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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Preparing for Baby: Things They Don't Tell You...

That would be "they" as in your doctor, your mom, and your friends who have kids.  Even though it seems as though everywhere you turn someone is offering up advice, there are some things that no one is going to tell you.  These will be the very things that happen to you and you respond with "Why did no one tell me about this?!"  Maybe its because we blocked it out or maybe we all just have a heart and realize that there is no good in scaring an unsuspecting pregnant lady.  Either way its not right so I am going to clue you in to a few of the not-so-pretty-things that no one talks about.

First, the physical aspects that come after birth.  Since you are already pregnant it is safe to say you have already experienced some uncomfortable changes in your body.  You have felt the pain of your hips or ribs spreading, you know to cross your legs before sneezing, and you have maybe even started producing breast milk.  After the baby is out you will continue to notice physical changes.  The biggest will be when your milk comes in.  This usually happens 24 hours or so after delivering.  How will you know when your milk has arrived?  You will wake up with large boulders on your chest.  The pain of rock-hard milk glands will wake you up a couple of days post delivery and they will continue to go into Dolly Parton mode every few hours for the next few weeks.  As for your nipples (my most hated word BTW) they will also become bigger to match up to your new D-cups.  Don't be scared of them, they will go back to regular size after awhile.

In addition to your "upstairs" area changing you will also notice things going on below.  My friend tried to prepare me for this with a subtle gift basket at my shower.  It was filled with witch hazel, mattress-size pads, and preparation-H...need I say more.  You can also anticipate some uncomfortable-ness when using the bathroom during the first few weeks, or possibly months.  During labor you may have a catheter but even if not UTI's and kidney infections are not rare post partum.  As for the dreaded "first bowel movement" the nurses will give you stool softeners in the hospital to prepare.  For most women it really is a non-event.  What isn't a non-event are the horrible gas pains that can occur a couple of weeks after giving birth.  I am not sure what is going on with the female body after delivery but it can be very painful so have some anti-gas medication on hand.  

Not nearly as uncomfortable but just as important to prepare for is the change in your hair.  Not only will you have a loose stomach, sore nether regions, and bags under your eyes, you will also be saying good bye to that great pregnancy hair.  No more thick, shiny tresses.  You will now have limp, sad hair.  At least I did.  It seemed as though overnight I lost the great hair brought on by pregnancy hormones and said hello to a sad mop on top.  Same for the pregnancy glow.  Sorry, its true.

The last but definitely most important physical change to prepare for is your change in hormones.  Obviously you know that your levels will change and things will begin to go back to their pre-pregnancy state but no one prepared me for how drastically hormones can affect things.  It happens somewhere around the third week post-delivery.  For me I just woke up one morning and felt on-edge.  And by on edge I mean a complete irrational, crying mess.  Not to mention the hot flashes.  If this is a preview of menopause then I am afraid...very afraid.  Of course if you are feeling more than just a little "off" tell someone immediately and seek professional help.  Post partum depression is no joke.

As with everything in the first few months after delivery these changes are temporary for the most part.  Slowly things will shift back to normal both physically and mentally, at least back to a new normal.  The bags under your eyes don't last forever and although some body parts never fully go back to their pre-baby position, they do at least de-flate, de-swell, or de-spread.

1 comment:

  1. *Gulp* That doesn't sound too great, but is it weird that I still can't wait to get there? :)


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