Having a new baby is exciting, and not just in the literal sense. I'm talking about the "keep you on the edge of your seat" kind of way, too, because the entire experience is also sort of terrifying. So when I say there are more than a few exciting things every postpartum mom goes through, keep in mind that I'm talking about the stuff you look forward to and the stuff you should look out for.
The postpartum stage is a lot. There are a lot of overwhelming emotions, many of which are inspired by the veritable flood of hormones coursing through your poor, healing body. But even the most stoic, non-hormonal Spartan would be moved with the massive life-change you've just gone through. And since you've now experienced this cosmic shift, some things that would never excite you in the past are majorly exciting to you now that you have a baby (just like some things that used to excite you feel common if not even a little boring). What you define as "exciting" has essentially changed, for better or for worse.
So with that in mind, here are some of the exciting moments you'll have to look forward to in the days and weeks following the birth of your child:
First Postpartum Meal
I mean your first real postpartum meal. Maybe your hospital has good food, in which case that counts (where I delivered my second child had awesome food and that tray of french toast and ice cream was amazing). But more often than not the hospital food isn't going to be all that awesome. (And, if you had a C-section, your firs postpartum meal may still be fluids only!) So whenever you get that first delicious, hearty dish of your own choosing it's a momentous, beautiful event. Whatever you choose, you will savage it.
The Meconium Diaper(s)
You have never seen anything like meconium, because there is nothing like meconium. It's like... tar. But not. And like poop. But not. I don't know if I could define it as either a solid or a liquid. It's just... meconium.
Anyway, it's an experience.
Bringing Your Baby Home
If you had a home birth you don't experience this, but even so, I'd imagine the process of settling into your home with your little one is really exciting.
Leaving the hospital to bring your child into their own designated space is exciting... and also quasi-terrifying, especially if it's your first baby. It's just such a definite "first step" into real-life parenting.
Introducing Your Baby To Friends & Family
Of course no one wants to be bombarded with surprise visitors, but when properly spaced out (and when boundaries are respected) introducing your baby to their community is exciting for you and your visitors.
Of course, your baby won't give a crap. Aside from eating, very little else excites them at this point. If your baby is anything like mine they will probably be sleeping through most of the introductions.
Any Shower You Take In The First Three Months
It feels so good. Like... so good. You don't even know. The only thing I can compare it to is showering after a week of camping or something. And it's not just that first shower — it's seriously any time you get to bathe. The sound of the water, the heat, the fact that you're doing something entirely for yourself — it's incredible. A five minute shower to a new mom is like a full spa day for a regular human.
Again, this is exciting in that you just don't know what's going to pour out of you next, and it's always going to be just a little bit shocking. Will it be another blood clot the size of a golf ball? A strange milky yellow substance? You never know.
Your discharge will come in stages, but you don't necessarily know how long those stages will last or what exactly they will look like, so... whee!
Wearing Mesh Panties
It. Is. So. Exciting.
Whatever company is trying to sell you, like, "Fashionable Postpartum Mom Underwear That Will Make You Feel Like A Birthing Goddess" or whatever, skip it. There is no product on earth that will compare to the glory if the mesh panties provided by the hospital. They're magnificent and comfortable and you look like a giant baby wearing a diaper, but they are the greatest gift the hospital will give you on your way out. Grab as many pairs as you can. You will cry when you can't wear them anymore because you've worn them to threads.
First Trip to Pediatrician
OK, so after a while it'll get a teensy bit annoying because you will feel like you're constantly making appointments during the first year of your baby's life. But that initial appointment, a few days after you leave the hospital, is still pretty exciting. How has the baby grown? How are they looking? What questions can you ask? (And, honestly, how do you think you're going to get along with this doctor — because if you don't like them it's OK to switch.)
Plus, it's an excuse to get out of the house, which can be nice.
First Postpartum Poop
Pooping after childbirth, either vaginal or a C-section, can be an ordeal. You're still pretty tender down there, and everything is interconnected. Bearing down to poo can exacerbate vaginal soreness, tearing, and C-section incisions. But when you gotta go you gotta go.
The anticipation is awful, but once it's done it's pretty exciting, if at the very least because you know you won't have to do it again for a while.
The First Day You Don't Need To Ice Your Crotch
After my vaginal delivery I had a "padsicle" on for longer than is typically advised (because I was an idiot and ignored the idea that you need to rest after you have a baby, because I felt guilty that I wasn't paying enough attention to my toddler). But the first day you're like, "Hey! My vagina doesn't feel like it was in a boxing ring!" is an exciting day, whenever it happens.
Waiting To Find Out When The Umbilical Stump is Going To Rot Off
This is somewhere between terrifying exciting and regular exciting, because that thing is absolutely disgusting. Seriously, it looks like someone glued a cat turd on your baby's precious belly. On the other hand, it's just regular exciting because once it's gone you get to see your baby's belly button! Will they be an innie or an outie?
Also, once it finally falls off you can bathe them, put them in clothes without having a weird bump in the middle of their tummies, and not worry about accidentally knocking it off, which was a source of paranoia for me for a couple weeks there.
Seeing Your Baby Smile
Some babies, like my daughter, smiled right away. Seriously, within a few hours out of the womb. It's not a social smile — it's just something they do with their face — but it's still lovely to look at. Other babies, like my son, don't smile for months. I'm not kidding, months. I became terrified he was unhappy or there was something, like, emotionally wrong with him. Turns out, he just had baby RBF. But no matter when you see that contented baby smile it's crazy exciting and, fortunately, it's a postpartum phenomenon that doesn't really get old.