I’ve read the books. I’ve surfed the blogs. But there are still some weird things that happen to your body after childbirth that surprised me!
By Lora O’Brien
I’ll start by stating the obvious: childbirth is tough, and no woman expects to come out of pregnancy with a six-pack and perky breasts. But you can’t really blame us for hoping for a miracle as we stand in front of a mirror about to take a look at our postpartum bodies for the first time. Because nothing can prepare you for how different your body is post-baby.
I think the first time it hit me just how much my body had changed after having my little girl, Lulla, was when they wheeled me onto the maternity ward. Out of habit, I reached down to massage the baby bump I’d secretly grown to love, and for the first time in nine months… it wasn’t there.
What was there felt saggy and unfamiliar. It wobbled when I laughed (not that there’s much laughter when recovering from a C-section) and it wobbled even when I spoke. Who am I kidding? It wobbled whenever I breathed! It was like carrying a hot water bottle around with me. In short, gone was my round bump – and all I was left with was saggy skin that looked and felt like a deflated balloon.
I didn’t expect my tummy to bounce back to shape as soon as Lulla was born. Hell, even Tammy Hembrow (the sculpted goddess that she is) has openly admitted that despite being toned to absolute perfection (my words, not hers), she still has loose skin after having her babies. But no one told me about the weirdness that my stomach would turn into after birth.
My skin hurt, it was bumpy and, well, it kinda looked like DeadPool’s face. My boobs leaked all the time, and my maternity T-shirt was often crusty and grossly glued to my sunny side up nipples.
I assumed that I’d feel so much better after my baby was born. I thought my body would all slowly shrink back into place over time. And for some women, this is the case. But for many of us, we just never look the same after giving birth. I’m now 4 months postpartum and am only just accepting how different my body is now. And whilst no new mum ever questions whether or not it was worth it (being a mum is the BEST job ever!) sometimes it just sucks, y’know!
But maybe things will be easier for you, my online sisterhood, if you know a few of other weird things that happen to your body after childbirth. And if you’ve already had your baby, can you relate? Let me know in the comments, below, ladies!
Weird Things That Happen To Your Body After Childbirth
1. You’ll still look pregnant for awhile
Your baby may be born, but your uterus is still swollen, your organs are all over the place (creepy, right?) and your skin sure as heck isn’t going to just ping back in a day or two. So, basically you may still look pregnant even after having your baby, and your pre-baby jeans won’t fit you just yet. Sorry, mamas. And you’ll probably get the inevitable, ‘When are you due?’ question even whilst you push your newborn round in the pram.
2. You’ll have a kangaroo pouch
Ladies, you’re probably going to have an overhang. A cruder term is a gunt, but I much prefer to call it a kangaroo pouch. And whether you’re big, small, short or tall – we all get them. An overhang occurs after a C-section but I’ve also known women who’ve had vaginal births and been left with one. And they’re pretty grim.
3. You’ll trip over your boobs
My boobs weren’t the best before Lulla. I had a boob job at 18 and had them re-done at 19 and was left with nipples that resembled fried eggs. Throw 10 years and a baby into the mix, and those implants are hanging lower than where I paid £6k for them to be. And they ache. I take off my bra and they basically tickle my toes. Not only are they now saggy, but they’re also covered with stretch marks. And though I stopped breastfeeding Lulla when she was two weeks, I still pinch my nipple and watch as breast milk shoots out of it.
4. Even your belly button changes
For me, this was definitely one of the most surprising of all the weird things that happen to your body after childbirth! Why did no one mention the fact even my belly button would change? I had my belly button pierced when I was younger and always thought it looked cute, especially when I decorated it with my sparkly belly bar. Until I had a baby. When pregnant your navel piercing can stretch out – and it doesn’t stretch back after your baby. My belly button is pretty much a hard lump due to scar tissue and no sparkly belly bar is gonna make it any prettier.
5. You’ll shed hair like a snake sheds its skin
So, when pregnant, I was basically Rapunzel. I had my hair cut twice because it just kept growing. It felt super thick and was luxuriously soft. Lulla is 4 months old now and I’ve started noticing just how much I have a hairline similar to Jack Nicholson’s now. I brush my hair and it snaps off. I wash my hair and clumps fall out. Lulla reaches out lovingly and comes away with baby-sized fistfuls of my hair. Now I’m pretty much a bald chicken, I feel bad for ever moaning how my hair was growing too much.
6. You’ll sweat yourself into dehydration
Oh, the heat!! I thought I’d left pregnancy behind and gone straight into menopause. And it wasn’t even down to the fact I’d had Lulla in June and a week later we entered a heatwave. I was sweating even when I felt cool. I’d go to sleep and wake up in the morning with damp hair, my T-shirt stuck to my dodgy nips. But I discovered it’s normal, don’t worry. Your hormones are just helping to shift excess fluids that helped to support both your body and baby during your pregnancy.
7. You’ll need a poop – but won’t be able to go
I lied in the hospital when the midwife asked me if I’d ‘opened my bowels’ every time I went to the toilet. I lied and said yes, simply because I was scared that if I’d said no they’d have kept me in for another night and may even start coming to the toilet with me in order to help me entice out a poo!
I didn’t poop for around two weeks, something I admitted to my Community Midwife once I got home. I had an emergency C-section and every time I went to the toilet my stomach muscles felt too weak to push anything out. In fact, it was excruciating, I could just about pee without having to hold my stomach/scar in agony. I felt like I’d never push out another satisfying poo ever again. But two weeks later, all was well and I was ‘opening my bowels’ and gushing over the experience with the midwife.
8. You’ll turn into Bigfoot
For someone with size 7 feet, I was mortified that I could no longer get in the majority of my shoes towards the end of pregnancy. At least not without my feet spilling over the tops of my Nike’s. My feet (and hands) were swollen and my ankles were non-existent. The swelling went down a week or so after having Lulla and it was nice to become reacquainted with my ankles.
9. You’ll cry over EVERYTHING
Sure, once your baby has entered the world, you’re in this bubble of pure euphoric bliss. But let me tell you, for many of us women that bubble soon pops and for me, it happened the minute I left the hospital. If I thought I was emotional before having my daughter – when I once cried at a photo of a goat because it was JUST SO CUTE – I was not prepared for the tidal wave of tears I would shred post-baby. And I was no longer crying over cute animals. I sobbed on the car journey home because every bump made my C-section throb. I cried every time I looked at Lulla in her cot because I couldn’t believe she was mine. I cried because I was happy. I cried because I was scared. I also cried because I was super overwhelmed! Honestly, there was a lot of big feels going on! But, mamas, apparently 80 pe rcent of new mothers feel weepy and even irritable after giving birth, so don’t worry if you’re looking at your baby through tear goggle for a few days.
10. You’ll bleed
If you thought there was enough blood to make a horror film when you gave birth, that’s nothing in comparison to the bleeding you’ll experience post-baby. Whether you gave birth vaginally or via a C-section, you’re gonna bleed and for some of us, it’ll be a heavy flow. It’s totally normal and nothing to worry about – it’s just your body’s way of shedding the lining of the uterus and excess blood. The bleeding can last up to two weeks for some women, and it feels like the longest, grossest period. Grab an organic maternity pad, pop it in your knickers and remind yourself that it will end eventually. And go snuggle your baby. Those baby snuggles seem to maker everything better!
So, that’s what I’ve experienced! How about you? Let me know if there are any surprising things they don’t tell you about childbirth that you’ve gone through!