What is it like being pregnant for 9 months then suddenly…not? Post pregnancy is quite a transition to wrap your head around. Growing up I always knew that I wanted to be a mother and actually looked forward to being pregnant some day. But I never really thought about what it would be like and how I would feel after the big birth day. It is a body and mind change that happens SO rapidly. I can’t think of anything else comparable! I think that’s why some people call this stage “the fourth trimester” – because you’re not quite back to yourself.
Since I gave birth to Sidney 20 days ago and am in the thick of this transition, I want to share how I personally feel right now, both in my body and in my mind.
What Post Pregnancy Life is Really Like
The Body Transition
There are the blatantly obvious body changes post pregnancy, and some that took me by surprise. I ask myself almost every day: should I purchase some new clothes in a bigger size? Should I keep wearing my maternity clothes even though Sidney is out? Do I just keep it baggy and loose until I shrink some more? I’m not in a particular hurry to lose the baby weight, even though I know it would make me happy to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans. I created a human and I’m giving myself some grace, patience, and respect. But here are 3 main body changes that I’m grappling with.
Have you heard about how pregnant women aren’t supposed to lift anything or exercise too vigorously? Well – the same stands after you give birth. As my body heals from pushing out a baby (a perfect one!), I’ve had to really slow down and let people take care of me. Healing will most likely include perineal care, changing pads from bleeding, being afraid to poop, and hemorrhoids, depending on your experience. So instead of just taking care of the tiny human you just met, you also have to take care of yourself.
I want to get out and move the body I’ve been given back after 9 months of sharing it, but walking too far kinda hurts. I feel exponentially better every day, and that keeps me going.
It takes awhile for the uterus to shrink back down to it’s original tiny size post pregnancy. Some women wear belly bands to help the uterus contract more quickly, but I chose not to because the cramps were enough discomfort for me. But every day, my belly is a little smaller. I left the hospital looking about 6 months pregnant, and I still look slightly pregnant 20 days later. The shrinking process is so crazy, and was a little bit painful at times. It felt like really bad period cramps some days, where I could actually see my belly quivering when I was in the shower, and other days I felt nothing.
So if I put on a pair of pants 10 days ago and wrote them off because they didn’t fit, that would have been a mistake. I’m working on trying on things, then waiting awhile, then trying them again. Think of it like reverse pregnancy, but faster, haha.
This change took me by surprise. My breasts did grow during pregnancy, but once I started breastfeeding they grew even more. Most of my clothing is tight because of the boobs, and I did not expect that at all! I’m kind of in a weird stage with this change because I don’t have any proper bras that fit me (only sports bra-like nursing bras), as I feel like my breasts fluctuate in size every day depending on how much milk is in there. Should I say goodbye to my pre-pregnancy tiny boobs and get rid of all those bras, or just wait it out and see? You can probably tell I’m having a lot of trouble with this one!
POST PREGNANCY OUTFIT DETAILS:
More Post Pregnancy Truths
The Mind Transition
One day you’re pregnant, and then a few days later they let you walk out of the hospital with a tiny human in your arms. I was sore and tired, but so happy. In addition to the body changes, the mind changes are huge.
I knew I would be emotional, but I didn’t expect to be a hormonal mess. I went from not even crying when watching The Notebook to crying at basically every little thing. I can just think about Sidney and the whole birth experience and start bawling – its ridiculous! There was one point right after we got home with Sidney that I totally lost it on my dad as all my emotions built and culminated to a steep and irrational post-birth point. I was hormonal, in pain, scared to poop, overwhelmed with suddenly being the center of my baby’s world, and uncomfortable with my body. So I just had to cry it out. You never know what will set you off, but something inevitably will.
No Longer The Queen
Sidney comes first – always. Going from being pregnant and having people hold doors for you to becoming a personal vending machine is quite the transition. The little things I took for granted like blow drying my hair, finishing my coffee, and eating breakfast while answering emails are going to be few and far between with this little one. I didn’t know I was capable of holding my pee so long or not noticing my hunger until after fulfilling all of Sidney’s needs. And to think all that happened in the blink of an eye!
I feel awkward while I’m trying to learn how to dress my postpartum body. I’ve been reaching for styles and cuts that I didn’t love before pregnancy (shift dresses, extra flowy styles) simply because they work on my body now. Is it weird for a fashion blogger to admit that she feels fashion challenged!? But this period in my life is throwing me for a temporary style crisis loop!
In all, the transition is a huge one, but I’m trusting myself and trying not to be a perfectionist. I’m allowing myself to feel the emotions and weirdness, and appreciate that this is part of the process of pregnancy and all that comes with it!
Do you have any post pregnancy tips or advice? Share in a comment below!