Getting Real About Childbirth, Breastfeeding and the Baby Blues
I want to get real with this post.
I am gravitating toward more mommy bloggers who tell it like it is, and tell their raw stories, which I can relate to so much. So, in the spirit of that, I want to get raw, and down and dirty. Are you ready? Here we go.
I never knew how much my body would change with pregnancy and postpartum. Yes, I heard stories. Yes, I took the classes. And I read a little to prepare myself, but no resource can really ever fully prepare you.
For example, it’s crazy how often I look at my stomach post baby and go, “Holy shit. A baby was in there 8 weeks ago,” and still wonder how she fit inside me.
Also, the stretch marks and the bleeding are insane! Can we talk about the freaking bleeding!?!?! No one talks about that. The blessing of being pregnant is you don’t have your period for nine glorious months while you grow a beautiful human. Then, after baby is out in the world and your girl parts are torn, you get the world’s largest period. I wore the hospital underwear for over a week post baby, along with their industrial pads, and used tons of witch hazel cooling Tucks pads to line my lady parts!
Going through the process of giving birth, and then recovery, you wonder how we as strong women do it. We literally are running off of no sleep in the beginning while healing from a traumatic event, and if you had a C-section your abdomen was literally cut open. If you had a vaginal delivery, like I did, and tore in two places with two first degree tears, you truly wonder how we do it all while trying to heal.
Our sleep is interrupted starting in the hospital. That damn massage you have to get so your uterus bounces back to to size? Ugh. The worst. You see the nurse, and you cringe at the thought of the pain you are about to endure, and the feeling of a gush coming out of your lady parts.
We are a life source for another human being. That’s huge if you think about it, really. Regardless of whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, you are still feeding a baby every two hours. Your bond with your baby comes way before changing a bloody pad or ice pack, going pee, or, god forbid, you have to poop and, in your sleep-deprived state, you forgot to take a stool softener. Yes, I went there. It really freaking sucks, especially if you have stitches down there.
On top of our bodies healing for six-plus weeks, if you are breastfeeding you have to deal with getting your supply right in the beginning, and it’s so hard. No one tells you how hard breastfeeding really is till you’re in the thick of it. You may also get sore, cracked nipples, and latching issues can be a cause for concern. These happened to me, and, trust me, I cried many nights.
Once I got over the hump, it made breastfeeding easier, but there are still things that are hard, annoying, and damn frustrating. For one, you leak big time when your milk comes in, and that is just annoying. At this point, I am over it, and just deal with it. I wake up with two wet spots on my shirt. It’s just a part of everyday life now. The feedings can get challenging every two hours, whipping out your boob for an overly hungry baby. And sleep is hard to come by, because you’re the main person getting up to do the nightly feedings.
After I had Eleanor, I had the baby blues, too. Ladies, it’s normal. I didn’t have postpartum depression, but I definitely had a few nights and days of emotional turmoil. I still sometimes have a cry here and there. I genuinely wonder how the hell I can do it all 24-7, but then I just do. I say to myself, “I am a mother, and someone is counting on me all the time. You can do this, and nothing lasts forever.”
I am with my daughter day in and day out, and as I look at her, I am proud of myself, proud of my marks that she left behind on me from leaving my body, and I still cannot believe I did it.
I labored for over ten hours naturally, till it was time to push. I will forever be grateful for my amazing labor nurse, Susan, who coached me alongside my mom and my husband. She stayed with me for the majority of my labor and never left my side. She saw me cry, she constantly checked for my daughter’s heart rate, and she showed my mother and husband techniques to help me get through it naturally. She saw me naked and raw, while fluids gushed out of me after long, hard contractions. She called me a warrior. She told me I was strong. She told me I had amazing determination, and she had never seen someone so focused. I think about her words of encouragement when I have had a rough day, and think, “Dammit, I am strong.” Her words of encouragement will never leave me. Really, I could not have gotten through it without her, my mother, and my husband. They each played a key role in helping me bring Eleanor into this world.
At one point, Susan got down in my face while I was barreled over the bed on my side in pain and having contractions every two minutes. I was at about 8 cm. I was crying, semi-hyperventilating, and saying to her, “I don’t know if I can do this anymore.” Susan got down on my level stared me in the eyes and said, “Nisa, you can do this. Stop saying that. And, it’s ok. You can get the epidural. You need energy to push.”
I genuinely cannot believe what my body did while laboring and birthing my daughter. It’s pretty damn fascinating if you really think about it. We create life!
As a mother, I want this post to help you to share your story. What do you feel like we don’t talk about enough? Please share and comment below.
Photos: Nisa Burns Cochran