10.03.2013

Post-Partum: A Year Later

Since I'm (almost) a year postpartum, I thought I'd share some of my experiences.

From the second I found out I was pregnant, TONS of unsolicited advice came rolling in. Some good, some bad and some just plain crazy. All of it mostly the same, mostly about labor, or someone's horror story of their sister's best friends, cousin of a cousin. I got very little, if any, information about what happens in those weeks and months after the baby comes. The stuff not everyone wants to talk about, or share. Well I'm here to tell you the truth about post-pregnancy. Sure, everyone is different but this was just my experience. Get ready...

{recovery} Since I had a c-section, my recovery was a bit different. Recovery was a bitch! I couldn't do anything for myself those first two weeks. It got a little bit better but I was pretty helpless until 6-8 weeks. Maybe I babied myself too much but I was terrified of my stitches opening and all my guts falling out (remember those horror stories you were told?!). Not being able to even pick up the baby from the bassinet really pissed me off. I was pretty resentful of my c-section for the first few weeks. It was rough. It was painful. I had a lot of help from family and Ernest. There were two babies in the house. The best thing for recovery was using a postpartum support band. I wore this thing 24/7 and it helped suck everything back in place and helped me feel more secure with my stitches. Well worth the money!
Sexy, huh?!
{breastfeeding} Ok, so I know everyone tells you how it's so great, beautiful and wonderful. It is. I still think breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby. 110% agree. What they don't tell you is it's exhausting, it's painful and it will leave you in tears. Maybe not for everyone, but for some. Especially the first few months, not weeks, months. Oh, and those full perky boobs you could let fly sans bra, yeah, say goodbye to them and call your nearest plastic surgeon. Trust me on this one.You can read more about my breastfeeding journey here.

{hormones} Remember that scene from Knocked Up where the guy is yelling at the pregnant girl saying 'eff you hormones! You're being a total bitch hormones, not Allison, hormones!'. That scene can be directly related to post-pregnancy too. Your body is going through a million and one changes, you're adjusting to a baby, no sleep, breastfeeding, recovery, and some wicked hormones. Poor Ernest took the brunt of my crazy and he deserves a medal for that. I would cry over everything, like running out of granola bars and being mad that I couldn't drive myself to go get more. Crazy. Well let that crazy flag run wild, warn your hubby and give yourself a pass card for a few months. Eventually things will even themselves out. If not, see your doctor. Oh, and make sure you never run out of granola bars in order to avoid WWIII.

{weight} Don't bank on the myth that breastfeeding will have you looking like Heidi Klume 2 weeks post-partum. It's a LIE. Again, for some people this is true (bitches) but for some (me) it is not. Since I had so much trouble with breastfeeding and supply, that directly affected my weight. Every ounce of fat stuck on me like white on rice, plus some. Yup, I actually managed to gain weight while breastfeeding. I was told this was my body's way of trying to produce more milk (asshole). I am still struggling with this 11 months post-partum. As tempting as it is while pregnant, don't give in to every craving you have. Those extra pounds could stay with you a lot longer than you planned. Nobody can predict their breastfeeding story so it's best to just be healthy, start walking/exercising as soon as you can and give yourself time to lose the weight.
Save yourself the trouble
{normal} You should just get over that word 'normal' right here and now. It's a dangerous word. Both in terms of comparing your baby to the norm but also relating it to the before-baby you. I don't know that I even remember what the 'normal' me was. I always hear women say post-pregnancy, oh I'm still waiting to feel back to normal. For me, I'm not quite sure how to quantify that. Is it a jean size, a weight, a mental state??? I can never be the person I was pre-baby. Never. Your priorities change, you change, everything changes...or rather shifts. Everything shifts. It can't not. So rather than trying to get back to some memory you have of yourself or that previous life, shift your perspective and accept who you are here and now. And stop comparing! You will be much happier when you do.

{hair} You know all those gorgeous locks you were sporting during pregnancy? Well say goodbye to them and hello hair loss! This is no joke. I started losing my hair around 3 months (the same time a lot of other fun changes happen too) and it's finally started growing back (at 11 months) but there are still weird patches that make me look like I have two horns coming out of my ears. It's bad. OH, and if hair loss that would give Rogain a run for it's money wasn't bad enough, your hair grows in weird. Just weird. Mine is way curlier, coarse and super dark. I would highly recommend the Raquel Welch wig line at least for a few months.

{feet} Now that you can finally see your feet again, they've gone and pulled a fast one on you. Those little bastards met up with the shoe companies and thought it'd be way more profitable for them if they just stayed at their cankle size so all those cute heels you had are useless. I was one of the unlucky ones who's feet have remained larger than they once were. Heels? I barely even know what that means anymore. I've tried wearing them a few times and they are the most uncomfortable things. Or maybe because I realized just how uncomfortable heels really are. Mostly, because I refuse to say goodbye to all my Jessica Simpson pumps so I'm wearing a size too small now. This shoe dilemma is either really depressing or a good excuse to shop?! Hmmm...

{baby gear} You won't use it for the first few weeks or months. I remember crying one day because we had bought all this expensive shit that I was convinced we'd never use. Newborns don't require a whole lot of gear. They're tiny and don't really go anywhere. The good news is, your second job will not be wasted on baby gear you spent a fortune on. The baby will use it, just not right away. OH, and you know how everyone says 'don't buy newborn stuff because you'll never use is!' Wrong! You will use it. Autumn was no tiny baby (hello 8lbs 10oz) and she still wore newborn stuff for at least the first two months. Unless you want to search for your baby in their onesie, do yourself a favor and get some newborn gear and diapers. Babies are teeny-tiny.

{love} You will have more love in your heart than you ever even knew could exist, both for your baby and for your hubby (or fiance). And for your family (it takes a village to raise a kid!). People told me how great parenthood would be but I never 'got' it until Autumn was actually here. It's completely unexplainable but the love I have for her and Ernest is 100% complete. There is nothing like loving your little sweet baby. But you also see your partner in a new way. Seeing Ernest with Autumn and how much he loves her just makes me love him even more. Mushy, I know, but once you have a kid you just get it.

Well there you have it, my one year postpartum journey. It wasn't always pretty but I wouldn't change it for the world!!

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