“Why do I always forget how miserable I am after having a baby?” I asked Scott with tears in my eyes.

It was a rhetorical question. I mean, obviously your mind erases memories of that hot hell to protect the human species. It’s nature.

If I could vividly recall what it’s like to experience sleep deprivation, engorged breasts, raw nipples, night sweats, a patched up vagina, and this…

postpartumrash

I would have never had a 2nd or 3rd child.

That is a horrific postpartum rash. I get it every. single. time. I have a baby. And each time it starts all up in my crotch and spreads further down my legs, up onto my stomach, and even onto my arms.

After Kendall, it was suspected I had contact dermatitis from Always pads, and that’s probably true. I likely had that all up in that area where the pads actually came in contact with my skin. Looking back, though, I think I also had a small reaction to the narcotics I was prescribed as pain relief (following an un-medicated birth). I had no idea I was allergic to them at that time.

After Leyna, that narcotic reaction got a little worse, but cleared up with a steroid pack. Still, I hadn’t put 2 and 2 together that it was the pain meds causing this.

After Lowell, for the first time ever, I took a prescription for narcotic pain meds home with me because I have 2 other kids to keep up with now. (I just took high doses of Advil once I got home after Kendall and Leyna were born.) So this mystery rash came, spread, tortured me, and persisted even after I finished a steroid pack (because I was following those pills up with my pain meds).

Once we finally figured out the cause, I immediately stopped taking them, and the rash cleared up within a few days.

Imagine, if you will, your crotch is being held together by stitches, that entire area is so sore and swollen you have to use a gentle stream of water to clean yourself after using the bathroom, and all you want to do is SCRATCH THE ITCH AWAY, except no, because who wants to even look down there after having a baby, let alone scratch. And every time you take a hot shower, which you crave because your muscles are so sore, the hives get worse. The itch is so intense you cry and writhe around just to keep yourself from scratching it because even if you can get past the thought of accidentally scratching off a stitch down there, scratching just makes it WORSE.

Oh, this is so much of my hell after I have babies.

When I was about 4 days postpartum, my curiosity got the best of me, and I looked at myself in the mirror below the waist. My rule after having babies is usually to NEVER LOOK DOWN. For a long, long time. But this time, I really wanted to know what was happening with that cystical. (A cyst on my labia the size of a golf ball that showed up while I was pregnant because the universe is hilarious.)

What I saw… oh my God… what I saw was a scene from a horror movie.  I looked deformed. I thought for sure I would never go back to normal. I sobbed in the bathroom in the middle of the night.

8 weeks later, I’m happy to report things are looking much less like they’re about to explode down there. I should have stuck to my original plan to NEVER LOOK DOWN for a long, long time.

In addition to all the physical BLECH that goes on after having a baby, for me, I have those pesky hormones to deal with.

I love all my children so so much. Promise. But when I come home from the hospital with a tiny, fresh baby, I just can not with the older kids crawling on me and touching me, smearing me with their germs.

Of course, outwardly I am loving and excited to see them. I tell them how much I missed them and hug and kiss them. I’m not a monster on the outside, y’all.

Just on the inside.

Just inside my brain, where I’m like, “Oh good God, go to bed. Please leave me and your innocent new sibling alone in our quiet, dark room. No, you can not touch him or kiss him or even LOOK at him while he is slowly demolishing my nipples and killing me quietly. GO. AWAY.”

Nipple pain is real, and can make me blind with rage in the beginning.

IMG_5011

Breastfeeding can hurt. Bad. Is it supposed to? Technically, if you have a “perfect” latch, no. Reality? You might not start out with a perfect latch. Should you strive for that? Yes. Should you get help from an LC as soon as possible? Yes. Is it likely you will have someone help you perfect that perfect latch in the first 24-48 hours before any damage is done? In my experience, no. 

Nipple pain DOES go away. You CAN make it through. The quicker you work to get a good latch, the faster it will get better. I say these things not to discourage anyone from breastfeeding. I say these things because not many people do, and it helps to be prepared so you can work through it and stick with it, knowing it will get better.

**************

All of this isn’t to scare anyone or make anyone feel bad for me. This is just the reality that so many gloss over, forget to mention, or just plain forget when it comes to life after baby arrives. Those last few weeks leading up to having a baby are usually mega uncomfortable.  This plus labor seems to get all the focus when it comes to talking to expecting moms about how to cope.

Oh sure, there is some talk of preparing freezer meals and arranging for help post-baby. But, in my opinion, this is a transition period in a woman’s life that is grossly neglected. I can see why, honestly.

It’s hard to recall the exact pain of labor and delivery, but there is enough of a dialogue about that to remind moms most of the time that just because we can’t physically remember it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It also seems more socially acceptable for a woman to experience pain and to reach out for help during this time.

8 weeks out from having a baby, and it really is hard to recall exactly how awful those first few weeks postpartum were, and nobody is talking much about it. People don’t seem to want to hear how a mother of a 2 week old is absolutely miserable and not at all “enjoying this time.” It’s not so acceptable for a mother of a newborn to tell people to please hold off on visiting because she’s in misery and would rather sit on a pack of ice with her shirt off all day.

We don’t blog or tell recovery stories like we do birth stories. By the time most of us come out of the haze of recovery enough to talk to others about it, we either don’t want to re-live it, or we are too drunk on fresh-new-baby smell to recall the details. (Nature has powerful amnesia drugs.)

I asked my Facebook page if I was alone in feeling unprepared for postpartum recovery each time. Turns out, I’m not. Hundreds chimed in, and most agreed that postpartum recovery can really knock us on our ass unexpectedly.

Some people report that their postpartum experiences went great. They were back to life as normal within days. I’m not saying you’re guaranteed to have a brutal recovery, but be prepared for the possibility. Give yourself a lot of time, a lot of grace, and have a plan. Don’t be afraid to tell people no. No, you’re just not ready to come out and meet them yet. No, they can not come visit yet.

Take your time. It takes more than a few days, for most people, to return to a shade of “normal” after having a baby. And that’s okay. You’ll forget it eventually (mostly), but that doesn’t make living through the discomfort in that moment any better.

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72 thoughts on “Postpartum Realities”

  1. I had a VBAC 6 weeks ago. While my recovery was certainly easier than my c-section, it still took a while before I felt like myself again. After 6 weeks my 2nd degree tear still isn’t quite healed. No one wants to hear about how uncomfortable stitches in that area are, so you have to tell people you feel fantastic.

  2. Oh that rash looks AWFUL! I’ve had some weirdo rashes before (I get a rash when I get sunburned, so, THAT is fun! FYI, vitamin E oil helps with the itchies, but then the problem is how to coat yourself with sticky goo and not leave a mess everywhere . . . I can’t imagine having to deal with that in the crotchal region. So much sympathy with me in that regard, there). Thanks for always keeping it real, though. I’m so sorry you’ve had such a rough time (I’ve been hoping for you that the PPA would at least stay away this time!) but I do think it’s good for people to know that pregnancy/birth/recovery isn’t 100% sunshine and roses for 100% of the people, and that it’s totally okay to be miserable and you’re not alone, even if you feel like you are. It’s wonderful if some people don’t have any problems, but those that do shouldn’t be shamed into silence because they feel like monsters.

  3. I totally get it. I had my son right before the holidays, and was around people for almost the entire first 6 weeks of his life. It.was.hell. During the sixth week, you know, prime baby blues time? We were staying with my in-laws for a week. I think I cried every night to go home. And cried the whole 2-hr. drive home. And then cried some more when we got home. Wow, that was not fun. On the outside I tried to be nice, but on the inside I was screaming like a mad woman. Post-partum is not fun. Walking around in a fog is just not fun. But once you wake up, it gets better and you forget. But those first few weeks are really hard.

  4. You make a great point, telling our recovery stories within the first few weeks of giving birth would help a lot of mothers “get ready” again or for the first time. I talked to my friend about what she could (not for certain) expect in recovery. I think it helped a lot. My torture moment is always the night of the day I gave birth. Last time, I had an anxiety attack so bad that I hived up and got the hugest fever blister. It’s rough. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. I was so enraged after my son was born about never hearing how bad the postpartum could be. I was told I was going to be in heaven! I was promised to be madly in love beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before! I was supposed to look like Giselle or Miranda – I mean – why wouldn’t I, right? I thought breast were supposed to work like bottles, pop them in and off you go about your business while baby suckles away happily. Not a word about how my nipples would get ripped to shreds. That “sleep when the baby sleeps” thing – people should be imprisoned and shot for saying it. It doesn’t work like that! Anyways, at the time I blogged about it, and I am attaching 2 links for women who might want to know they are not alone and it can suck really really badly, and there is no need to feel bad or apologize for it. It is what it is! It could be wonderful, and it could be pure terror. My second one is the exact opposite of my first one, and I am thankful I could experience the “magic story” with her. She sleeps, she eats, she laughs. Can I take any credit for that? Hell no, I just got lucky with #2! Hang in there, ladies, and thank you Jill for keeping it real. You saved many women’s sanity with this post.
    http://andreachmelik.blogspot.com/2012/04/when-motherhood-doesnt-come-naturally.html
    http://andreachmelik.blogspot.com/2012/05/to-my-friend-mommy-to-be-sincerely-in.html

  6. <3 this! I had anxiety pretty bad and do not live near my family, so I was lucky to be pretty much left alone, besides the 1 visit from my mom and later my brother. It still was the hardest time of my life, I felt paralyzed by being just overwhelmed. Now that we are trying for #2 I am mentally preparing for another worst 6 months of my life + taking care of a 2 year old.

  7. Totally with you on this. People see cute little babies and don’t realize/remember that they come with a ridiculous amount of pain, exhaustion and crazy. With both, but with G especially I kind of felt like there OUGHT to be a big sign above my head saying “be gentle with me, I’m 10 lbs of pain and crazy in a 5 lb sack right now.”

  8. OK, I’m gonna post this not as one of those know-it-all have you tried this posts, but, take it as you will. For a rash, when I’m in a situation of trying to avoid chemicals or medications. I take a bath (warm, not hot) and soak in oatmeal. Put the oatmeal in a nylon so there is not a mess to clean up. Granted, you will have to be able to disconnect for a bit and with a nursing baby that is not easy. I do this for my toddler as well, it helps soothe itch and dry skin, which he gets in the winter.

  9. I had a really hard time about weeks 2-6 and, when I DID talk about it, I was met with more instruction to get medicated than anything else.

    Now, I know that PPD is a real thing which requires real medication, and a doctor. I am in no way saying it’s not. However, I honestly felt like, I was just struggling to adjust (which, shouldn’t we, really?) and feeling sleep deprived and overwhelmed. All I really wanted was to hear that this was “normal’ or at the very least ‘”common” and that soon, the fog would clear and I would start to feel human again. For the most part, I never got that. And it sucked.

    It sucked because honestly, I just was so confused and alone and needed to hear it was ok. Instead I was repeatedly told by people who don’t even know me, that I needed to be medicated. And that made me feel even more abnormal.

    I wish more people WOULD blog honestly about the aftermath, because it’s not all that wonderful for everyone. And that’s ok. Sometimes, it’s just hard, for everyone.

    Thanks for always sharing the real stuff that means something to those mothers like I was, crying alone at home being told the only way out is a prescription.

    1. That is SUCH an important part of this discussion, Brandy. Thank you for bringing that up. Obviously, based on my own experience, I know that medically diagnosed PPA and PPD can def. benefit from medication, but that is certainly not always the case for everyone. The postpartum period can be tough for any mom, even if she’s not actually suffering from a PPMD. And I think the women who are struggling with recovery hesitate to ask for help sometimes because they are afraid they’ll be judged and quickly told to medicate.

      1. I think that’s it. It seems like, you either come out of child birth barfing glitter, or you come out clinically insane. Like there is no middle ground. Like a bit of baby blues is the same things as someone suffering real, medically verified PPD, and that PPD is a singular issue which you have or don’t, and that there is no scale of how much you’re affected.

        I’m lucky that my friends know they can be honest with me, b/c I’ve seen first hand the “front” put on vs. the actual experience their going through. And I just know if they didn’t HAVE to put on the front, it would be easier to get through the hard part because you’d ask for help more readily, in whatever capacity you needed.

  10. I think the “breastfeeding doesn’t hurt if you’re doing it right” does such a huge disservice to us all. Some of us are sensitive, yo. Let’s not pretend that it’s not going to hurt anyone and that if it does, it’s basically their fault. For some of us it just hurts, no matter how many LCs tell us we’re doing it right. But yes, the pain will go away, and yes, it will ABSOLUTELY be worth it. And this, coming from someone who was 100% convinced my daughter’s mouth was full of razor blades.

    Also, NEVER LOOK DOWN is the most solid postpartum rule ever. I can never unsee that.

  11. why so negative when you talk about your vagina? It has a name..not down there;-)… Love it..Thanks to her your baby came in…and out!.. look at it and love it..just like your husband loves it :-)… For the rest..I know what you mean! Good luck!

  12. No one tells a pregnant woman that it actually takes an additional 9 months for your body to return to normal after having a baby. And NO ONE talks enough about postpartum. They see you every week before the baby is born, but after your hospital stay, they don’t want to see you until the sixth week. With my first I had PPD, so I read up on it, and found out that there was like an 80% chance that I would get it again. I’m 7 months postpartum from the second, and am still dealing with the linger effects. But all they want to do is medicate you. I had a third degree tear with the first, and a second degree tear with this baby. Even with a great doctor who did an excellent job, I can’t do enough kegels to make things go back to the way they were. There should be postpartum care that focuses on getting women back to “normal.”

  13. I really, really remember how much I hated the postpartum period. It made me insane and miserable. After how difficult Jolene was, I start having a panic attack when my memory even flashes back to those nights where I had to “sleep” sitting up to avoid disturbing the ticking time bomb. I am so, so, SOOO done with the baby nonsense. And I love that girl more than life itself. But the postpartum period just about killed me. I wouldn’t survive it again. (Hence, the snip.)

  14. Oh my God! I’m doing this again! I think I just tell myself how sweet and wonderful and awesome having a newborn is so I don’t think about the bad parts. I weaned off the Zoloft in the 3rd trimester, but I’m bringing the bottle to the hospital. Sorry about your rash, and your vag. Thanks for writing this.

  15. I thank GOD that my mother was on hand to kick my mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law out our first day home from the hospital. They had done nothing but sit in my hospital room for hours and hours during my post c-section stay. Then they wanted to immediately come up to our apartment and sit around some more. I texted my mom from the car and told her I was ready to just cry and be alone. We all got inside and she turned to my husband and said, “you should take your family out for a nice long lunch! Everyone must be hungry – bring home some takeout for your wife!” and practically shoved them out the door.

    I will never ever forget the awfulness of it all. I was so miserable and all these people would not go the fuck away. I think you’ve given me hives just remembering all this.

  16. I love this about your writing style: I now feel like a bunch of women are sitting in a room together finally having a conversation about what having babies actually feels like. Just sharing our experiences, not in any sort of judgy way. I don’t know when the last time in history women were allowed to sit around and talk about childbirth, sex, etc. without having to hide behind euphemisms and false modesty, but I want to go to a place like that. This is a place like that. That is awesome.

    Also: sign that I was destined to work as a doula (ongoing goal) include–I was totally fascinated by looking down. I asked 8 billion questions about why I had had a labial tear and no perineal tear, even though that kid just had his head almost but not quite out for about an hour. I wanted to examine my placenta. I think all this stuff is super cool. But lady, I do not think it is weird or wrong that you didn’t like what you saw or feel fascinated. I am glad to know, so that I don’t say to future mamas, “Aren’t you thrilled? Isn’t your body amazing?” when they really want to hear “How’s the body doing?” and be able to give an honest effing answer.

  17. I cannot believe that people said that postpartum experiences were great. Liars! I had five kids and everything went normally, well except for bleeding niples, and huge blood clots, and a 6 month sore bottom. It was so terribly difficult .I cried a lot. I am sorry you had so many additional problems, honey. Glad you shared.

  18. After every one of my babies I go through a period of “oh my God we’ve made a huge mistake!” I definitely do NOT want company. I am a complete basket case…I cry because I can’t be everything to everyone and when my husband offers to give me a break I cry because I’m being LEFT OUT. Such a mess. But your physical ailments…that RASH…ugh you poor thing!!

  19. Oh I remember. I remember night terrors and anxiety about EVERYTHING. I remember that fog I walked around in for six months in my own private hell. And yes all the physical trauma and recovery. Just begging God for four solid hours of sleep and the rage I felt when I didn’t get it. How the days just ran together into one long horrible never ending twilight of sleeplessness spitup and tears. I’m glad you write about these things. I feel at least 10% less crazy knowing that you get it.

  20. I think this article is amazing, and only wish I’d read it before having our daughter. There is so little discussed about how challenging the emotional recovery process is, in addition to the physical aspects. I love it.

  21. I’m so happy I found this! I’m nearly four weeks post partum with baby #2 and completely and utterly miserable. I had the same exprience with my first baby and thought it wasn’t normal to feel this way. I’m a little relieved that I’m not the only one! I wondered if other new moms had issues with anxiety and depression.

  22. This is such a refreshing read. I suffered a fourth degree tear with my little one (who’s now 8 months) and was on a cocktail of drugs and unable to go to the loo without pain for weeks and I felt guilty that I wasn’t glowing with happiness when relatives descended literally the next day after I delivered. It is so hard to say no but all I wanted to do was hide – had no idea what I was doing and struggled with feeding. To all new mums out there DON’T be afraid to say no to visitors for as long as you need – if people get upset let them!!! Nothing is worth bursting into tears just before people arrive and wanting to lock the door on them.

  23. It sucks you had such bad experiences during your post-partum period. You are right, a lot of women have a rough time and there is a huge taboo on it. My experience to make it better: placenta encapsulation to help regulate hormones and energy levels and hiring a post partum doula!

  24. You described it perfectly. My little man is 10 weeks old…I remember when my step kids came home after we got back from the hospital and I had to start wearing a shirt again I was so mad. How inconsiderate of them to come home and force me to wear clothes again! Ha! It seems pointless to even wear a shirt in those first days. And it was one thing for me and husband to eat peanut butter out of the jar for dinner, but once they came home I had to actually feed them real food. Loved this post, wish I had read it BEFORE I had my little man 🙂

  25. I love that you’re honest about the whole experience and not crapping puppies and rainbows for people. I remember feeling like such a bad mom because I didn’t enjoy it those first few weeks, even a few months to be honest. It’s not fun to wake up 15 times a night and have a screaming baby you have no idea how to “fix”. Somehow we push through and figure it out, and some of us are even crazy enough to do it all over again, hoping things will be different.

  26. Thank you, Jill, for posting this. We’re expecting our first in February, and I would much rather have a realistic expectation of the postpartum period. I feel better prepared knowing that everything may not be as amazing as most people are led to believe. I appreciate your guidance.

  27. I am almost grateful to read this. I had such a miserable recovery and really didnt want to emerge into the world until 3 months or so. As a FTM I felt like no one told me about how hard a recovery could be. Thanks for opening up.

  28. You are amazing! This is the truth that nobody warns you about! Nobody! The worst is when you pour out your heart to someone who has given birth to 4 children back in the day, and they just say “oh pssh, you’ll get through it” I wonder if that’s the support the prenatal nurse asks you about at the clinic when you have your first prenatal appointment.
    10 months later I’m still dealing with the aftereffects, you know PPD, induction, labour, pushing that baby out, getting stitched up, having hamburger nipples, puking your guts out after giving birth, and your husband and nurse, saying “gee, I guess that’s why she didn’t want that nasty looking stew, we shoved in her face and told her she needs to eat, immediately after giving birth”. Oh and then a week later, the community nurse (who sounds like she’s reading off of a script, and really doesn’t care how you’re doing and would much rather spend her time doing something else) calls and asks ” have you gotten your husband to take a look at your lady parts lately?” And you ‘sweetly’ say, while raging on the inside that this crazy lunatic is calling you when you are trying to get that rest you are so desperately needing ” he’s got no business there”. Anyways, thanks for being so honest, I’ve quite enjoyed reading your posts.

  29. This post couldnt have come at a better time. I, after nearly 22 months, post baby, have come back to myself in a better way than I have been since about the day I delivered her. None of my family or friends talk about anything other than the joy and happiness they had when they brought a baby home. 2 weeks ago I talked with my OBGYN, or bawled to him and begged him to help me realize I’m not ALONE in this struggle to get back to “normal” The best words I’ve heard in 22 months…..”you’re not alone, this is normal” I love that man. So, fellow mommies….youre not alone! You’re worth it, and you’ll get back to “normal”. Love yourself <3

  30. Have you ever heard of a lip tie? My newest little guy was chomping down on my nips because of it. After I got it released at a plastic surgeon’s office, things got better. And YES, postpartum sucks for almost 18 months in my world.

  31. Amen. I’m writing this with my two week old asleep on my chest. He only sleeps during the day and only on people. I have such little recollection of this with my first! Not doing any meds and placenta pills have helped though, as I’ve not totally lost my shiz yet 🙂

  32. Thank you for this. It’s about time someone spoke up. I was so confused about what was happening to me after I had my son. No amount of baby book reading prepared me for it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  33. No one told me my vagina would smell AWFUL after having a baby, and that some women just have stinky lochia. No one even told me what lochia was! I sat with a giant menstrual pad strapped to me to deal with the fluid leaking from down below with cabbage leaves stuffed in my beige granny bra to deal with the fact my boobs just constantly dribbled and leaked from overproduction, and I felt so disgusting I didn’t want to visit with well-groomed or sweet-smelling grown ups.

  34. This article really hit home w/ me. Wow. So very true. I have 3 kids, also, and they’re not babie’s anymore (9, 7, and 4), but I remember that first year of each of their lives vividly b/c it was so.stinking.hard. I had natural births and nursed till they were each 13mos, but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s not supposed to hurt? Ha! Ha!!! I wanted a 4th baby at some point, but after our 3rd was born, my husband said we were done b/c I just had too hard of a time, and he went and scheduled the “big snip” for himself all by himself! I do miss babies, but I DO NOT miss that first year of pain and sleep depravation. The one good thing that came of my hard time is that I learned a lot from researching different issues I had, so I can help other moms. And I have an intense empathy for new moms and will drop everything to help my friends w/ new babies.

  35. Oh my God I think I love you! This is all true I felt so alone it’s nice to knowing everyone feels similar. So thank you for your honesty!

  36. Dear Lord. Thank you so much for writing this. Well, I didn’t have the rash but the children all over you and making you want to jump out of your skin? I had that. And I swore I was the devil because of it and forever traumatizing my precious big girl. Sigh.

    Luckily those kids are so damn cute. Because seriously, they wreck us up good.

  37. OMG I still have not looked at my downstairs area after having two kids and numerous stitches. My youngest is about to be two and I cannot bring myself to look at what I imagine looks like some sort of private parts rag doll, let alone take a look right after having a baby!

  38. perfectly written Jill! I love this because I too also experienced hell and then quickly forgot about it. I will be having my 3rd this coming Feb and while I love my babies to death, I cannot even fathom how horrendous my downstairs will be after #3. I will take your advice to not look down there. promise.

  39. Oh my goodness. I haven’t even made it through your whole post, but you had me laughing about the don’t-look-below-the-waist situation. I had a 3rd degree tear with my daughter, and (even though I’m a RN) the thought of looking made me feel like I was going to pass out. I was able to look, I think, after my 2nd. He was only a 2nd degree tear, AND I didn’t have an infection like I did with my first. I love reading your blog. I only wish that I could be as funny, talented, witty as you…love it.

  40. Oh no, there is absolutely no amount of love or money that would cause me to go back into that post partum hell you mention. I have scars–literally scars–on both nipples from my attempts at breast feeding. Needless to say it was not successful! Colic, Reflux…those are just two of the hells my babies brought home from the hospital. I cannot imagine and please do not make me the hell of adding a rash to all of that! You, my dear, are superhuman!

  41. I appreciate you posting this and feel like no one talks about it enough. Everyone says you forget labor and recovery, but I had my baby in January and still have no plans to have another because I remember all too well. What gets me is the screaming and crying, especially when I can’t figure out what’s wrong. It drives me crazy and makes me want to go beat my head on a wall or a glass window. And that on top of being exhausted because you can’t get any good sleep because you have to feed the baby every two hours, your heart racing due to all the caffeine consumption to keep you from feeling so tired even though it’s not helping, and the extreme pain in your crotch every time you move will just drive you to insanity. Plus my mom passed only 2 weeks after i had our son. I suffered postpartum depression and sometimes feel like I’m still dealing with it a little bit. I breastfed in the hospital, but I couldn’t do it. I tried it once after I got home and finally gave up because I just couldn’t do it, so we started formula feeding. Not that it made it any easier as my husband could sleep all night through the crying, but any time our son made a sound I woke up instantly. And on top of that anytime someone asked how I was doing and I tried to open up about it and talk to them, all they ever said was “welcome to motherhood!” I felt so alone and isolated. Those first few months are awful.

  42. Thanks for sharing! I, too, feel as if the postpartum period is somewhat of a “war” to survive. I’m always envious of those women who just seem to have it all together with a fresh, new baby. After our 1st baby (a grueling 36hour labor & 3rd degree laceration) I was back in the hospital at a week postpartum with retained placenta & postpartum preeclampsia. I needed mag & a D&C (back into that 3rd degree mind you) to resolve my issues, plus 2 units of blood after delivery & the D&C depleted me. Then, hypertension persisted & that continues to make you feel like the crud! But of course, we survived & “forgot” about all that torture & had a 2nd baby! Labor was so much better that go round, but again I had postpartum hypertension…thank God no retained placenta though! My body just reacts to the “chaos” & my BP goes wacky for about 6-8 weeks. As if being a new, emotionally crazy sleep deprived Mommy isn’t enough!

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