There are so many things that are still taboo I this day and age. You would think with this “open mind” “being real” world that there wouldn’t be, but there is. People will only be real with as comfortable as they are with sharing their lives. I an effort to be more open with you and to help you not feel alone I the struggle of being a Mama, I’ve decided that since I just had baby number 7, maybe it was time for me to share some of my 9 Dirty Secrets of Post-Partum Recovery No One Talks About.
Recovering with Exhaustion and Insomnia
I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t get much sleep in the hospital. I tend to doze and never really rest. When I come home from the hospital I’m so tired; I feel like I can barely walk let alone think. I have trouble pulling my thoughts together to communicate my needs to my family. It causes frustration for EVERYONE. I become critical of myself and start down the path of bad self-talk, calling myself stupid and an idiot. I forget to give myself and my family the same grace and mercy I would give to others in the same situation.
How can I have insomnia too? I’m a very light sleeper, and it takes time for me to fall back to sleep. By the time I’ve pumped, fed baby changed his diaper, got a snack and used the bathroom, it is about a hour before I have to do it all over again. I end up feeling like what it the point, as it will take me at least 20 minutes to relax and fall asleep again.
On the upside, I do get to catch up or rewatch some of my favorite shows. For me right now that is Korean Dramas.
I eat WAY more food while I’m nursing than while I’m pregnant. Like right now, while I’m typing this, I’m eating leftover chicken salad with grapes in it on Club crackers and drinking a Coca Cola. In a few hours, my kids will be up, and I will eat breakfast with them too. It is almost like every time he nurses I need to eat too.
The bad part is that if I don’t have food easy for me to grab and eat, I will eat junk food. What do I mean by junk food? Gummy bears, fruit snacks, Little Debbies, and cookies. While these will give me a short burst of energy, they will not help me to lose the weight I gained while pregnant.
If I’m not making healthy choices, I will pay for it eventually. It is why I bought some snacks that are just for me from the grocery store recently. I picked up some crackers, my favorite cheese, Okinos Zero yogurt cups, granola, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, supplies to make more lactation cookies, guacamole, hummus, pita chips, bottled water, nuts, and trail mix.
I spent some time on Pinterest looking up snacks for nursing moms and found some great resources. You can find them HERE on my Meal Planning- Snacks board.
For me, the emotional roller coaster isn’t over. As my body releases the last of the hormones from my pregnancy, my emotions are still all over the place. I cry at sappy parts of shows. Sometimes I want to cuddle my children and other times I just want to run away.
I can go from feeling empowered and full of life to useless, stupid and a dead weight on my family in a matter of minutes. While my husband and children try to understand, they have never experienced this. Also, how am I supposed to explain it to them, if I don’t fully understand it myself?
There are times when I’m wondering why these words are coming out of my mouth. While I’ve become a more gracious mom, there are times where I’m still a yelling mom. It seems to be a real struggle for me when I’m at my weakest, which is during exhaustion and stress. And believe me, the first few weeks home with a newborn are stressful.
Your body will HURT
Hello!!! You just shoved a watermelon out of your body, of course, you are going to hurt. For the first few days home I lived on Advil. I was taking three ever 4 to 5 hours. With this last delivery, it was so hard that my boy had a bruise on the top of his head. He wasn’t quite into position, and he bruise his head on my pubic bone and in the process I was bruised too. It hurt to sit. WOW! Did it hurt to sit?
Like my last three deliveries I had an epidural, and with it pain in my back. For some reason, they have had trouble putting an epidural in my back the past three times. With this baby, it took four times to get it inserted correctly. My back is bruised, and it hurt to lean back and put pressure on it. Thankfully the Advil helped with the pain.
You still need your prenatal vitamins
You would think that since you have had your baby that you don’t need your vitamins anymore, but this is far from the truth. If you are a nursing Mama, your baby is going to take all their nutrients from YOU. If you don’t take a supplement, they will drain you dry.
Not only do you need your typical nutrients, but you need to make sure you are getting plenty of calcium. I’ve lost a tooth because of this. It broke off I my mouth. My baby had sucked me dry.
It’s a poopy situation
During all the feedings, exhaustion, and just trying to keep your head above the water, you will forget to take care of yourself. One of the biggest ways to do that is to drink plenty of water. My friend and lactation consultant Ashely Benz told me to drink as I’m thirsty.
It is fine if I make a wise choice to drink water, instead of the Coca Cola I mentioned earlier. And while I LOVE my tumbler, I don’t always make the best choices especially when I’m tired and would rather sleep than breathe.
In my past pregnancies, this would have been a major problem for me. I hate constipation. I’d rather have diarrhea than be constipated. It is where I’m thankful for my Plexus BioCleanse and ProBio5. My ProBio5 is helping to clean out my gut of all the yeast that is getting fed by my sometimes-bad choices in food, while the BioCleanse is flushing my liver out and helping me to go to the bathroom daily.
Here’s some TMI for you, my body was so cleaned out that I didn’t poop on the table while pushing. I know gross, but it is something every woman deals with during delivery.
Never have I been more grateful for my Plexus than right now! If you want to know how Plexus can help you, you can connect with me on Facebook HERE. I’d love to help you get your gut healthy too.
Oh, the engorgement!!!
There is SO much I could say about this, but to put it simply, this is the hardest part of recovery for me. My breasts become so swollen and engorged that I have trouble wearing my bra. From the day he was born, I knew I would have problems. As I said, this is number 7. I’ve been there done that. I’ve had problems with this with every one of my babies.
You see, I don’t have a normal bust size. I’m huge and have been most of my life, which is part of the reason I have so much trouble with my self-image so when I’m engorged, I’m about 50% bigger than what I normally am. It makes sleeping hard. I can’t sleep on my back because it hurts, but I can’t sleep on my stomach because of the engorgement. It means I must sleep on my side and rolling over is very painful.
Sometimes it is so bad that all I want to do is to take something to make the pain go away, but I know I will still have to express the milk so why not just weather through it and feed my baby.
The best solution for me is to take a hot shower before pumping, pump as much as I can, and then cold wet wash clothes to help with the pain.
The weight doesn’t just fall off instantly
This one is the most disappointing of them all. I just gave birth to an 8lb 15oz baby, and when I came home, I had only lost 3 pounds. I sat down in my bathroom and cried- emotional roller coaster.
After I dried my tears, I remembered that I had an epidural and was on IV fluids for a long time. It means I have ALL that fluid to get rid of, and according to what I read this can take 2-3 weeks depending on how long I was on the IV.
Also, as I mentioned before I’m engorged as my breasts are HEAVY with milk so who knows how much weight I’m carrying in my engorgement right now.
So while I was disappointed that I didn’t immediately lose a bunch of weight, I know it will fall off over the next two weeks.
I’m sure there are as many more as there are Mamas, but these are the ones I’ve struggled with over the past 20 years of having children. While it doesn’t cover everything, it sure puts some things into perspective, and that was my point.
You see the BIGGEST secret is feeling ALONE. While you know you aren’t the only woman who has ever given birth before; sometimes you feel like no one else could EVER feel like you are feeling right now. Honestly, this was and still is my biggest struggle. I feel ALONE.
In this feeling of being alone, we as women tend to HIDE in fear of being judged as unworthy, unlikeable, and bad moms. If this is you, please take a moment to grab my freebie. You will find the sign up at the bottom of this page and in the right column.
If you are a SAHM and wanting to make friends with other women who are right where you are, please join my Facebook group called SAHMs Thriving Not Just Surviving. We’d love to have your join our community.