Monday, 15 August 2016

#3things: nobody told me about after giving birth

Nobody told me you can’t use toilet paper
Nobody told me that you bleed
Nobody told me you might need a secret place
where you can scream.
My mother in law gave me a book for my birthday (at 35 weeks pregnant) called Nobody Told Me, by Hollie McNish. Nobody Told Me chronicles three years and nine months of poet Hollie McNish’s life from finding out she was pregnant, through to becoming a mother. I've been reading the book in realtime - so at the stage that I'm at, as each time I've read on, it's started to freak me out!

If you're pregnant, you might be advised to look away now! There's probably a reason that nobody talks about this stuff until afterwards but to be honest, sometimes it's good to be prepared.

  1. You'll be losing fluids. Think your waters breaking is a worry? Turns out that's nothing compared to what happens after giving birth. Make sure you stock up on maternity pads because however you give birth (vaginally or caesarean) you will bleed. And for the first few days, at least, it'll be pretty heavy. You'll also find that there is a whole lot of other fluid to get rid of from your body. My feet swelled up like balloons for a good few days - the best way to get rid of them was to sleep flat on my back with my feet raised up on a few pillows. Add on to that the night sweats - as well as your feet swelling, you'll be sweating out all of those fluids every night. Seriously, as if you didn't have enough to deal with after giving birth!
  2. You'll still look pregnant. And you might feel like you're still in labour. For the first few days (at least) you'll still look about six months pregnant. And you'll continue to look pregnant for weeks afterwards. Unless you're a model and you snap straight back into shape within days. But who really does that? Six weeks later, I've returned to my pre-baby weight but still have a pretty sizeable bump! As your bump does start to go down, you'll feel contractions as your uterus begins to shrink back. If you're breastfeeding, these contractions will be most noticeable as you're feeding.
  3. You will cry! A lot. The first 24-48 hours, you'll be on an adrenaline high (as well as high on whatever pain killers they're giving you) and will be feeling so elated over what you've done and the baby you've got. Then suddenly on the third day (usually when your milk comes in - whether you're breastfeeding or not) you will cry. You'll suddenly realise that you have a baby. And that you are responsible for this small person for the next 18 years - at least. And that will scare the **** out of you. I cried for two weeks, nearly constantly. The baby blues - as this period is known as - are so common that they are considered completely normal and are not to be confused with postnatal depression (PND). PND normally occurs four to eight weeks after giving birth but can start any time in the first year after giving birth. If you think you might be suffering from PND, you can find out more here.

What surprised you about after you'd given birth?


  1. Oh the night sweats!!!! I totally forgot about them but actually thought I was going through the menopause ha ha. The bleeding is also awful. You think you've got away with periods for 9 months but oh no you get 9 months worth of periods after the baby. The things women have to put up with. I'm glad you've written this. I didn't know any of this before my first either and, having a section second time, I stupidly thought they would scrape everything away!! How wrong I was. Thanks so much for linking up #maternitymondays

  2. Oh I have done a similar post in the past. You have no idea do you - I think I bought one pack of pads thinking that will do! and crying oh how I cried! I think what shocked me the most was the aftermath, I heard about tough pregnancies and the pain of labour but nobody warned me how hard it would be physically and mentally afterwards. #maternitymondays