It’s now been 10 whole months since I gave birth to Hailey and people aren’t lying when they say time passes faster once you’ve had a baby! It’s pretty amazing what your body is able to do in 9 months of being pregnant. While (for the most part) I am back to being myself, there’s so much about me that has changed. Despite physical changes (which are pretty obvious when you’ve grown a human and then have to bounce back into shape) there’s so many mental changes that happen from the moment you give birth.
I haven’t really shared any of my pregnancy photos that I took and I definitely haven’t done an update in a really long time. So, I thought now would be a good time to share the truth about my postpartum journey. Even though things may look the same from the outside, they’re actually really different on the inside.
Postpartum Hair Loss
You guys, postpartum hair loss is so real and so annoying. My hair was coming out in clumps which is bad enough. But, the part they don’t tell you is that it’s coming out in clumps all the time. Not just in the shower, not just when you’re brushing your hair but literally all the time. When you have curly hair, that results in your hair basically becoming a giant knot filled with loose hairs that follow you around the house leaving a trail behind you. In addition to that, you’ve got these weird stripes/bald spots all along the side of your head so good luck anytime you want to put your hair in a ponytail or bun (which, as a new mom, you have to do a lot!). As if all that isn’t bad enough, eventually hair starts to grow back in and then you’re left with these weird little baby hairs that grow in funny little chunks. When your hair is curly like mine, they pretty much just stick out in little curls in the most terrible way. I’m dealing with this new hairdo of mine, however I found that blow drying it out has helped me a lot so that I don’t feel like a horrible mess of a mom every day. Sometimes it can be hard to find time to do it but I always find a way to prioritize it so that I can feel good about myself. I think it’s really important as a stay at home mom (who also works from home!) and essentially never leaves the house. Doing my hair helps me to not feel like a total bum and helps me to feel just a little bit sexy on the daily.
Well well, the only hair that’s growing isn’t on your head! You may have noticed while you’re pregnant that you have a little bit more hair on your body than you did before. It’s totally normal to have darker hairs on your stomach, nipples or face. I know this is TMI and I don’t love to admit that my stomach is now hairy, but hey we tell the truth here and that’s what’s going on. So get used to it and grab some wax or one of these little epilator pens to get rid of them if they bother you.
Due to breast-feeding, I managed to lose all of my pregnancy weight and even a little bit extra. That’s right- I weigh less than I did before I got pregnant! It really doesn’t matter what the scale says after you’ve given birth, or at any point in your life really. I’m not saying this to brag, because really I have nothing to brag about. I don’t exercise and I haven’t followed any sort of health routine, but I did manage to lose the baby weight. The reason why am telling you this is because everyone tells you that after you have a baby you’ll never fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans again. This essentially just invokes fear in you that after you have a baby, your “sexy body” is completely gone. I’m here to tell you that every body is different and there’s no telling what will happen to yours after you give birth. You may bounce back completely, you may have stretch marks, you may have saggy skin, you may gain weight, you may lose weight. The only thing we all have in common is that we really don’t know what’s going to happen. Invoking fear in new moms, telling them that they’ll never get their old body back, isn’t a productive use of time. Instead, let’s talk about the things they gain, such “as you’ll be amazed by how strong your body becomes after you’ve given birth” or “carrying a baby around all day gives you great arm strength” or “crawling around after your baby is great cardio”. Let’s change the conversation around postpartum bodies.
While I have technically lost all my baby weight, my body is far from back to normal. The changes are pretty minor and probably only get noticed by me and maybe my husband, but they’re still there. My stomach is very soft and the skin is a little bit loose. However, at the end of the day, I have to accept it. Sometimes I want to cover it up with a high waisted bikini or maybe even a one piece, but I feel like as mothers we should wear this as a badge of honor. We should wear it as an F-you to the beauty industry that tells us that we need creams or potions or girdles or anything like that to make us beautiful once again. So while it me make me a little bit uncomfortable, I’ve decided I’m not going to hide it and I’m going to just try to rock it with pride. The fact of the matter is most people probably won’t notice it and in the end it really doesnt matter.
Oh goodness my boobs, let’s talk about those for a minute. When I got pregnant, my boobs got really big- well, for me anyway. They were still only a C cup! But, they were essentially useless in terms of being sexy because they hurt so much. I had to wear really unsexy bras and definitely couldn’t push them up or anything. Once I gave birth to Hailey and I was producing milk, they were plenty of times that I had what I call “porn star boobs” or essentially boobs that are so round and perfect that they almost seem like they were filled with silicon. It didn’t last long obviously, because the soon as I fed Hailey they shrunk back down. As time went on and my boobs stopped getting engorged, they tend to be much softer. While my right boob has stayed essentially the same, the left one has gone south for the winter and is now pretty saggy. Again, when I’m wearing a shirt you really can’t tell. My boobs did what they were supposed to do-fed my baby for the past 10 months and counting, which is what they’re supposed to do- not be sexy or appealing in any way. However, it does get kind of sad sometimes when I look down and see how different they became. So, while I do thank my body (and I do it all the time), I do like to acknowledge that my body has changed and I am allowed to feel things about it.
Post Partum Baby Blues
The first few moments after I gave her to Hailey were really strange. I looked at this baby and didn’t relate her to the one I was carrying in my womb. It was a really strange sensation to have and actually extremely upsetting, because I felt like a horrible person. After such a long labor (35 hours) I was completely exhausted mentally and physically, and now had this new person to take care of. The baby blues that I felt after giving birth were so bad that I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, although I’m sure many many women feel it. I was so sad that I was no longer pregnant. For probably the last month of my pregnancy, I simultaneously was excited to meet my baby/wishing she were here, and wanting to soak up every last minute of pregnancy. After giving birth, there were so many times that I touched my stomach only to find that it was empty. For some reason this gutted me every single time and I begin to cry. This happened every time I walked and touched my stomach expecting to feel my baby, every time I took a shower and very often when I just thought about it. Luckily, within a few weeks it passed and I was able to find acceptance with my body and find love for my baby. It was the whole reason for the pregnancy in the first place!
Emotional Forever And Always
If you didn’t cry a lot before you got pregnant, you’re probably find that you cry a whole lot more now! Everything makes me super emotional especially in relation to my baby. I don’t think I had too much postpartum depression, although I suspect I may have had a touch of it. There are definitely days where I felt dark but they seemed to pass so I didn’t seek help. Maybe I should have, I don’t know, but I found that I was OK for the most part so I didn’t. (If you’re feeling sad, hopeless, have negative feelings towards your baby, or want to harm yourself or your baby, please seek help.)
Heres a picture of me after I took my very first set of bump updates. Totally crying, like I did pretty much throughout my entire pregnancy.
So, that’s a little bit about my postpartum journey as well as some truths about it that most people like to hide or sweep under the rug. Postpartum is kind of like an evolving, winding road. Sometimes we forget which way we came but there’s so much we’ve done and yet still so far to go. Like our baby, we are now ever-changing and yet only getting better.
So, please share your postpartum journey with me in the comments. Was there anything you learned or realized? Anything you wish people knew? Let me know- don’t be shy!