IT can be a little bewildering when you’ve just had a baby, in more ways than one.
After giving birth to Elsie, I spent many an occasion thinking ‘is this normal?!‘ and found myself frantically Googling away, hoping to find some answers.
They say that honesty is the best policy, so with this in mind, here are some postnatal truths that every new or expectant mum should know.
It will hurt ‘down there’
You will find that your nether regions will be sore and delicate for quite some time. No-one ever told me this (!) and whilst I expected some discomfort, I wasn’t prepared for how much it can really hurt and for how long.
For me, it was about two weeks of suffering and I don’t use that word lightly. I got through it (and you will too) with a few tears, many warm baths (add witch hazel, lavender oil or arnica to aid healing) plenty of paracetamol, lots of husband cuddles and big, comfy pants.
You may lose your hair
Another absolute shocker. At about four months post birth, I started to notice I was losing hair. By the handful. Everywhere in my house, you could tell where I’d been by the umpteen hairs I left behind whenever I moved. I was a walking, talking hair shedder.
When it happened, I started thinking maybe it was due to tiredness or my diet but no, it turns out this is perfectly normal.
When you’re pregnant, you stop losing the hairs you would normally shed on a daily basis which is why you get such a luscious barnet. So when your hormones start to level out post birth, your body starts to let go of all that hair at an alarming rate.
Unfortunately there’s not much you can do to stop the shed, so if it happens, accept it and do not panic. Be gentle with your hair, eat well, know that you’re not alone and most importantly, that it WILL grow back. A few months on, I’ve now stopped shedding, sprouted new hair around my hairline (which is darker!) and feel much much happier with how my locks look.
Your libido may do a bunk
If you lost your sexual mojo when you were pregnant or think after giving birth that you’ll never want to have sex again, fear not, because you will. When you’re ready.
It can feel pretty odd when you return to intimate relations after having a baby, especially if your sexy areas feel tender still or you’re breastfeeding. Add to that sleep deprivation, constant demands from your bundle of joy and it’s a wonder that any of us, ever get back to getting fruity between the sheets at all.
But, dear friends, amazingly, somehow, you do and if you’re lucky it will be just as or perhaps even more incredible than you will remember. Making sexy time, when you’re up to it, is important for both you and your partner. After all, it’s how you got pregnant in the first place! Plus, it’s a whole lotta fun right?!
Stretchmarks are stubborn
I did everything I could whilst I was pregnant to prevent the dreaded stretchmarks. I covered my bump, boobs and thighs with all manner of lotions and potions on a daily basis, but alas, they got me in the end. At about 36 weeks, they started to make their presence felt. Fortunately I didn’t do bad, I’ve only got a few on my hips and a couple on my tummy to contend with but still I feel I’ve been treated unfairly after all that time I invested in trying to prevent them!
Seven months post birth, my ‘baby lines’ are still here, some as stubborn as mules. But. And here’s the good news. Most have almost disappeared and even the lingerers are looking a lot less noticeable. Hurrah!
So whilst they may be stubborn, take heart, stretchmarks can, and often do, improve and fade.
Time may have been my healer, but I’ve also given it a helping hand with these two amazing products which I swear have helped make a difference – Cussons Mum and Me Stretch Mark Fader (it WORKS, is super easy to apply and super cheap at less than £10!) and Mama Mio’s Goodbye Stretch Mark Cream (at £45 a pop, it’s pricey but worth it).
Remember, most women who have had children, have stretchmarks, even those ‘perfect’ celebrities. They may not look very pretty to begin with but they are a reminder of the amazing job you did of carrying your baby so embrace them, treat them with potions and love them if you can.
Also, get rid of the ‘stretchmark’ tag. It just sounds so horrid! Lifelines, baby-lines or even, mummy’s tiger stripes are much nicer names to call them don’t you think?
You may miss your bump
Two weeks post birth, I shed tears because I missed my bump. Silly yes, but I missed carrying Elsie and feeling her move inside me. Crazy huh?
I’d never heard any woman say that they’d missed their bump so I honestly thought I was a bit of a weirdo, until I found out from some of my mummy Twitter pals that they felt the same! Phew! You can imagine my relief.
To this day, I still miss it and often look wistfully at pregnant women and their beautiful bumps. Pregnancy is such a special time and every baby conceived is a miracle so perhaps it’s no surprise that we can find ourselves missing our bumps when our bambinos arrive.
Post birth, you may also find yourself feeling incredibly broody. I have been as broody as hell since Elsie arrived but again, it appears that this is completely normal.
It is quite ridiculous really when you think about it, but who knows what the future will bring?! A little brother or sister would make a fabulous playmate though for Elsie…
What surprised you the most after giving birth?