There are a lot of things going on postpartum that are kind of surprising. Even if you’ve read all the books and taken all the classes, there is still a lot going that isn’t in those books! Here are nine things no one tells you about postpartum.
Sleeping when baby sleeps isn’t always easy. So everyone does tell you you’ll never sleep again BUT there is truly no understanding how sleep deprived you’ll be. It really is rough. You might hear, sleep when baby sleeps. Well guess what, your baby might not sleep for long periods or only want to contact nap and that’s completely ok. There isn’t much sleeping when baby sleeps if baby wants to be snuggled to sleep.
The second night is hard. Don’t be fooled by baby’s sleep the first night. They’re still adjusting and may not even realize they are earthside yet. Once they realize it that second night, they’ll be up all night looking for comfort from you. I was completely fooled that first night thinking wow baby is a great sleeper. The second night and following weeks baby didn’t sleep through the night. Babies have their days and nights confused for a while before the adjust to being awake during the day and asleep at night.
Brain fog. I remember those early weeks well but I was still in a fog. Don’t expect to multitask anything. All I could clearly focus on was taking care of baby. Remembering to make a phone call, not happening. You might be told something and five minutes later completely forget. Think you’ll remember to bring something up to your partner in a hour or that random thing you need from the store? You won’t, so keep a list if you can.
You might feel like you ran a marathon. Guess what, you pretty much did. Labor is physically taxing. It doesn’t matter if it was vaginally or c-section. You might feel like you were run over and then backed over by a bus. The second day I was completely shocked when my back was killing me. I wasn’t expecting it to feel so sore I thought something was wrong. Turns out it was to be expected. I expected to be sore in other places but not to feel it in my back too. No one told me this before and I wish they would have.
Dizzy spells. One of the first things I remember being told after giving birth was I might have dizzy spells. If I felt one coming on just sit down wherever I am immediately. Thankfully I never had one but I was wobbly on my feet for a few days. Just trying to take a short shower winded me and I had to rest after.
Hot flashes. Turns out hot flashes don’t just happen when you experience menopause. There are so many hormonal changes going on you might experience random hot flashes especially at night. If you’re breastfeeding you might get really hot while feeding baby too. Hello to waking up in the middle of the night in sweat soaked pjs.
Postpartum anxiety. Everyone warns about postpartum depression but postpartum anxiety isn’t spoken about as much. Learn about the signs beforehand and make sure your loved ones know about it too. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of things you may not even see the signs yourself. I had a great birthing team who not only spoke to me about possible postpartum depression but anxiety too and the different signs. If your birthing team doesn’t prep you, ask them!
The smells. Your deodorant might not work as well for a bit. Fun right? With all the hormones changing, sometimes you might randomly stink even if you’ve showered and put deodorant on. It won’t last forever though promise!
The hunger! If you breastfeed, you’ll be burning a lot of calories which will make you hungry ALL the time. I had no idea I”d be more hungry now than while I was pregnant.
I know I spent a lot of time during the middle of night feedings Googling things like is all this sweat normal because absolutely no one ever mentioned it to me. I was convinced this must only be happening to me but I was wrong and it’s pretty common. Postpartum experiences should be shared more so we’re not totally in the dark.
The best advice I can give? Take it one day at a time and know you’re not alone in your experiences. Everyday is a new adventure! Remember to surround yourself with loved ones who can support you in every way that YOU need.
Photos by Captured by Nic.
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