4 Things I Wish I Knew to Expect from My Postpartum Body

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

I thought I’d prepared for it all. After you’ve read so many books, articles, blogs, podcast after podcast, YouTube videos, and relentless interrogation of Preggos before me, I figured there would be no surprises. There were.

Some, I was ready for, but others, well… you’ll see:

1. The Postpartum Bathroom Experience
Triple P, I call it. Now, I can’t say I wasn’t warned about this. A good friend of mine warned me, “Don’t leave the hospital until you poop.” I blushed over the phone, not quite sure what she’d meant. She explained it was painful after a vaginal birth, and it was a struggle.We moved on from the conversation that left me, well, a little shaken, but I quickly forgot about it. Ladies, listen up: I solemnly swear that my own PPP was ten-fold more painful than giving birth to my 10 lb. 1 oz. son. There. Ye be warned.

I remember a nurse offering me a stool softener tablet to “help things along.” I popped the little pill. I wish she’d been a little more forthcoming and less nonchalant about that little red tablet. I wish she’d laid a hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said, “Good luck, honey.  You’re gonna need it.” For me, it took four days to finally happen. I ended up crying and begged my husband to call the nurse at the hospital. She told me to take two softeners a day and drink more water, but it was inevitable. I had to just get through it. You will too, I promise. Now that you know, you can start preparing. Drink lots and lots and lots of water and maybe try a stool softener or two with your docs permission before the birth.

2. From Fashionista to Flatulista
After you are stitched up and healed in your nether regions, things may not be quite the same for awhile… or ever. I can only speak for myself, currently eight months postpartum, but… here goes… I… I toot sometimes, ok? There, I said it! I’m not talking about the kind that all people do as human beings. I’m talking about the kind that is embarrassing because you can’t hold it in and it’s complete with sound effects, the likes of which make little preteen boys laugh. I don’t know what happened to my whoo-ha muscles, but to this day I’ve had a few embarrassing moments. I usually just continue on as if nothing has happened in the vain hope that I’ve fooled those around me into thinking they didn’t hear what they just heard. Alas, it’s human nature. What’s life without a few moments to look back and laugh at? Besides, I don’t think this affects everyone. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones!

3. You might smell a little worse… Temporarily.
This was another unexpected treat. For a good three to four months postpartum, no deodorant would suffice. I tried three kinds and stopped short of going into the doctor for prescription antiperspirant. It was like going through puberty all over again. Thankfully, this little phenom called it quits and I’m back on good ole’ fashioned unscented deodorant.

4. You may kiss some of your shoes goodbye.
I thought this was an old wives tale, but there were a couple of pairs of shoes I ended up getting rid of because they were just too small even months after birth. Trust me when I tell you they weren’t tight — they were too small. You know those shoes that you probably shouldn’t have bought because your toe is right at the end, but they were on sale and super cute, so you thought, “Oh, what the hell!?” Those are the ones you probably won’t be able to wear anymore. Bonus: new shoes!

Still, I’d chuck out all my shoes and raise my smelly armpits proudly to do it all again. These are just small things compared to a list of a thousand amazing things about your baby. I just wish I’d known, that’s all.

How did your body surprise you after baby?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Why You Hate Your Husband (After Baby Arrives)

I Still Look Pregnant — Help!

Post Birth Recovery