When I was pregnant, all I ever heard was “you will never be fully ready for parenting”. I read everything I could find; my brain was a parenting sponge soaking it all up. Then I gave birth, and 4 months down the track I reflected, and understood the sentiment. Nope, you can never be ready.
There was so much that I had experienced, and yet hadn’t seen a single article online.
So I wrote this post.
And then once I started I realised it would become several posts, because there was so much to include.I wanted to share all the rude and offensive things, the gross things, and all the stuff I had wanted to ask but were too afraid to.
So for all those that aren’t parents yet, enjoy. If there’s something I haven’t covered yet, and you want to know feel free to post a comment. If you want to remain anonymous, use my Contact form. I’ll reply to you directly, and update the comments below with an anonymous post.
For all those that are, have a laugh with me. We’ve all been in to battle.
And finally, thanks to the friends and contacts who provided suggestions for topics, or allowed me to tell their stories. You know who you are.
So onto the questions.
What’s it like when your waters break?
It’s like you’re peeing yourself. It’s super gross. My doctor had to break my waters for me, in a room with him, my husband and a nurse. Woohoo privacy! We had absorbent towels underneath me, and it felt like they were completely saturated. Imagine having no control over your bladder. That. Just this warm oozing feeling. So gross. Especially when you’re in a room full of other people.
What does sex for the first time after giving birth feel like?
For me, I ended up having an emergency c-section so my lower region remained mostly intact. No stretching or tearing.
Oh – side topic, for any of those who have read “50 Shades of Grey” I totally just had a moment trying to figure out how to write vagina. Remember how the author totally danced around that word? OH MY GOD IT’S JUST THE WORD VAGINA. She was probably trying to keep things sounding sexy, but I just got fixated on the lack of the word. VAGINA.
So anyway, my VAGINA remained mostly intact. That meant I didn’t have any stretching or tearing. I do, however, have a scar above my pubic region with numb spots from the c-section. So when it came to sex I had managed to conjure this image in my mind that it might split open the scar. I know, what a sexy thought imagining my insides falling out! Gross!
My husband should probably feel a bit chuffed that I even figured he was big enough to cause that sort of damage.
Getting to the point (ha, inuendo), sex for the first time hurts even without the VAGINAL damage. It’s almost like losing your virginity all over again. It gets easier, but it does make it hard to get yourself into the mood when you know it’s going to hurt. I can’t speak for all women of course, especially those that had a VAGINAL birth, but for me it really did it hurt. So be prepared.
Oh and before you ask, yes we used lube. It’s more internal pain than a friction style thing.
By the way, VAGINA. Ok, I’m done. Ha, that’s what he/she said.
How long does it take to get your sex drive back?
For some people, not a problem at all. They were banging away days later. One friend told me that it took her over a year. Seriously, mother’s groups and friends with kids, we all share this stuff!
Back to me, I’m not one of those people that was banging days later.
I’ve got to admit, I’m still struggling. The pain is a major turn off. And when the baby goes down at night you’re seriously so thrilled to have your hands free that the two of you sometimes spread to either end of the house. You relish the time to do anything at all that doesn’t involve a baby (hello blogging). Then you realise that if you don’t go to bed and sleep, you’re going to feel like rat shit when you have to get up in a couple of hours for the first feed. So you go to bed. What sex?
On top of that your body feels like a machine rather than a sex object. After having a baby attached to your nipples for a large portion of the day, the last thing you want is for someone else to be playing with them. You want time for you to feel like you, not share your body with someone else. It’s hard to feel sexy when you feel like that.
So sex begins to lose priority.
Again, I can’t speak for everyone.
I’m now at that point where we’re starting to get into the swing of things with the baby that my relationship with my husband is beginning to become a priority again. We hang out on the couch again at night. We’re doing couple things. My interest is beginning to return.
The point in sharing this there’s no common answer to this question. It will come back when you make the effort for it to come back. You need to prioritise time with your partner. You need to feel confident and sexy in your body again. Those two things could be at any time for all of us. And it’s totally OK. Make sure you get back to it when you’r ready. Take your time, ease into it and keep things enjoyable.
My biggest tip is to make sure you do prioritise time for your partner, once you feel you can. While your child is important you need to remember that you’re partners first and foremost. Having a healthy, loving relationship will set such a great example for your child.
Did you love your baby straight away?
I’m going to be brutally honest here, it didn’t feel like rainbows straight away. I knew I loved him, but I was still in shock. Instead I felt like I had this overwhelming sense of responsibility. I had this little human relying on me, and I needed to do the best job I could. But I wasn’t a raving, cooing-at-the-baby mother (some people are).
But that mushy day comes for all of us.
When it came I wasn’t prepared. I looked at my child, and I was suddenly so in love. I just wanted to cuddle him as hard as I could, and I told him repeatedly I loved him. It wasn’t enough. It didn’t feel like he got it, so I just kept watching him and smiling at him.
When that day happens it’s beautiful. Trust yourself to know it will come. And accept there are days when you will question yourself and whether you’re cut out to be a mother. I did it, repeatedly. But the day comes.
How much bleeding is there after labour…seriously?
A lot. It’s like having your period for weeks and weeks. You get so used to wearing a pad you don’t know what it’s like to not have puffy undies in the end. I didn’t even bother with tampons since I would have had to change it so often.
Stock up in preparation. I think before I gave birth I had about 6 or 7 packets of super pads in the cupboard. I used most of them in about 6 weeks.
The bleeding will be off and on too. Just when you think you’re easing up it will come back again. Be wary. And prepared. And if anything doesn’t feel right see a doctor immediately. Trust your instinct.
If you think you won’t get your period because you’re breastfeeding, don’t count on that. I was still getting mine. After a bit I ended up going on the mini pill (not the full pill so it doesn’t affect breast milk supply), which that stops the period. Unlike the normal pill there’s no breaks on the mini pill either, it’s continuous. The mini pill is more hardcore on timing too. When taking it, there’s only a two hour gap (one hour either side of the regular time) to take it. Otherwise if you miss it and if you’re like me you’ll cop a bit of bleeding a day or so later. I ended up installing an app on my phone to remind me, since mornings are so unpredictable with a baby. Trying to remember a pill was near impossible. Pre-pregnancy I used to take my pill every morning when I brushed my teeth, now I have no guarantees what time that will be.
Get comfortable pooping in front of others
At the moment I have it pretty easy. When my husband is at home I can give him the baby and have some time in peace. When he’s not at home, I’ve had to get used to pooping with my baby in sight (even when suffering from a stomach upset). Sometimes I can get away with leaving him strapped into his swing in the living room, and pooping in our main bathroom, but not always.
I’m just lucky he’s still a baby.
I’ve been warned about the toddler phase. My friend has told me stories of her toddler crawling on her lap when she’s on the toilet. Apparently he wants to see her poop come out, so he tries to push her out of the way so he can see. Yeah….I’m not looking forward to that.
How bad are poo explosions?
The best way to deal with these is to laugh. First, admire the power of your baby’s bottom to spray that s**t out. Then laugh. Then finally, start the clean up.
Funny story – this week just gone we were at the library for Rhyme Time, and a friend’s bub had a poop explosion right there on the library floor. Props to the mum, she laughed. So did we. Then we helped to clean it up (and continued to laugh). Mum friends, gotta love them.
Honestly, poo explosions are not as bad as it sounds. I’ve become so used to having all sorts of gross human fluids on me (get your minds out of the gutter). You become so used to having breast milk, puke, saliva, snot, pee or poop on you that you don’t even flinch when it happens.
Second funny story – a few weeks back my son’s tummy felt hard and I realised that he was going to poop somewhere in the fifteen minutes or so. I decided I would change his nappy first so it could absorb the full amount of poop, since he already had a decent amount of pee in his nappy. I lifted his legs to put the new nappy on him and BAM. Poop came out and coated my hands like a Mr Whippy ice cream machine spewing out soft serve. I laughed, and began the clean up operation, including changing the change mat cover, his clothes, and my hand. It was pretty f’ing funny. Bonus was that my clothing remained intact!
When your baby has a poo explosions all you have to do is take a deep breath, and either pop the baby (and yourself) straight into the shower, or get out the wipes. “I have wipes” is fast becoming my catch phrase now. You can never have too many wipes. And always, always have multiple extra sets of clothes for the baby in the nappy bag. As well as a few pairs for yourself.
You will eventually become so skilful at poo clean ups that you will hunt that s**t out. Your baby will be wriggling on the table, and you’ll be like speed racer separating the baby’s legs, and wiping like mad. Baby’s got cute thigh wrinkles? Bet it’s had poop in them. Boy’s testicles? Better lift them and wipe for poop. Girls VAGINA? Yeah you bet there’s poop in there to clean (and yep, the word is still in caps). POOP, POOP, POOP.
Get comfortable with it.
The next installment
Some questions I plan on answering in the next instalment:
- Are there days you wish you didn’t have a baby
- Changes in hormones
- Breast feeding and nipple damage
- Dealing with judgements from other people
- Worst things about being a parent (I’ll counter this with the best things, because there’s a lot of perks and I do love being a mum)
If there’s anything else you want me to add please either comment below, or use my Contact form!