Having a baby is so great, except for the part where your body is ravaged by pregnancy and childbirth and you're left to clean up the mess on less than four hours of sleep. Not that I'm bitter. There are certain things every mom thinks about her postpartum body that she doesn't necessarily say out loud (probably because she's too exhausted) and they almost always relate to the overarching theme of, "Holy sh*t, what just happened?"
Seriously, how is it remotely possible for a woman's body to change so much and so quickly? I think there's some small part in every new mom's brain that is secretly hoping that once the baby pops out, things will immediately go back to the way they were (a part usually fed by unrealistic expectations of postpartum life via mainstream media, that shows new mothers walking out of hospitals in their size 2 jeans). Of course, we all know this isn't entirely possible, but the change in our bodies happens so quickly that our brains can have a hard time adjusting. Plus, and let's be honest, no one wants to hear how crappy you feel about yourself when there's a new baby and you're supposed to be feeling joyful and grateful and glowing. Between being genuinely shocked and wanting to focus on your kid instead of your figure, a lot of thoughts moms have about their bodies stay hidden, kind of like the depth of their exhaustion.
So, while mom celebrities showcase "perfect bodies" shortly after their babies are born (or the media makes it seem like they do), we're left looking in the mirror, thinking things we probably shouldn't think but are definitely still valid, wondering why our body feels slightly "off." (Or, you know, at least that's what I did.)
"What A Mess"
I don't know a single new mom who didn't spend the first postpartum weeks being afraid to look at the mess that was her vagina. The swelling, the stitches (at least for me), and just the discomfort was enough for me to feel grossed out about the simple act of washing myself.
"I'm Never Going To Be Able To Have Sex Again"
Despite evidence to the contrary (after all, I got pregnant twice), I was fairly certain I'd never have sex again. Things were just too scary down there.
"Why Am I Still So BIG?"
Again, I somehow didn't learn the first time around. Both times I gave birth, I felt like I (or at least my stomach) should have been far smaller than I actually was. Even after after I gave birth to a nine pound baby, I didn't understand why I still had such a big stomach. Where did I store him if I still looked so damned pregnant?!
"My Belly Is So Squishy!"
I have no idea whether this part was normal or not, but I lost feeling on the skin around my navel toward the end of my second pregnancy. I kept poking my soft belly for months afterward, wondering when I'd be able to feel it again.
"My Boobs Are Incredible Right Now"
Enjoy the perky fullness, ladies. They'll never be like that again.
"I'm Never Going To Be The Same"
The squishy body, the discomfort in all kinds of new places (who knew my inner thighs would be so damn sore?!), and the general expectation of things going back to normal once the baby is out that inevitably lets you down, will have you assuming that pregnancy was actually better than whatever is happening postpartum.
"This Isn't My Body"
Even if you manage to lose the baby weight very quickly (and kudos to you and your body type, if that's the case), things just look different. Nothing fits the way it did, but you're not totally sure why.
"When Will I Feel Normal Again?"
There's no official answer to this question, I'm sorry to say. I can tell you, though, that you will find normal again, eventually. I promise.
"How Can There Be So Much Blood?"
Your postpartum period is one of the most disgusting things ever, FYI. Your doctor will tell you that any clots larger than an orange should be reported. An orange? That is a big goddamn clot, my friends.