I think every parent talks a lot about poop. That's not something anyone really prepares you for when you're about to become a parent. Well, no one prepared me for the vast increase in poop discussions that occurred when my parenthood journey began. That increase starts immediately, as luck would have it, with that first postpartum poop. If you birthed your kid, or watched your partner do so, you know what I'm talking about. You also know there are a whole lot of things no one will ever tell you about that first postpartum poop, too. Thankfully (or, well, maybe not so thankfully) I will.
First of all, you're really going to want to get comfortable using and hearing the word "poop." If you're at all squeamish when it comes to the number two, you're in for a rude awakening. Parenthood is like a prolonged exposure therapy master class in poop. So don't worry, if you're squeamish now, give it a couple years of parenthood and, if you're anything like me, you'll start to feel uneasy when poop isn't discussed at the dinner table.
But I'll tell you what, birthing a baby gives you a lot of things you didn't use to have. No more blushing about poop stories is just a tip of the iceberg. So pull up your shorts and enjoy this list of things no one will tell you about your postpartum poo.
That You Won't Care About Modesty
Modesty is really out the window at this point, huh? No matter if you birthed in a hospital, in your home, in a birthing center, or elsewhere, chances are a whole lot of people who hadn't previous seen your bits, have seen all the bits. Quite frankly, if you're anything like me, you don't care one bit.
My first postpartum poop was facilitated by my mother holding me above the toilet that I still couldn't sit on. I was completely naked and sopping wet. My partner was standing in front of me reviewing the NICU instructions for the baby. If you had the thought, "Oh my gosh! I would never do that!" I ask that you keep the following in mind: I never would've even imagined this was a possibility either. Still, it happened to me.
That There Will Be Mental Gymnastics
When the nurse told me I had to poop before they would discharge me, I felt helpless. Not only was pooping on command not an option for me at that moment, it never had been. You see, I'm the bearer of my family's iron bowels. In my whole life I poop maybe once every seven days. Seeing as how I just pooped on the table hours before I fielded the aforementioned request, I was pretty sure it was not going to happen anytime soon.
However, it wasn't only the fear that poop just wouldn't happen. It was also the nearly paralyzing fear that pushing something out of my tender, broken, recently sewn up nether regions would tear my body apart.
That Consent Will Be Optional
We know that consent is mandatory. However, postpartum nurses sometimes have a problem with this concept. There's this bizarre and totally misogynistic practice in our society. We've all seen it and we've all been a part of it, whether we are aware of it or not. This practice is that anything related to bodies with uteruses, vaginas and/or breasts is better understood by the medical establishment and not the owners of said bodies.
When waiting for the postpartum poop to appear, the nurse walked in and silently handed me a cup full of pills.
Me: "What are these for?"
Nurse: "Take them. They're for you."
Me: "I understand you're saying they're for me, but I'm not aware of needing any medications right now. What are they supposed to treat?" (I may or may not have been this articulate and calm.)
Nurse: (rolls eyes, sighs) "They're to help you go. Just take them."
Me: (handing them back) "No, I won't take colace. It causes horrible gas pain and it does not help me poop."
Nurse: (shoving them back at me) "I already put it in your chart."
Me: (incredulous) "I don't care where you put it. You didn't ask me. I didn't ask for it. I'm not taking it."
Nurse: "I can't take it out of the chart once it's in."
Me: "Sounds like a tech issue, not a reason to give your patient medication that she doesn't need."
Now, this would've gone on who knows how long if it hadn't been for the routine social worker visit. The social worker backed me up and the nurse ended up leaving with the full pill cup. But, seriously, it shouldn't take an intervention to get a nurse not to give me a non-urgent medication that I didn't consent to. Remember, you can always ask for a doctor to explain anything you didn't consent to, and the reason the intervention is being suggested. Informed consent is totally a thing, especially in non-emergent situations.
That Dermaplast Will Be Your Best Friend
They gave me a bottle of dermaplast after I gave birth. I didn't quite understand why, because nobody said anything about it, so I just left it in the bathroom.
Now, I'm pretty squirmy about spraying anything (especially aerosol) on me perineum and vulva. But once I realized the miraculous gift of painlessness that dermaplast gave to my pre-postpartum poop body? There was no way I was attempting that poop without it.
Don't be shy. Use it. Use it generously and use it often. (If your medical professionals say it's OK, of course.)
That There Will Be Blood
A whole helluva lot of blood. And clots. Oh, dear lord, no one warned me about the clots.
That Your Legs Will Shake
Yep. I totally went there. Your legs will shake. Some people say that's the trauma leaving the body. I say, get that poop out before the whole system collapses!
No, seriously, there's nothing to be afraid of if this happens to you. Go with it. You'll be happy you did.
That You'll Feel Almost As Accomplished As When You Had Your Baby
The feeling of having achieved that first postpartum poop, with all the barriers and mind tricks, is like nothing else you've ever experienced. Yes, I'm including the feeling of accomplishment after pushing a human out of your body. It is that awe-inspiring.