I think in all of the dozens of mommy blogs/ vlogs that I’ve consumed, there were only 2 or 3 who were quite honest with what really happened to them after giving birth – the postpartum recovery phase. Probably because who wants to remember all the painful and embarrassing moments and put that up for everyone to read/ watch, right?
But I think first-time moms should know what to REALLY expect for the unbelievably hard postpartum recovery phase. I don’t want to scare you but I think it’s best if you know straight from the horse’s mouth what it’s really like so you can already prepare yourself mentally and emotionally.
So here’s my postpartum recovery experience, I hope this won’t scare you too much new mommy!
What Postpartum Recovery Is Really Like
1. My insides felt like jelly
I had a C-section wound plus another big wound at the back. When I was trying to go for normal delivery, my back was ripping apart so it was so fortunate that the doctor discovered that on time.
So imagine I had two big operations, all in one day. I couldn’t pee nor poop for a week. The car ride on the way home was a nightmare. Even though I was wearing a postnatal bandage, my insides still felt like jelly, always shifting, always tumbling, and moving. I couldn’t even lie down properly on a bed back at my in-laws’ house.
A normal delivery, they say, would probably hurt more during birth but after that, recovery would be so much faster. Well, I just hope it won’t tear up your vagina and if it does, let’s just hope you’ll have a cute baby so it’s worth it.
2. Hard to stand up after my CS operation
Since mine was a special case, my doctor and the nurses won’t even encourage me to stand up and walk around, unlike their other patients. Not that I tried to, but it was really painful. Imagine your body is a half-packed suitcase, lying down on the ground then you have to make it stand up. Of course, all the things inside the luggage would be shifting down and that’s how it was for me, every time I stood up and walked around.
3. Hard to pee and poop
I couldn’t pee nor poop for a week and my doctor was also getting anxious, to the point that he asked me if I knew any friends who had some ointment or herbal medicines that I could take because we never know, it might just work. Luckily it did but I still had a bit of constipation. I was so scared to shit that I had a nurse inside the bathroom to look out for me, just in case blood came spewing out of my ass or I faint while I, you know, release the chocolate hostages.
So there I was, with the smelliest, most disgusting shit I’ve ever expelled out of my body, groaning in fear and pain and just apologizing over and over again to the nurse for making her accompany me in the bathroom. I imagined she handed her resignation the day after.
Oh, I probably should have warned you about it before reading this part, just in case you were eating.
4. Bleeding..lots of bleeding
I think I had this for two months but anyway, it was normal. It’s called Lochia, a heavy discharge from the vagina after giving birth. I had to wear a heavy-duty napkin but it gradually lessened, especially when I stopped breastfeeding.
5. Extreme hair loss
Apparently this is normal, something to do with your hormones. I was lucky because mine wasn’t that bad to the point that I could see bald spots. It wasn’t really a big deal for me because I was already shedding like a cat, even before I met my husband.
6. Swollen legs, ankles, and feet
This was probably one of the most uncomfortable things I had to deal with, next to my cesarean wound. Postpartum edema is a bitch that I have never read of in any blog articles nor do I remember watching in any vlogs.
I remember wearing compression stockings right after I can stand up and wearing them for more than 2 months. It wasn’t painful but it was just so uncomfortable that I couldn’t walk properly and made everything much harder, especially when I had to take care of my baby. Imagine walking with giant, elephant legs, ankles, and feet, that’s how it felt for me.
Mine finally went away after more than 2 agonizing months. I just drank lots of water, wore the compression stockings as much as I could, and elevated my feet while lying down. But if yours becomes too painful then please, go to the doctor.
7. You will still look like you’re pregnant
Just because you pushed out your baby, doesn’t mean your body will go back to normal.
Your body has been accommodating a little human being inside so naturally, it will change and it won’t go back the way it was until months later, even years, especially your abdomen.
So yeah, don’t feel bad if 6 months or 2 years later, you still look kinda pregnant. Like you’re in your 1st or 2nd semester. Unless you’re taking the time to do the proper exercises and dieting, you won’t have the same rock hard abs you’ve had before.
8. Migraines during pumping
It’s a rare case when I googled it but I had the most extreme sort of migraines when I had to pump milk. I could feel the slow throbbing inside my head, my vision tends to get blurry at times and it felt like my head was so much heavier and bigger than my whole body. I think it only happened a few times but oh man, every time it did, I felt like crying so much from the pain.
With that said, please go to the last one.
9. Postpartum depression
One day I’d be crying to Nina’s rendition of “Sunlight” while sunbathing my baby, the next minute I’d be googling “Why I Hate My Husband,” then the next emotional hit would be a wave of immense gratitude for having a family then next would be loathing my cats and my life.
I didn’t know what I felt was perfectly normal not until I started researching about it 18 months after, when my kid finally went to childcare. And even before then, it wasn’t registering that I had one, not until I’ve started following all these Instagram accounts by moms who were also going through or had gone through the same thing.
I wished I heard about it a lot when I was a new mom. It was something that I struggled with. It’s different from stay-at-home mom depression but nevertheless, they’re both equally challenging mentally and emotionally speaking.
I felt thankful for my baby but I also felt overwhelmed, bored, ashamed, resentful, anxious, worthless..it was such a very dark and depressing moment for me.
Even now when I look at my kid, I sometimes wish I learned about postpartum depression (and even stay-at-home depression) early on and wished that I could go back in time and go through the newborn and baby phase all over again. I wished I knew then what I knew now as a happier mom, so things would have been so much more different then.
Knowing what I know now would have made things easier and more enjoyable.
If you can’t talk to anyone in your family about what you’re feeling because of many reasons, you can always turn to professionals. You are not alone in what you’re feeling, you are not the only one who has ever felt that way.
This was my postpartum recovery phase but now, I cannot imagine how much harder it can be, because of the pandemic. I think I read somewhere that after giving birth, their babies are quarantined for 14 days or something, to ensure that they’re covid-19 free? I’m not sure and that sounds so horrible.
(If you’re looking for tips and hacks on how to take care of your newborn, read them here.)
Are you feeling anxious now that you’ve read these things or you’re just meh, whatever? Share what you’re feeling by commenting below.