I fully expected my time home with my newborn to be an idyllic experience full of snuggles and picture perfect moments. As it turns out, most postpartum moments are actually scary, weird, gross, and only picture worthy if I wanted to enter a contest for the postpartum belly that most resembles food. I spent a lot of my maternity leaves wondering if I was "normal" and muttering to myself, but I have also experienced many WTF postpartum moments that are totally, wonderfully normal.
I now know that nothing in motherhood turns out exactly as we plan or expect, so the fact that my postpartum period was less than idyllic really and truly shouldn't be a surprise. Still, "less than idyllic" doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't normal. What does normal even mean, anyway? For me, normal was mesh panties, bleeding like a scene from a horror movie, exhaustion, and feeling like a stranger in my new body and new role as mom.
Once I got past the disappointment and fear, and learned to have a sense of humor about how gross parenthood and postpartum bodies can be, I actually really enjoyed new motherhood. Sometimes WTF can also mean, "I never knew it could be so wonderful," and sometimes laughter and learning to let things go can be the best way to heal from childbirth and to learn to be a new mom.
Your First Postpartum Poop
So hard, so big, so scary, and so painful. I partly wish someone had warned me how horrible my first postpartum poop was going to be so I could prepare, but I'm also a little grateful that I didn't know so I wasn't overly anxious.
My advice: use the pain-relieving spray and stool softeners, suck it up, and push it out. You can do it.
Randomly Falling Asleep
In the postpartum period, I randomly feel asleep, mostly when I wasn't trying. Then, at night, when it was actually time to sleep, I stared at the ceiling, played on Facebook, or obsessively made sure my newborn was still breathing instead. Sleep when the baby sleeps is such laughable advice.
A note for my husband: if you find me randomly asleep this time, just put a blanket on me and make sure I don't drop the baby.
Obsessing Over Diaper Contents
I counted diapers. I made spreadsheets of pee and poop. I smelled and touched them to make sure they were wet or to check for poop. I even took pictures of poop and posted them on the internet. Don't judge me. I was so glad to learn that I wasn't alone in this obsession.
Seeing Yourself In The Mirror For The First Time
There's something surreal about seeing yourself in a full length mirror for the first time after giving birth that may literally make you exclaim, "WTF?" I felt like an alien with big boobs, a swollen belly, and no pants that fit. Not to mention the wide variety of fluids I was leaking: breastmilk, blood, and tears. However, there was also a moment of truth. I was a mother. I grew a human. I was badass.
Remembering You Still Have Pain Meds
There's something about the postpartum period that makes time irrelevant and made me totally forget to take pain meds or that I even had them from the hospital. Believe me, they aren't just for child birth, also helpful for that first postpartum poop and sore nipples.
Getting Buzzed On One Glass Of Wine
I joyfully discovered that I had an extremely low tolerance for alcohol after having my first. That WTF moment was full of glowy warmth.
Your First Postpartum Romp
Postpartum sex might be wonderful, terrible, painful, nonexistent, or even just simply different. Definitely WTF worthy.
Recognizing Yourself In Your Baby's Face
I remember seeing my newborn smile and recognizing that her eyes were shaped like mine. How cool, weird, and wonderful!
I had always been a member of the itty bitty titty committee, so seeing myself with giant, engorged boobs was surreal. I wish I had taken a picture of that WTF moment.
Finding Yourself Again
I remember the first time I went to get my hair done after my daughter was born. I felt like me again. It was so strange to do something for myself when the past months had been spent totally focused on her. Oh wait, there's a woman in here, not just a mom. Amazing.