always Maxi (overnight extra heavy flow with wings). They are not as bulky and the wings provide extra space for any leakage.
- You will also run out of those gauzy, ugly as heck but amazing disposable underwear the hospital gives you. Or they may give you none. Save yourself the trouble and buy your own postpartum maternity (post-surgical) disposable underwear just like the hospital has.
- Also, the hospital provided Tucks Medicated Healing Pads to place directly on the maxi pad for relief. They are little round (3″) pads with witch hazel and I cannot tell you how much they relieved the burning and itching. Ah-mazing.
- When you want to graduate into actual underwear (and ditch the diaper feel) I would advise having a pack of ridiculously comfortable underwear on hand like these boy short boxer brief panties. Postpartum, I was thanking God that I had those boy short underwear. I liked how they didn’t ride up and they were super comfortable.
- Make sure to add a good panty liner like Always thin dailies as you transition to normalcy. I personally, liked Always liners the best because they were comfortable and effective.
- First off, I know those DIY “padsicles” are like all the rage but I’ve been there, done that and they were TERRIBLE (in my personal experience). If I wanted to freezer burn my painfully injured vagina then padsicles would definitely be the way to go. On the other hand, when I wanted actual pain relief and comfort, these medicated cooling pads (like they have at the hospital) were MUCH better!
- The hospital also gives you this cheapo little bottle to squirt warm water down there every single time you go to the bathroom called a peri bottle. It sucks and it’s not an option. However, there is a MUCH better alternative. Fridababy makes a peri-bottle called the Fridet with a nozzle specifically designed to be held upside down, giving you much more control with each use.
- When you leave the hospital, chances are you will receive Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray and you will be thankful as heck. The nurse told me, “Never forget to use this each and every time you go to the bathroom.” The problem is, that’s a lot of spraying so we had to go out and find two additional cans. Save yourself the hassle and have it ready beforehand! I can’t stress this enough. Another similar spray gaining momentum is Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray. It’s a more natural product and I’ve heard raving reviews.
- Prepare to have sitz baths. They are SUPER healing and fantastic for postpartum recovery. Buy a simple plastic cover that sits neatly over your toilet like this top Amazon sitz bath by Yunga Tart and use a high-quality Epsom salt made specifically for these types of baths like Epsoak Epsom Salt (which is Amazon’s #1 choice). I linked the large bag because sitz baths are usually recommended 2-3 times a day! That’s a lot of Epsom salt.
Check out “The Ultimate Postpartum Recovery List” on Amazon here
3. The incision really freakin’ hurts
Obviously, I knew there would be some type of pain associated with my c-section recovery but never did I imagine the pain I have actually felt.
For me personally, I had intense burning on the incision site which hurt every time I moved. Breastfeeding was challenging because of the pain. Sitting down and getting back up again felt like torture, and trying to make my way to the bathroom was nearly impossible. Once I made it to the bathroom, I had to hold on to the door frame or wall just to lift myself up again.
There were many tears shed from the pain of doing normal everyday things but what hurt the most was not being able to hold or carry my baby. My husband had to really step up and play the role of mom and dad while doing everything I wish I could’ve been the one doing for my baby.
A Note From Alice: Some mommies-to-be need to know how to prepare for postpartum recovery and unplanned c-Sections as well as delivery options/risks. Check out Hilary Erickson’s FREE prenatal class to prepare and take it at your own pace from home. She’s an RN with over 16 years experience in labor and delivery.
4. Don’t put your pre-pregnancy jeans on right away
Okay, you’ve been pregnant for what feels like years and you’re dying to get back into your favorite skinny jeans and bodycon dresses right?
Girl, save yourself the disappointment and hold off on that for a little bit.
This was totally me a few weeks after coming home from the hospital. Once my c-section incision started to heal and I felt human again, I ran to my closet and pulled out all my favorite clothes I haven’t worn in over 9 months. To my surprise, nothing buttoned and nothing fit how it used to.
I instantly felt so much fear that I will never fit those clothes again; that this is my new body forever. I’m a little dramatic like that and my husband would agree. My advice is to wait a little before you start trying on clothes that most likely are still too small on your recovering body. You can’t expect miracles to happen overnight.
Today being three months postpartum, I still can’t fit everything that I used to, but I can fit a lot more of my clothes than I did trying them on three weeks after having a baby.
Once I was cleared at my 6-week visit to exercise, I came home and got right down to it. I honestly didn’t do much exercising during my pregnancy, which I regretted, so getting back into working out again has been extremely challenging. I am now exercising 3-4 days a week, taking it slow for now because my body has to ease back into it and I am also eating much cleaner and healthier. I gave up soda, fast foods, and I take it easy on the sweets.
5. The bleeding is no joke
Everyone always makes comments about bleeding after a baby, but boy oh boy I had no idea just how much bleeding there would be and for how long. Of course this may be different for every woman but personally, this came to me quite a surprise. There is nothing sexier than those jumbo pads you need to wear or hospital mesh underwear, ladies am I right? It is also really important to monitor your bleeding to make sure that it’s not “too” heavy or that you don’t have golf ball size clots.
6. Baby blues
I’ve heard about postpartum depression but never really heard much about the “baby blues”. I really didn’t know what that meant or how it would feel until I started to question myself.
I was feeling sad all the time.
I read up online about it, and I started to realize that those baby blues were real and they were starting to hit me. I was very emotional about everything. I hated when it got dark outside, because I knew that meant bedtime and that my baby would wake up one day older in the morning.
The counting of his days on Earth was scaring the crap out of me. I didn’t want my baby getting older. I didn’t want my husband going back to work and leaving me alone with a newborn. I was scared. I was nervous. I was tired. My baby blues luckily passed after a few weeks and I wasn’t affected by postpartum depression following it.
However, it is more common than you’d think and postpartum depression really is serious so don’t be afraid to get help if you need it!
A Note From Alice: Postpartum depression can creep up on even the toughest, Wonder Women out there. It happened to me, and I was shocked. I discarded it till one disastrous morning when something happened that I’ll never forget. Read about it here (and make sure you understand postpartum depression) Postpartum Depression: 10 Questions Moms Must Ask.
7. You need to stop comparing yourself to others
This one is huge!
You have to realize not everybody will need the same amount of time to recover. Some people need more time and others less. I feel like my recovery has definitely been more on the slower side, but I’m starting to accept it and stay positive.
I am doing as much as I can control and the rest, I am just letting my body do its thing. It is extremely discouraging when we see people like Kylie Jenner who will have a baby and the next day they are back to their pre-pregnancy weight, with not one stretch mark on their body and you wonder why that’s not you.
Don’t get caught up in other people’s life. Focus on you, on your journey, and make the best of it.
Whatever your new “mom” body looks like, just remember that body was home to your perfect little babe, it protected and nurtured your little one for nine whole months, and in the end, I bet we can all say it was worth it!
8. There’s going to be lots of loose and stretched out skin
Okay, so maybe you’re a lucky one with great collagen and genes but unfortunately, some of us aren’t as lucky when it comes to bouncing right back into our pre-pregnancy bodies.
As I mentioned before, I had some high hopes my body would be back to normal as soon as I birthed my baby. Unfortunately, once my uterus went back to its normal size and the weight started to come off, all the loose stretched out skin started to make its appearance.
My doctor tells me it’s because my skin was so stretched out during pregnancy since my son was over 8lbs at birth. This is something I definitely didn’t expect!
Always remember one thing: love yourselves mamas, and be proud of the little life you have created.
No matter how much you try to prepare and study for the perfect pregnancy, labor, or postpartum recovery, no two people are the same and everyone experiences these things differently. But no matter what, it is good to prepare however you can. My postpartum recovery may be completely different from yours, but it doesn’t mean one journey is better than the other.
Love yourself, love your journey, and most importantly love your baby.
Hi, I’m Monika, a 26-year-old who loves to write about fashion, beauty, and family life. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for two years and recently became a mommy to a sweet little boy whom we named Roman Liam. I believe in being 100% honest with my readers and always staying true to myself which I hope you can appreciate in my writing.
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