Childbirth is one of the scariest and most painful things that a woman can experience. And it’s the easiest part of parenthood! Here are some of the things that I wish I knew about becoming a new mom.
There are many common pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, cravings, and tiredness. Some not so pleasant symptoms that aren’t talked about as much include vivid nightmares, night sweats, diarrhea, insane amounts of discharge, extreme irritability, among other things.
I have been fortunate enough in all of my pregnancies not to have too odd of cravings. Some women have odd cravings such as the desire to eat chalk, sand, and other dangerous and not so great tasting things. This is known as pica.
Nausea and vomiting were something that I endured during all four of my pregnancies. It normally lasted the first three months, give or take a few days. If you fall victim to extreme nausea, your doctor can prescribe medicine to help with it. I preferred saltines and lollipops as well as Ginger Ale.
At the Hospital
Many hospitals today are baby-friendly. They strongly encourage breastfeeding and skin-to-skin time with the baby. That sounds great and all but it’s also very tiring on a new mother. The days when a nurse would take your baby to the nursery so you could rest are long gone.
At baby-friendly hospitals, the baby is placed on your chest immediately and encouraged to breastfeed. And baby stays in your room with you until you go home. My children all had jaundice, so they had to be under light therapy a lot of the time and were extra fussy.
Thankfully my husband was able to stay with me and help take care of the babies each time so that I could actually try to get some rest and recover. No longer is going to the hospital a mini-vacation, you’re on duty the entire time.
After giving birth, you’ll experience a flood of emotions. Happiness, relief, exhaustion. And it’s not uncommon to shake uncontrollably for a bit afterward. I was starving after each of my labors, so I was grateful for a hospital with restaurants and delivery options. Some women also develop postpartum depression. If you feel off or sad or aren’t bonding with the baby, it could be a form of postpartum depression. Speak to your nurse or doctor about your concerns and feelings before you go home.
If you experience tears during labor, you’ll be sore for quite a bit. A donut pillow is your best friend. Also, get the granny panties and ultra max pads, you’ll be needing them for the next few weeks. If you decide not to breastfeed, you’ll have to go through the painful engorgement stage. I didn’t breastfeed my first child, so I had to endure this. The bad news is that it’s extremely painful and uncomfortable. The good news is that it only lasts about a week or two.
You did it! Baby is healthy and you’re heading home! Now what? Don’t go expecting to get any sleep for a while. You and your partner will both be exhausted. If you have a family member that can come by and keep an eye on baby while you get a quick nap in, that’s the best feeling in the world. Maybe grab a shower while said person is there too.
Take a nap while the baby takes a nap is a popular phrase, but it’s normally easier said than done. I would always be checking on the baby to make sure he/she is breathing okay. Or I would be too wired to randomly nap when they did.
Beware of postpartum emotions, you’re likely to be all over the place and that’s okay. You’ll be back to “normal” eventually, but it takes time. Your body just grew and birthed a human, you’re a superwoman.
You’ll likely have extra skin now and maybe even a belly pooch as well as some stretch marks. Don’t be down on yourself, this is all-natural and that body allowed you to carry a miracle! Bodies change and stretchmarks fade.
Don’t worry about if your house is a mess, just focus on the baby and taking time for yourself whenever you can. With my experience, we had several visitors during the first few days back home, then it started to drop off, and eventually, it was mostly just us. So, don’t worry that people are going to be coming and going all the time. Be sure to set ground rules so that friends and family know if they need to call first before just showing up.
Once the baby starts growing, time will fly by. Before you know it, you’ll have a toddler on your hands. Then a little kid, and so on. Remember when I said that giving birth is the easiest part of parenthood? I think you’ll soon understand what I mean. Enjoy the moments, for the days, are long but the years are so short.