Before I had kids, I didn't know the first postpartum poop was an ordeal. I mean, I knew you pooped after birth, but I didn't know that it was something to worry about. Why would I? It was never highlighted in movies, and no one warned me when I got pregnant. No one. So I was totally unprepared for the experience, in every way you might imagine. I remember thinking so many things all at once — things every mom thinks during her first postpartum poop — including four letter words that are definitely not safe for work.
When it finally happened I distinctly remember thinking, "OMG, why didn't anyone warn me?" I didn't know it would hurt so damn bad, so I didn't do anything to help things move along. You know, like take laxatives or numbing spray or a club to hit myself over the head with so I wouldn't have to feel any damn thing. I wished I had filled the prescription for all those pain medications my midwife prescribed, because it was almost as bad as vaginal childbirth. Seriously, this is not the kind of thing you let someone do unprepared.
With my other pregnancies, though, the first postpartum poop was different. I knew how bad it was likely to be, so I was able to adequately prepare by doing everything I could to make it a less crappy (pun intended) experience. I honestly can't tell you what's worse, though: not knowing something is going to be horrible and dealing with the surprise, or knowing something's horrible and having to go through it anyway. Either way, the first post-birth poop is the worst, and here are a few things you're likely to think when you experience it yourself.
"Why Didn't Anyone Warn Me?"
Seriously, I get that pooping isn't something that people typically discuss in polite company, but let's get real: we moms have to stick together. I don't mind talking sh*t about postpartum pooping if it means that other moms-to-be might have a more pleasant experience. Let this serve as a warning.
It hurt. It really hurt. Like, it made me wonder why they don't have postpartum pooping epidurals, because it was so bad. I totally wish I had used that numbing spray they gave me for my stitches.
"Where Are My Meds?"
Seriously, the last time I gave birth I absolutely took the medications the doctors prescribed me for recovery. Why not? Postpartum pooping is a part of recovery. No one has to know what you needed to make it through.
"This Is Worse Than Labor"
Labor is hard and childbirth hurts. There's no doubt about it, but at least after childbirth you get to snuggle the cutest damn baby you've ever seen. After postpartum pooping, if you are lucky, you get to flush a giant log down the drain. That's it.
There are few things quite as humbling as having to press the hospital call button or yell for your partner's help in the bathroom. I don't even like pooping in the same room as my husband, let alone asking him for help doing it, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
"I Think I Tore My Stitches"
Yeah, that first postpartum poop was big, you guys, especially the one after my last birth when I was on narcotics for several days. No amount of stool softeners would help. It needed to come out, but when it did, it hurt so bad that I was afraid I had ripped my stitches. I almost asked my husband to take a look, but I was too embarrassed.
"I Should Have Taken The Stool Softeners"
So yeah, take the stool softeners. Do it. Trust me. Don't think you can go it alone. There is no shame in a little medical intervention to help you get through postpartum pooping.
Do you remember a moment in childbirth when you thought, "I can't do this. I just can't. I may die?" Yeah, I totally thought that on the toilet trying to poop afterwards. I wasn't sure I was going to make it. I did, with a little help from my peri-bottle, numbing spray, laxatives, and pain meds. It was hard. So hard, but thankfully it all came out all right in the end.
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