So I was in the shower dealing with yet another first that was unspoken about prior to my motherhood journey and thought that I would start a blog to expose all of the experiences I have had so far and will encounter on this mixed emotion rollercoaster, that I and so many others are on, about to join or are planning for.
I will plan to cover my experiences, what has worked for me and the challenges I have faced along the way that caught me by surprise despite having a very strong support network and close friends that I thought discussed EVERYTHING!
Before I start I just want to explain that motherhood is an exceptional journey that I absolutely love and wouldn’t change for the world but I wanted to write about the elements that aren’t necessarily disclosed, discussed or advised frequently. This is based only on my experience and incase you get confused I am not a medical professional 😉
Recovery after childbirth
So as you will read in most pregnancy and birthing books you can bleed for up to 6 weeks post partum. The element that they fail to clearly explain is that a sanitary towel just won’t do and even if you do get maternity pads you never buy enough to prepare you for the most almighty period that comes after a 9 month break! From the minute that my darling arrived I was living in old knickers that could be thrown, wearing dark clothes, sitting on my light coloured sofa with a bath towel and sleeping on a maternity sheet. Between you and me this was as much for my lack of confidence in the possibility of wetting myself as it was in the chances of an alternative accident. I was a paranoid wreck with frequent visits to the toilet to freshen up my pad due to being informed that breastfeeding will also make for a heavier flow. 😳
I gave birth at home and the midwives luckily came with pads and maternity sheets for me to use during and directly after labour. I was also later grateful for the additional ones that they left behind. It took weeks before I was confident enough that I wouldn’t have an accident. This was then the point that I took the plunge to walk the dog and low and behold my flow got heavy again. 😡 and I was back to sitting on towels for a couple of days.
Despite breastfeeding and being advised that this would mean that your period would take a while to return. At 12 weeks post partum I have just had my first visit in a year from Mother Nature and let me be the one to warn you that the maternity pads were back in use and I am sitting on my sofa with a towel once more. This time though I am more confident that I won’t wet myself thanks to the daily kegal routine that the midwives were very strong to encourage straight after the birth.
I had a 2nd degree tear during my delivery – whatever that means but from the way that the midwives referred to it I guess it is good. However to me this hurt, needed stitches and felt like my womanhood would never be the same again.
The midwives came to check me and baby over at Day 1 and 5, I was informed that all was ok however keep an eye on your stitches and how you are healing. So here there was a problem I am not sure how well acquainted you all are with your lady parts however it wasn’t something that I did regularly stand over a mirror and examine closely. However in hindsight I wish I had as to me it looks very different now like it has taken a battering and left with a few different scars!
To help with the healing process you are advised not to wipe but dab after a wee and keep a glass next to the toilet so that you can pour water whilst going to prevent stinging and keep the stitches clean. this can make for an interesting conversation when visitors come to visit the baby and ask why there is a glass next to the toilet.
At your check ups the midwives ask you if you have managed a poo, well I don’t go regularly and was worried what would happen when I did. So When the day arrived I was full of mixed emotions; joy that I could do it, fear of how to wipe incase I caught any stitches and disappointed with no sign of my haemorrhoids disappearing but in fact doubling in size.
Advice to new mums preparing for their labour and delivery:
- Ensure that you purchase both maternity sheets and pads to get you through at least 3 weeks and stock up for your 1st period too. (My favourite that had high absorbing and padding for comfort were Tena lady extra.)
- Breastfeeding doesn’t mean that you will have a prolonged break from Mother Nature.
- Ensure you have haemorrhoid cream handy for the last weeks of pregnancy and first weeks of motherhood. Not everyone gets them but better to be prepared.
- And most importantly become acquainted with yourself and cherish it as once that baby arrives (if via a vaginal birth) you will never be quite the same again despite how well your delivery goes.