When I gave birth to my daughter over 10 years ago, I read some things about postpartum life that turned out to be, well, completely wrong. Doting new moms love to share their experiences and hey, I get it. I'm one of them. But after going through that whole period myself, hardly any of it proved true for me. Some lies the internet told me about postpartum life aren't just wrong, they're horrifically misleading and, honestly, frustrating. They made me feel like something was wrong with me for having a different experience than the one I was lead to believe I'd enjoy.
My postpartum days began with a dreadful start to breastfeeding. My milk supply didn't come in, my baby wouldn't latch, and soon a palpable inability to attach and bond to my baby became to form, in part, because of undiagnosed postpartum depression. I'd read everything I could get my hands on regarding post-pregnancy life and yet, as I lived it, I felt absolutely clueless. Where all the saved articles said breastfeeding would happen if I just gave it time, it didn't. For all the sites that claimed I'd have so much love for my newborn upon first meeting, I only wallowed deeper into self-loathing. Because I didn't feel that way.
My postpartum life wasn't comparable to everything I'd read, because every woman's experience is vastly different. Still, I wanted to believe in the good parts because, at the time, that hope was all I had at times. I will say, the one thing I read that was true? Every bit of what I'm saying below is worth it. With that, here's some of those lies the internet said that didn't ring true for me.
Breastfeeding Is A Great Way To Bond
No, nope, and no again. Well, not for me anyway. Before I gave birth, I had really high hopes that I'd get to experience this beautiful things between mother and baby, but alas, it all went wrong from the start. No milk, a baby who wouldn't latch, pain, frustration, and so much anxiety, it prevented us from bonding. A lactation consultant couldn't even save us and, at one point, I was too depressed to keep trying. I admire mothers who've been able to push past all that, facilitating a successfully breastfeeding relationship for long after. I'm not one of these wonderful women, so reading things like this made me feel like that much more of a failure.
I Can Get By On No Sleep, Because Love
I'm almost laughing out loud as I write this because it's so absurd. I actually read things that told me I'd be in a such a blissful new mom state through the first few days, I'd adapt to no sleep pretty quickly. I don't know who'd write such a thing because my kids are now much older and I'm still exhausted. There's no adjusting to less sleep, no matter how happy you are with your baby.
I'll Feel Like Myself Again In No Time
False. I didn't feel like "myself" for a long, long time. Postpartum depression was to blame for of this, but I also just wasn't "myself" anymore. I was a mom who'd gone through the pregnancy from hell, a long labor and delivery, and difficulty adjusting to life with a little person screaming at me. Actually, I never did feel like "myself" again, because I've evolved into a different version altogether.
Bathroom Trips Don't Hurt Much After The First Time
I expected bathroom trips (especially the first couple) to hurt. After what my body went through, how could it not? However, everything I read assured me it should ease up as time went on. It didn't ease. Like, at all. What should've been a 4-6 week healing process took me twice as long. Because of this, it added to the pressure to be what was expected, instead of what just was.
Things Will Heal Soon Enough
Will they? Will they really? When, exactly? While some of the basic parts "sprung" back to position (obscure things like my hair, nails, and swollen feet), most of me didn't. At all. I'd ripped stitches at one point and had to get them re-done, which made healing that much longer. Even after said healing was to take place, my, err, bits and pieces never felt quite the same again.
You'll Have Plenty Of People Offering To Help
The very first day we arrived home with our baby, we had meals prepped for us, a welcome sign, and all the things we'd need to get through 24 hours as new parents. The following week we had a visitor or two, but for the most part we were on our own. I envied those who had family and friends surrounding them through those first few weeks, but it wasn't so for us.
Romance Will Be Just As Important After The Baby
Eventually, romance came back around, but as a new mom all I wanted was sleep (or five minutes of quiet, alone). The internet reminded me, again and again, how important romance is and to keep ti alive, despite having all these new responsibilities draining me. I wanted to believe my partner and I could hop right back into "us" time, but it wasn't possible then. We were just so tired.
The Pregnancy Weight Will Melt Off
I wasn't completely naive in thinking once I had my baby, I'd shrink right back down to the body I was before pregnancy (well, sort of). After research (and too many false perceptions posted by celebrity before-and-after pictures), I didn't think it'd be as hard to feel beautiful again. My body didn't look like mine, yet it wasn't pregnant, either, and I had a hard time trying to find my place through the mess. I was a mom, but aside from that, who was I? And when would I feel "normal" again? Postpartum life took a lot from me. Things I thought I knew, but definitely didn't.
What did I learn from all of this? Don't believe everything you read on the internet (unless it's cat-meme related).