How Having a Baby Actually Changes You – Mind and Body
So this week may be a little TMI to some, to some it may totally be relatable, to some you may read something you have never heard of or experienced. But I really wanted to dive into something that is the reality for most mamas and rarely talked about it. The thing I’m gonna touch on is allll things postpartum with our bodies, or at least the things I’ve experienced. Because sis, i’m still going through weird things postpartum and I had my last baby a year ago.
So all us mamas, we’ve all been there right? Right after giving birth your body feels like you ran a marathon, while carrying 100 pound weights…you feel like you haven’t slept or ate in days. I just remember feeling like a total zombie, but I had to be alert at all times, my pure exhaustion had to take a back seat. And as a mama I was willing to do whatever it took for my babies to always have me available for a feeding, diaper change, rocking them etc.. so just going through all that and really just having to fall into this new pattern takes a crazy huge toll on your body physically, emotionally and mentally.
So this was a HUGE one for me. With both pregnancies! So before I was pregnant, I had pretty normal skin, sometimes dry but mainly pretty normal. Well thanks to hormones during and after pregnancies my skin freaked the f out. With both pregnancies, during my first trimester my skin was super dry and I got some pretty bad breakouts, and then during the last few months of being pregnant I was rocking that pregnancy glow, skin looking flawless. Now, fast forward to a month postpartum and my hormones are even more outta whack. So my skin takes a turn for the worst and I’m back to having breakouts. I was having full on hormonal breakouts, and once I got my period again (around the 8/9 month) the week leading up to that and for the first few days I was breaking out bad. So out of a whole month I had about a week of my skin feeling great and looking great! Jokes on me right?! And this is coming from someone who has always had a kickass skincare routine, always. Yup, I had always taken good care of my skin, used good products etc, and I still suffered from all of this. Definitely worth it, cause my kids are the best thing in the entire universe but damn, this was a heartbreaker to my face lol. My skin is pretty ok now, I have the normal hormonal breakouts during that time of the month. But my skin is nothing like it was before I started having kiddos, and as I’m nearing my 30s I knew my skin would go through some kind of new changes but it’s just crazy how things like pregnancy can change something like your skin for forever. My advice, definitely talk to a dermatologist, find products that work for your skin type, and be patient! Your skin is delicate and it just wants some extra love and care.
- “Lady parts”
Yes, we are talking about this. There’s a reason why your midwife or doc say to wait 6 weeks to have sex again. And to all the dads out there, we promise the wait is worth it! Because when it comes to what your partners go through after pushing a human being out their vagina… trust us it’s worth the wait. First off for us, our bodies, especially down there… is like what the hell just happened?! Did we just do that?! No, no there’s no way! Ummm yeah guys, it happened and it was crazy and once the shock and meds wear off we will feel that aftermath. With Evie I had an all natural birth, and that took an extreme toll on my body. I had a horrible tear, (had to be stitched up) I was bleeding a lot. I couldn’t sit down for weeks without a pillow, or a little donut pillow I carried around with me. Not kidding. It was painful, I hated going to the bathroom. It wasn’t until 6-8 months after when I started my menstrual cycle again that I actually felt somewhat normal again down there. And with my second baby, (this time i got an epidural) the recovery went a little smoother but with this one the muscles on the inside of my vagina were very weak and it felt so uncomfortable to have sex at first. It sucked! I thought, hey i’ll get to the 6 week mark and be fine but for some reason with this pregnancy my body changed yet again in ways I didn’t think it would. It was pry around 10 weeks postpartum when it felt ok to do anything sexual. To help with that I did take tylenol and warm baths, I did kegel exercises and just tried to be as relaxed as possible. It took time for my body to adjust, and I really feel grateful that my body has the strength it does to give birth and recover, no matter how long or short it takes for some.
Ohhhh yes, I could talk about these all day haha but i’ll keep it short. It is sooo crazy how hormones can affect so many things inside the body and on the outside. I was so dang happy when my boobs grew two sizes up when I was pregnant. To me I finally had “boobs’ ‘ or what I thought was having great boobs. Being an A/B cup my whole life I was pretty pumped to have killer D cups. During both pregnancies, my boobs grew in the beginning and since I breastfeed both babies my boobs grew even more for that. To me I never had big boobs so of course I had no bras that fit, so I had to get all new maternity bras. With Evie postpartum I didn’t swell as bad as I did with Harrison. I had ice packs, heat pads, you name it to help with trying to sooth how swelled up I got. I was constantly leaking milk (thank god for breast pads) and always trying to relieve the pressure. It was pretty painful and uncomfortable to sleep, which also sucked cause I was already deprived of sleep! Ha just all things happening! But that soon passed and after I stopped breastfeeding with Evie and since slowing down breastfeeding with Harrison things have returned semi normal…I just have a lot of side boob action and slightly more sag going on! Thank you breastfeeding! Ha but hey some mamas go back to normal and some don’t change at all, but mine definitely changed and they are nothing like they were pre having babies! So I may see a boob job in my future…haha no but for real, it’s happening.
- Postpartum Depression
So here it is, the elephant in the room. The thing most moms go through but rarely want to talk about. No one likes to put themselves in a vulnerable position. It’s scary, people judge the shit out of one another these days. Why would any mama wanna come out and say that. Its sad, but its reality for some. With my first baby, whether I wanted to admit it or not, I went through months of ups and downs dealing with postpartum depression. There was never a disconnect with my baby, but there was a disconnect with my partner at the time, with myself, and with adjusting to being a mom. I felt like my whole life had slipped through my fingers, I questioned every move I made as a mom. I questioned my worth, I never felt like I deserved to be a mom. Like somehow god made a mistake in making me one at that time. I felt discouraged. Most days I went through the motions, I put on a happy face even though I felt exhausted, and wasn’t eating much. It took a toll on my body and self worth that I never knew was possible. To feel so much love through the bond with Evie and how amazing it felt to be her mom, but just feeling sadness and loss inside. Thinking back it breaks my heart, I wish I would have said something sooner to someone. It was hard, and I still can’t fully explain what it really felt like. So it took a lot of strength, some soul searching, and just trusting god that he had a plan for me that was greater than what I could imagine. So to any mamas out there who dealt with that and went through it, I see you. I feel you, there are people who love you, want to help and just want to be there for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
- Other body changes
My hair was definitely one that took on a transformation. With my first baby my hair grew like crazyyyy and by the time I had miss Evie, my hair was the longest it had ever been. But right after I had her, my hair thinned out badly. (definitely could have been postpartum depression) but I did read that that can happen after you have your baby. With Harrison it didn’t grow as fast during my pregnancy but afterward it started to, and now I have all these weird baby hairs growing out everywhere around my forehead and in the back of my head, it’s weird. But hey my hair is the healthiest it’s ever been so i’m not complaining there! Another change was that my nails seemed to be stronger and not as brittle as they once were. They seem way healthier and grow faster than they have in the past, which I’ve never had long nails so I’m here for it! Fortunately for me I never dealt with stretch marks pre baby or post baby with either pregnancy. I blame it on my good genes, but also I have been lathering on the body lotion for years and years prior to ever getting pregnant. So my skin already had that extra moisture, and I continued to do so all throughout my pregnancies. Sometimes I would lotion up even more since I was constantly itching my skin and belly from all the stretching it does! But even though I didn’t deal with that, my skin and body have definitely changed. I have more cellulite in places, my hip bones are at a completely different spot, my ab and stomach still kinda move around as if it’s trying to reset all my organs back in place. Certain clothing items fit way differently than they did before and sometimes look different. I used to get upset about it and feel a little down but lately as my body continues to strengthen and mold into where it’s supposed to be, I like the challenge of finding new outfits or different styles to take on that make me feel good in my skin.
So I’m sure there’s a lot I’m missing and there’s probably even more things women go through postpartum that I have never dealt with. But that’s the beauty of us all, we are all different. We all experience everything different, and I just love that moms like Alex and myself have these kinds of platforms and vulnerability to share our experiences. We want to feel connected, we want to know the struggles, we want the discussions to happen. It’s what brings people together, to know they can feel supported and understood. For us moms to have a voice and not feel ashamed to talk about some raw real life shit.