When you're pregnant, preparing for labor and delivery is akin to having a full-time job. You study for the inevitable like one prepares for a high level meeting: taking courses and reading books and writing plans and learning pain management techniques and asking for help from anyone and everyone. But what about after labor and delivery is over? Everyone is quick to tell you what to expect when you're pushing or having a baby cut from your body, but there are so many things no one says about your body after childbirth. (Spoiler: a lot of it is downright shocking.)
This was definitely the case for me. I guess I really didn't inquire or research or read enough about how hard labor can be on your body. I mean, we all get that it's a big deal, but when people say that, you don't necessarily attach the reality of your inevitable situation with the fact that big deals take some time to recover from. It's like if you fall off your bike, or get in a minor car accident. You walk away from it and think, "No big deal," but you feel the effects for days, if not weeks, afterward. Trauma is trauma, whether it's giving birth or getting in an accident.
And so, after giving birth, you have this fallout that your body goes through. Yes, labor and delivery is painful, but only in the contraction and ring-of-fire kind-of-way. There are a dozen other ways the actual (usually extremely long) act of birth is physically taxing, that you don't fully realize until after the fact, when your adrenaline drops and you begin to really feel what your body just went through. It's no picnic, to be sure, but it doesn't last too long either.
So, in an attempt to educate the pregnant masses as efficiently and effectively as possible, here are 12 things no one talks about when they talk about your body after childbirth: