All the reading and all the advice from your mommy friends will never prepare you for what's to come....Like anything in life, you don't know until you are in it and experiencing everything for the first time. I wanted to share the 6 things I did not expect about having a baby:
Breastfeeding is EXHAUSTING - It's something that I go back and forth on, one minute I'm ok, the next I am about ready to quit. I wrote about breastfeeding in my post about "labour, cesareans and breastfeeding" - It's exhausting and many women like myself battle with it. To be totally honest, I only continue to breastfeed because it's helping me lose my pregnancy weight (pure vanity). Because of breastfeeding, I shed about 400 to 600 calories a day (I don't think I lose this in a one hour spin class for heavens sake). The breastfeeding + very little sleep = even more exhaustion.
I was also lucky to experience plugged milk ducts in my breasts (insert sarcasm here). It was excruciating and I had to spend the whole day with a hot and cold compress massaging it out (which also hurt like a MOFO) and breastfeeding my little one. Fortunately, I was able to rid of it by evening and it didn't get worst.
Body Changes - After my 6 week check up with my OB, I found out I have DIASTASIS. (Now say that 5 times fast). So basically, my belly sticks out because the space between my left and right belly muscles have been widened. (Again, apparently very common). Mine is not that bad and with the help of some of my fitness friends, I have a list of simple core exercises to help build back my strength. I've found ways to incorporate my baby in my floor workouts, he makes a great 14 pound weight.
Oh and that "dark line" you read about that shows up on your belly? My "linea nigra" was (still is) very dark. I have a line that goes from the end of my sternum to my belly button and then a dark patch that goes around my belly button and then a 2 cm width line that goes from there to my c-section scar. Yah, um...Did not expect how dark this line was going to be for me and I am unsure at this point if it will ever go away completely.
The Guilt - Ah, the guilt. I'm not sure where it comes from, but I was (and still from time to time) overcome with a lot of guilt. Guilt for what you say? I'm not quite sure. Parenting is a tough job and the cold turkey switch from "working" in an office to "full time mom" is a drastic one. I know I deserve a break every now and then, I know that I can not run myself ragged because if I do my baby will suffer for it. I can not let ALL of me go and getting back to some normalcy as soon as possible was important to me...but when scheduling some time out for myself, I was overcome with guilt. I feel guilty taking the extra time to take a bath, going to get my nails done, heading out to run some personal errands. Heck, I even feel guilty when I let my little one cry it out for a few minutes without me immediately jumping to his beckon call. I know I shouldn't feel this way but, I do think this feeling of guilt is natural for any new mom. We all just want to be present and to be fully engaged with our babies - We all want to be great moms. I have to constantly remind myself, the baby is fed, clothed, has a roof over his head and LOVED...he's happy.
The Lack of Confidence - You would think that being a mother would come naturally and I think it does for some but not for me. People talk about the "fourth trimester" of pregnancy, the crucial 3 months postpartum when you and your baby are completely inseparable and getting to know and understand one another. I needed these 3 months to really "grow" into motherhood and to build my confidence. I was shocked at how insecure I was during the first few weeks. Everything from how to change a diaper, how to hold the baby, how to assemble the stroller, running errands by myself for the first time with the baby, being at home alone with the baby, driving with baby on board...So many things. At 3.5 months, I have just become comfortable enough to get through my day to day and I'm grateful for "my village" that have been there to help out.
The Night Sweats - Be prepared to be sweaty, real sweaty. For about 6 - 8 weeks postpartum, I soaked the bed sweating in my sleep. Your pregnancy hormones are basically instructing your body to rid of excess water. It's completely normal but a little uncomfortable. Fortunately for me, I gave birth in February and the weather was not to hot. But for you ladies giving birth mid summer, eeekk - Good luck!
Hair Loss - Ok, yet another thing I read about but none of my mommy friends told me about the MASSIVE hair loss??? Remember those luscious, shiny locks you had while you were pregnant? Well, say goodbye to them. Starting around 3 months, my hair went dull, frizzy and it also began to FALL OUT. We're not talking just the average 100 - 200 hairs a day, it basically fell out in chuncks ! My hair line has receeded, my hair has thinned out and baby hairs have taken over! From what I have read and have been told, the hair loss will tapper off when I stop breastfeeding. What? But until then, I have to deal.
So there you have it. Everyone will have very different experiences but I hope these few "wtf, I didn't know that?!" moments help some of your new mommies out!
Love and Light, xo S