I recently gave birth to a sweet baby boy. This is my first, and it would be an understatement to say that I was not prepared. Even though I read numerous baby books, made countless lists, and thought I was extremely prepared for my baby’s arrival—I wasn’t.
What I learned was that you can’t really prepare for your baby, most of the big changes are internal. You may have all the gear and gadgets, but there are things no one tells you about life after pregnancy.
Your body and your mind go through significant changes during pregnancy and will transform even more after the baby is born. I’ve noticed that many women don’t openly discuss their post-baby hardships, but I wish they would, just so other new moms wouldn’t feel like freaks of nature. Here are three things I want all new mamas to know:
1. My breasts became public property.
The moment my baby was born there were lactation consultants and nurses grabbing and pulling my breasts, trying to show me the best way to feed the baby, and everyone had a different way, which made things all the more confusing. While I appreciated their help, I was not prepared for the extreme hands-on approach.
2. My body belonged to my baby.
Once the tugging and pulling ended, complete strangers will feel that it is totally normal for them to ask if you are breastfeeding or not and then proceed to give you their opinion on "what is best for baby."
I was not prepared for the silent battle between breastfeeding and formula feeding. I am of the mindset that a fed baby is best, whether you're giving him formula or breast milk. You may even be pressured by doctors, nurses, and people you barely know to breastfeed your baby for an entire year...and if you don’t, you’ve doomed your child to an unhealthy life of mediocrity.
I chose to introduce my baby to formula early on because I wasn’t producing enough milk, and I needed to know that there was another way to feed my baby that didn’t rely 100 percent on me. I found that some people were supportive and others acted like I chose to feed my baby crack cocaine.
3. My hormones took me for an emotional ride (that keeps going).
My hormones were out of control for months after baby was born. I felt disconnected from my body all the while trying to learn how to care for a newborn. One minute I was blissfully happy, and the next I was crying because my coffee was cold.
Being extremely hormonal for so long after pregnancy was something I was extremely unprepared for. I expected to bounce back a month after my baby was born; boy was I wrong. The best advice I can offer is to be patient with your body; it’s been through a lot these past months.
Are you a mama or know someone who is? Here are nine things no one ever mentions about breastfeeding. You'll want to tune into our wellness mama community, where we discuss all the taboos and the imperfect "outside-the-frame" moments in motherhood.