The majority of the time, when you tell someone that you’re expecting, their response is something along the lines of, “Congratulations! Your life is about to change so much”. And that’s where they stop! Everyone loves to warn you about these “big changes” to come, but no one ever tells you what they actually are! Fast forward to a few days after you bring your little one home and suddenly you’ll know what they meant. You’ll wish that someone, anyone, had given you a better idea of what was about to happen to your mind, your body, your home, your relationships, to help you prepare yourself. These are the things that I wish someone would have told me and a few quick tips on how to make the postpartum transition as easy as possible.
Your Hair Will Fall Out
This can be really scary if you’re not prepared for it. I remember brushing my hair after getting out of my weekly shower (Ha! Once a week, whether you need it or not, ladies!) to find that my hair was coming out at a really alarming rate. We’re talking cleaning the hair brush out every day type stuff here. I did what we all do when confronted with some kind of mysterious bodily symptom; I consulted Google. Turns out this is completely normal and it happens to almost everyone. And yet no one had ever thought to mention this to me! It happens because your hair falls out at a slower rate while you’re pregnant, so it plays a cruel game of catch up after. Ugh! The good news is, you should be back to your normal, luscious self by the time your little one is 6 months to one year old. In the meantime, you can keep taking your prenatal vitamins, limit excessive hair washing and heat styling (which we all know you’ll be doing anyways, whether you like it or not), try to tie hair up loosely when you do need to put it up (consider a loose braid, ponytail, or bun and use soft ponytail holders or oh-so-fashionable scrunchies), and use a wide tooth comb instead of a brush. For my dark haired Mamas, my go-to dry shampoo can also help. Its tinted so it gives the appearance of thicker hair at the roots. Its super affordable and doesn’t smell nearly as strong as some of the other dry shampoos that I have tried. You can buy it here. Long haired Mamas beware, your hairs can get wrapped around little one’s fingers and toes and it hurts. If your babe seems to be crying for no reason, make sure that isn’t what is causing it.
You Will Cry For No Reason
When I went into my OBGYN for my 6 week postpartum check up, she asked me, “How has your mood been?” I thought for a second, and told her it hadn’t been terrible but at least once a day I was finding myself crying for absolutely NO reason. Her response was, “Um… Yeah! Thats because the first couple weeks SUCK!” And she’s right. Everyone tells you about how you’ll have so much love for this new little person, and you will, but the first couple weeks are really really hard. This will easily be the most exhausted, scared, and overwhelmed that you will ever be. You are sent home with this little person that cries seemingly nonstop and has so many needs that have to be met, but you will have no idea what you’re doing. Frankly, I’d be more worried if you didn’t cry. Recognize that these feelings are most likely normal. Use your partner, your friends, or your family to lean on for all of the support that you need. All of that being said, postpartum depression (PPD) is very real and very common. If you suspect that what you’re feeling is more than just being a little overwhelmed, you should absolutely contact your doctor immediately. There are treatments that are safe, even for breastfeeding Mamas. PPD is a biological condition. It does not mean that you are weak or that you do not love your child. It can happen to anyone and getting the help that you need makes you my personal hero.
You Will Be Terrified To Go To The Bathroom
You literally just had a human being exit your body. If you aren’t afraid to go to the bathroom after that, you’re a much braver woman than I am. You’ll most likely be taking a lot of pain medication that can make it especially hard to go to the bathroom, making matters even worse. Throw in some stitches if you had any tearing during delivery and you’ve got something straight out of your worst nightmare. I suggest buying stool softeners before you deliver so you’ll have them handy when you get home. Take the highest possible dose. You’ll be glad you did.
You Will Most Likely Still Look Pregnant
“Aw! When are you due?” asks the evil woman in line behind you at the drug store. “Two months ago! Thanks,” you reply. This is an actual conversation from my actual life that I actually had. For a while after delivery, you’ll still have lots of fluid in your body, your organs will still be all rearranged, and you will have some baby weight. You should! To maintain a healthy pregnancy, you have to gain some amount of weight to make sure that you and baby are getting all of the nutrients that you need. It took you 9 to 10 months to put on this weight. It will very likely take you just as long, if not longer (seriously, who has time to work out?) to lose it. You may never lose it. That is also okay. Rest assured that even if you don’t lose any weight immediately (or ever), you will absolutely not look pregnant for the rest of your life. In the meantime, give that evil drug store lady a mental middle finger and go home and snuggle your sweet baby up against your soft, squishy belly.
You Will Bleed… For Longer Than You Expect
Obviously, some amount of bleeding is expected, but no one tells you just how much. Especially for breastfeeding Mamas, constant or off-and-on bleeding can be expected for up to two months. It will eventually get less and less heavy, but it will still be there. They will give you these weird mesh underwear in the hospital and show you how to put not one, but two maxi pads in them. Lovely. My number one advice to you is to swallow your pride and buy some adult diapers to bring with you to the hospital. It sounds silly and unnecessary, but I promise you it is so much more comfortable. All of the nurses will be very impressed with how wise you were to have that kind of forethought. I know getting praise for buying adult diapers to bring to the hospital just sound like a dream come true. So glamourous. You’ll only need to use these for a few days and after that is when the oh-so-sexy mesh underwear and maxi pads will come in handy. Seriously though, buy them here. You’ll be glad you did.
You May Not Bond With Baby Immediately
The little person that you’ve been so anxiously waiting for all this time is finally here. You’re supposed to feel this immediate, incredible bond like nothing you’ve ever experienced before, right? For some people this absolutely happens, and thats wonderful. For some people it does not, and that is absolutely okay. Sure you love them, but you just met this little one. Not feeling that “bond like no other” that people love to talk about right away does not make you a bad parent. It does not mean that you don’t love your child. You two just need a little time to figure each other out. Eventually, it will happen and you’ll finally see what all the hype was about.
Your Super Pregnant Lady Sense Of Smell Will Still Be There
Tell your partner that you’re sorry, but that burger with onions is still off the menu unless they want to eat it outside. I’m kind of convinced that this never really goes away. Which is lovely since dirty baby diapers and spit up absolutely smell like roses. Gag.
You Will Have Contractions While Breastfeeding
Yeah. Just like the ones you had during labor. These contractions are to help move all of your guts and organs back to where they belong. It hurts. If you’re miserable, don’t be a martyr. Take the pain medicine. You’ve already got enough on your plate.
Your Home Will Be A Wreck
Whatever. This is so low on the priority list. You’ll tell yourself before that you’ll never be one of those people who lets your children destroy your lovely home. But they will.Invest in some attractive storage baskets to corral all of your various baby supplies in. I have these and these. I suggest buying a large pack of paper plates, bowls, and cutlery beforehand because you’ll probably rather be dead than wash a dish. Almost 4 months PP and I’m still using paper plates whenever possible. It doesn’t make you lazy, it just means that you think that time spent bonding with your little one is more important that doing the dishes. If you’re feeling especially proactive, you can subscribe to paper plates, bowls, and cutlery on Amazon. Again, you’ll be glad you did. #SubscribeAndSaveIsLife
People Will Want To Visit. You Will Not Be Interested.
The worst offenders here tend to be people without children, or people with grown adult children. They either don’t know or have forgotten how tough and tiring those first few weeks can be. Do not be afraid to say no! They’ll most likely understand. If they don’t, they’re the one with a problem, not you. Or better yet, tell them they can come by if they pick up those few things you needed from the grocery store first (or whatever other errand or chore you really need help with). Tell them ahead of time that they can come visit for whatever amount of time you’re comfortable with and then they’ll have to go so you can put baby down for a nap, feed baby, insert whatever other excuse you deem appropriate here. Don’t worry about cleaning your house first. Don’t worry about getting all dolled up. They’re not there to look at you or assess your housekeeping skills. They’re there to see the baby.
Did you experience anything postpartum that you were totally unprepared for? Share in the comments!
The Crispy Mama
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