What I Didn't Expect When I Was Expecting
Hello Bridget fans! I'm Candis and I write a blog called lady lee in process. Bridget is my long time blog friend and I am happy to be guest posting for her while she settles in with her new little love. YAY! He is here! We are all so happy for you Bridge! We were both pregnant at the same time for a short while. I was several weeks ahead and gave birth to my son Westley at the end of April. Here are some photos of us right after he was born.
When I was pregnant I read a lot about labor, delivery, taking care of baby and the like but inevitably there are some things I missed so I decided to write a post on what I didn't expect things to be like after giving birth. Also, this is your TMI warning so if you don't want to hear about boobs, blood, or poop skip this one.
1. VISITORS: I didn't expect that we would need the first two or three weeks to ourselves. I am a social person and love being with people. But at this time, for me, visitors were overwhelming. I tried and tried to not let the stream of well-wishers push me over the edge because I realized they were visiting out of kindness and love, but honestly it was too much. The next baby we have I will let everyone know ahead of time that I love them so much and appreciate their wanting to visit but I will call them when we are all ready and that might be a few weeks from the time the baby is born. I think I'll have an auto reply email and voicemail set up as well. From what I have heard from other Moms after the fact, not everyone is this way, but most are. It must be the cocktail of extreme hormones, vagina pain, exhaustion, and the overwhelming urge I felt to bond with our baby and not pass him around all day long that made me feel this way. Not to mention the fact that I didn't feel like getting dressed for company (what will I wear over this huge, gelatinous belly?) or keeping the house clean. About 2 weeks in a I had a mini breakdown and realized I needed to put a short term stop on visitors. I got guilt tripped about it by some, and ended up guilt tripping myself as well, but now that I am out of the hormone haze and my va-jay-jay is mended I have the right mind to know that my instincts were correct and we needed intimate family time and there was nothing wrong with that.
2. POOPING: I didn't know that pooping would be such an issue. Ladies, it was borderline terrifying. I only tell you this because I wish someone would have prepared me. After giving birth drink LOTS of water, up your fruit and vegetable intake, and take some metamucil and dulcolax daily. I wish somoene would have given me all that advice BEFORE I was weeping on the toilet feeling like I was pooping razorblades.
3. BLOOD: I had no idea how much I would bleed the first few days after. It was A LOT. Like fill up a pad the size of your bed pillow a lot. I had no clue there would be that much blood. The bleeding continues for weeks after and it's a long process just to go pee for at least a month after that includes pads, squirt bottles, and sometimes even ice packs.
4. BABY LOVE: Because everyone tells you that you will love your child with a love you've never know the likes of before, I expected this. But goodness gracious, nothing can prepare you for the way it floods your whole being. I am not going to even try to put words to this love, I will just tell you that it will come and you will never be the same and I mean this in the best possible way.
5. PLEASED TO MEET YOU: Having a baby is loving someone and having an intense bond with a person that you don't even really know. I think I expected that I would know our baby inside and out because I carried him for 9 months, because I loved him so much. But the truth is you get to know them more and more everyday just like any other person. I think this may be what makes being a parent so magical and beautiful. Loving someone with such ferocity that you hardly know is amazing and the more you get to know them the more your love grows (which doesn't seem possible with how big it feels from the beginning, but it's true!).
6. CRYING: I didn't expect our baby to cry so very much. He cried a lot the first weeks of his life. If he wasn't sleeping or eating, he was crying. And sometimes he would take a break in the middle of eating to scream. After doing some research I learned most babies between birth and 6 weeks cry a lot and there are only a small percentage that don't. His cries induced such panic in my heart. Every fiber of my being would be screaming DO SOMETHING! HELP HIM! HE NEEDS YOU TO DO SOMETHING! And a lot of the time I felt helpless. The crying lessens, my friends. If you are in the thick of the crying right now know that it gets better. Know that you aren't alone. Know that your baby is just as sweet and wonderful as your friend's baby who seemed to never cry.
7. ATTACHMENT: I didn't expect that it would take me 2 months to be okay with having our baby sleep in his crib at night instead of the bassinet at my bedside. I was the girl that was all like, "We don't need a bassinet we'll just use the crib from day one." That all changed as soon as I saw his face. Honestly the first few weeks it was hard to not be in the same room as Westley. When we were in the hospital the first couple days after he was born I even hated when they would come to take him to the nursery for exams. I think it is because he was always with me everywhere I went and then all of a sudden he was outside of me in this big scary world and all I wanted to do was protect him.
8. HORMONES: I thought that the thrilling hormone roller coaster ride would be over after our baby was born. Boy was I wrong. Truly, the hormones I experienced during pregnancy were nothing compared to the first few weeks after Westley was born. The best advice I can give to women dealing with hormones after giving birth is to communicate. Talk to your partner and tell them your thoughts. Cry when you need to cry and give yourself the same grace you would give others. And some advice if you are friends with a postpartum woman, BE NICE TO THEM. No matter what. They are balancing a lot right now and need your love, support and grace. No judgement, no unkind words, and no selfishness allowed when it comes to how to treat a brand new Mama.
9. BODY: My tummy used to be flat and firm. I'm 11 weeks out and I still have a good amount of squish going on there and a faded brown line running down the middle. I had to buy my first one piece bathing suit because I realized I now have the type of body that people see on the beach in a two piece and say "Oooh no one wants to see that..." But the upside is the new suit is cute and when I'm holding my beautiful baby in my arms the last thing on my mind is what I look like, and the first, how very blessed I am.
10. HUSBAND LOVE: I didn't realize that having a baby would make me love my husband even more. He is the only person on this earth that loves Westley as much as I do. He is the only person I completely trust with Westley and vice-versa. It is something that only the two of us share, this intense love for this little being, and it has strengthened and deepened my connection to him and my love for him.
11. BREASTFEEDING: Truth be told I thought I might feel a little weird breastfeeding. But from his first time nursing just moments after he was born it has felt like the most natural thing I've ever done. And it's not weird. At all. It's probably the most amazing thing I've ever done for another person in my entire life. I love feeding Westley. I love staring into his eyes has he earnestly and happily nom nom noms on some milk. I love that his little body and brain are growing and that I am part of that. It is hard to not contemplate love and God and creation when you are nourishing another life with your own. It's beautiful.
So there you have it, 11 things I didn't expect when I was expecting. Got any to add to the list?