Dearest Darlingest Mommy to Be,
Background: This post originated as an email I sent to a friend about the realities of childbirth after having had my second child. My children are eighteen and a half months apart. There is zero filter involved, as per my style.
As Ben Franklin famously said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Childbirth is proof that God wants to keep us from becoming self-sufficient snarky bitches. I found that a lot of people sugar coated the transition from pregnant to motherhood. I vow to do no such thing.
It hurts a whole hell of a lot. I don’t care what your pain threshold is. It’s painful. But no matter how you give birth you are a badass. This brings me to the first of many mom life lessons, if you push for 6 minutes or practically sneeze out an 8 pounder with no tearing/meds/while looking like a rock star, keep your mouth shut. No one wants to hear how you rocked the hardest physical experience of most female’s lives. I have no doubt that you will do an amazing job however it goes down. Keep an open mind. If you trust the care providers that are helping you deliver than everything will go great. The best birth plan is a healthy baby.
You’ll be starving, but also nauseous.
You usually cannot eat, so I brought a pack of lifesavers to have something to suck on when I got hungry. I didn’t tell my nurse, but the reason you can’t is for anesthesia in case of an emergency c-section so just be prepared to spit out the watermelon flavored candy or risk getting caught. Sorry to all of my anesthesia friends. Please don’t kill me for this one.
It’s really messy.
I brought cute nightgowns and ended up wearing the hospital gowns the whole time. Blood and sooooo much amniotic fluid (like for real there’s a lot up there). My water broke at home with my oldest and with ever short stop or contraction-more and more and more.
You will be sore.
Not just lady parts. Arms, abs, pretty much everything. It feels like you just lost American Ninja Warrior. It’s called “labor” not “vacation”.
The hospital bathroom will look like a scene from CSI.
You will bleed A LOT. It’s normal up to a point. Granny panties for a while. Wear those vagscicle pads. Get some super large night time pads for home as well. I slept on a towel for a week with each kid to protect my sheets, but I may have been a bit of an overachiever in the blood loss department. Le sigh.
Your boobs will be out so just don’t fight it.
Between lactation consultants, nurses, and all sorts trying to help your baby figure out her first meal. Its ok for it to hurt, but not so much that you want to cry all the time. If it hurts like that see an LC immediately. It’s not worth losing your breastfeeding relationship by delaying that if it’s something you really want to do.
Get yourself some Dermoplast.
It’s numbing spray that will numb up your postpartum whoha when you have to pee after birth. Because that shit stings.
Speaking of shit.
Take your stool softeners. Everybody poops. Everyone but you if you don’t take them. Also stay hydrated this will help the whole process.
Babies realize that they are no longer ethereal mermaids on day two and that the world is cold, lonely and all around sucks compared to life 20,000 leagues under the sea. It’s completely normal for baby to want only mama and a boob in her mouth at all times during night two. This is particularly hard because you are so exhausted from birth, but thankfully there’s still so much adrenaline.
New babies have their days and nights mixed up initially. This takes some getting used to. Everyone will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. This also means do laundry when the baby does laundry. It’s kind of crap, but try to catch as many winks as you can. It’s so hard with all the emotions, feeds, and adrenaline.
Day 4/5 for First Time Moms:
Milk comes in (cue your new porn star boobs). But you won’t want anyone, including your baby to touch them. A lot of increased tenderness even a slight fever is normal. Try to avoid over pumping as milk is supply and demand and it will just make the problem worse. hot Hot HOT shower with bikini top on + some Motrin or pain meds if you are taking them postpartum (which I recommend) should help.
- Take it easy. It’s very easy to feel weird surges of energy but try to rest as much as possible.
- Temp changes are normal. Going from freezing to sweating is hormones working themselves out..
- Mood swings like you’ve never had before. Chances are whatever you are feeling, its 100% normal. You can want to protect your baby so fiercely as to never let her experience so much as a paper cut and simultaneously hope someone else will adopt her so you can just get some mother effing sleep. Hormones can make you feel very, very dark and anxious. I suggest talking only to people who have had a baby in the last five years about this because the older moms forget, and those who haven’t experienced it just don’t get it.
- Breastfeeding is hard work. You need a ton of water and a ton of calories to make milk. The pain gets better at about week two. Put those Lasinoh soothies in the fridge for extra soothing comfort. Kellymom.com is a great resource. She’s a little crunchy for my taste on parenting in general (ie is pro bed sharing) but has good feeding advice. Particularly for the middle of the night when you don’t necessarily want to call anyone.
- On that note. Please don’t bed share. If you do, don’t tell me about it or I won’t sleep. Most SIDS deaths are actually bed sharing accidents. I really wanted to a few nights because I was just that tired. If you need ideas on how to stay awake for night time feedings, let me know.
- You will love your husband so much more. Watching him care for your baby is the sweetest thing in the whole world
- You will hate your husband and his ineffectual stupid nipples.
- Baby poop is freaky. There are sites devoted to the many normal shades of poop.
- You will still look six months pregnant after delivery. This pissed me off to no end when I did the math. Its life. You may live in nursing tanks and sweats for the next few weeks, unless you’re Kate Middleton. And if you are don’t brag, no one likes a superior princess.
- Babies don’t sleep. which is super annoying, but also protective. Needing milk every few hours means someone who loves them is giving them the once over every so often and hopefully noticing if anything is wrong. If you have a freak baby that does sleep, again it’s probably not your superior parenting but luck so don’t brag. The kids who sleep early on will probably be on MTV’s Teen Mom later. Parenting is all a karma laden trade off.
- Everything you are feeling is normal. Unless it’s not normal and that’s ok too. Just make sure you talk about it.
- Shower and get out of the house. This can change your whole mindset.
- You are doing an amazing job. Not only did the universe destine this baby for you, but it also destined you to be the one to love and protect this baby. Literally a match made in heaven.
- Call your friends. We love you.
I could have gone on and on, but you’ll do great!