In my experience, women don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how things will be different for their body after baby is born. We think about snuggling our babies, whether we’ll breastfeed or use formula, when to allow people to see the new bundle, childcare, and a hundred other things – but often, our own bodies go overlooked.
There were plenty of things that surprised me the first time around, and plenty of things that still caught me off-guard with my second, even though I was “prepared.” Hormones, man. They’re killer.
Here are 20 more things that surprised real moms post-baby, so you can prepare yourself.
At least, as much as possible.
#20. Stretch marks. Just. Yes.
Different sizes, colors, shapes, etc. I couldn’t even see mine until after I gave birth because my belly was so big.
#19. There’s no telling what’s up with your hair.
Some women get curls where they used to be straight, while I have these small hairs that sprout out of my left temple (yep, just the left). Fun stuff!
#18. Keep an eye on your thyroid.
A good number of women experience thyroid imbalances after giving birth. If you’re dropping weight super fast, see your doctor.
#17. Sex might take some practice.
Especially if you’re breastfeeding, because hormones make it pretty dry down there. You’ll need to make sure and communicate with your partner once your doctor gives you the ok to get back on the horse.
#16. The smells.
Just all of them. Showers became a daily necessity.
#15. Bladder control issues.
Sure, people warn you that your bladder will never be the same, but it doesn’t really hit home until you pee on the dance floor at your best friend’s wedding.
#14. Your tastes might change.
Hormones can affect the way you experience food, too, so you might have a new go-to fav.
#13. You might not recognize your belly button.
It will now have what I like to call a “lived-in” look.
#12. You’ll lose your hair.
Not all of it, but it will feel that way when you’re digging clumps of it out of the shower drain.
#11. The bloody show isn’t over after you leave the delivery room.
You’ll bleed (like a period) for 4-6 weeks after giving birth – yes, even if you delivered by c-section.
#10. The gas.
It’s unstoppable and it’s rancid. I have no idea why.
#9. Pooping might make you cry.
Hemorrhoids or not, things are pretty sore down there. My advice? Take the stool softeners and don’t stop for several weeks.
#8. Your feet might not return to their previous size.
Look at it this way – what a great excuse to go shoe shopping!
#7. The bodily fluid doesn’t end, either, because omg the sweats.
Between sweat and breastmilk, be prepared to change your sheets more often than normal.
#6. Your boobs are ever changing.
And even if they get huge while your breastfeeding, don’t get too attached – mine ended up smaller after I weaned my first son.
#5. Also, the leaking breastmilk? It makes everything smell like old cheese.
Hello extra laundry.
#4. Your milk can let down at any moment.
My advice? Invest in the washable breast pads, and have at least a dozen on hand unless you want to do laundry every single day. See above.
#3. You’re not going to lose the weight right away unless you’re trying to.
Even breastfeeding – all those extra calories get made up when you’re scarfing cereal at 3am.
#2. Allergies might crop up.
Literally anything could happen. I had to switch brands of contact lenses out of the blue.
#1.You’ll look different, but if you let yourself, you’ll feel so strong.
Yes, your body has changed and it might never look the same. But look what you did! Feel strong and accomplished and beautiful because you are, Mama. And I’d bet everything I have that those babies of yours will think so, too.
And remember, you’re not alone!