They say childbirth is beautiful and to an extent, it is. You’re bringing a pure new life into the world. While it’s a very joyous and celebratory occasion, it’s also a very traumatic experience for a woman. It was for me, at least.
Why didn’t anyone talk to me about postpartum care? Why didn’t other women warn me about the trauma to my body? Maybe I was too naive to think of these these before giving birth to my son. We think so much about the new baby and not enough about the actual labor & delivery. No wonder I had so many crazy thoughts during delivery. I digress.
Fast forward to the moment my baby boy was placed into my arms for the very first time. We delayed cord cutting, delayed bathing, and immediately enjoyed some monumentous skin-on-skin. It was glorious, crazy, and emotional. Giving birth and then becoming a mother for the first time is an out of body experience. Reality smacks you right in the face and you’re left saying, “WTF”! These were my unfiltered thoughts after giving birth to my first child.
1. Is he okay?
I think every mother immediately wonders if their child is okay after giving birth. Especially if your baby doesn’t cry right away like mine!
2. Can I lift him?
A newborn seems so fragile. I felt like if I lifted him, I’d hurt is small 6lb, 7oz body.
3. How do I hold him?
When I say I was a new mother, I mean I was new to babies all together. I hadn’t held a baby in over 10 years. I didn’t know if I was holding him right or if I looked like a complete moron.
4. Am I breastfeeding right?
Even after I took breastfeeding classes and got loads of advice from my closest friends, I had no idea if I was doing it right. You don’t really know what you’re doing until you get the hang of it. Now, here I am almost 13 months later and he’s still nursing. WIN!
5. Is he healthy?
Okay, he’s alive and breathing but is he healthy? Is his weight okay? What about his hearing, breathing, and eye sight? I had gestational diabetes so I was concerned with his blood sugar levels, too.
6. I’m not sure if I’m more thankful to have a baby or that the pain is finally gone.
I have no shame in saying that I was extremely relieved to have this baby out of my body. The pregnancy pains topped with the failed epidural had me feeling completely miserable. After he was born – I felt incredible! I felt on top of the world to have all that pain gone!
7. Omg I can eat sushi again!
Yep. I thought about sushi right after giving birth to my son. I’d missed all the raw and delicious food. Sadly, the hospital didn’t have sushi.
8. Goodbye gestational diabetes!
After my son was born, the nurse offered me juice and crackers. I told her, “I can’t have those because I have gestational diabetes.” She told me that’s done and over with so I could have whatever I wanted. No sweeter words had ever been spoken.
9. Why do I still look pregnant?
I didn’t expect to be terribly skinny after pregnancy but I did expect my belly to not look pregnant anymore. Apparently, it takes a few days for that to happen.
10. Holy blood!
It was like a freaking murder scene. I had to fill a bucket with blood every time I sat on the toilet and I had to be checked to make sure I was bleeding enough. Yuck.
11. Why is there so much blood?
Seriously – why is there so much blood and why didn’t I expect this?
12. I’m wearing a freaking diaper!
Nothing makes you feel less attractive then what you have to wear after having a baby. The pad is bigger than your house and the underwear are the size of a California King Size oversized comforter.
13. When can I wear normal clothes again?
I didn’t know if I was allowed to change out of my hospital gown until hours after giving birth when I finally asked the nurse. YES! I don’t have to worry about everyone seeing my diaper when I get up to go to the bathroom.
14. Can I shower yet?
I was so ready to shower but didn’t know if it was safe to wash myself down there. The last thing I needed was an infection or burning from the soap! I got the okay and all was good. That was like the best shower of my life.
15. Omg I’m so in love with him.
I couldn’t stop staring at him and crying. I was so in love with his entire existence; marveling over every inch of his body. Still to this day, I wonder how in the heck I created such a perfect human being.
16. I’m taking & sharing way too many photos.
I took a photo of every little thing because I knew I’d cherish those photos later and so would he. I shared so many photos on Facebook to the point of me apologizing to everyone. All my friends reassured me that there’s never enough newborn photos and to keep it up. I did just that!
17. Is he getting any milk?
The funny thing about breastfeeding in the beginning is that you have no idea if you’re producing any milk. You don’t know how much is enough and even if they tell you – you still don’t believe it. I wondered every second of the first few weeks if he was drinking enough and if I was producing enough.
18. Is he latching okay?
You don’t really know how it’s supposed to feel when a baby latches onto you. The nurses said it should feel like a tug and it shouldn’t hurt. Well, the truth is that after a lot of attention on those puppies – they hurt either way!
19. Am I burping him right?
Any little sound you hear him make, is a burp. That’s basically what the nurses told us. They said it might feel like you’re being too rough while burping him, but you aren’t. He has to burp every single time. Well jeeze, why isn’t he burping for me? I have no idea what I’m doing!
20. Why is he crying so much?
Let’s just say that my baby boy wasn’t one of those quiet babies who slept all the time. He was awake a lot and crying almost every minute of his wake time. I thought something had to be wrong with him – or with me.
21. Oh no, the meds are wearing off.
I felt glorious. You could have described me as a freaking rockstar performing on cloud nine. Seriously, I was rocking this giving birth thing – until the meds started to wear off. Then, the soreness in my entire body came. Even my teeth hurt. What? You didn’t know that your mouth would hurt from pushing so hard? I didn’t either. Let’s mark that down as yet another thing nobody told me.
22. It hurts to pee.
I was told that it might sting when I pee and that it’s totally normal. Yep, that happened and it was almost has painful as childbirth. Not really but it was painful enough for me to cry literal tears and to whine like a newborn baby.
23. I never want to poop again.
After pushing a baby out of my body, which gives you the same pressure you feel when you poop except extremely painful and intense, you never want to push down there again. I was afraid to poop and afraid that pushing down there would break my vagina… again. I was afraid that my insides would fall out or that I’d rip my body again. IDK what I was really afraid of but the trauma can really mess with your new mommy brain.
24. I wonder if the nurses are judging me.
I felt embarrassed when the nurses entered the room because I felt like I was being a lazy mom and already failing at this parenting things. My son was screaming and all anted to do was sleep. He would always pee right before a nurse checked his diaper so I felt like they were judging me because of that. Let’s be clear though, they never did anything to make me feel judged. The nurses at Winnie Palmer Hospital were extremely sweet and comforting. I’m just my own worst critic sometimes.
25. I just want to go home.
Before entering the hospital, I was one of those crazy people who was actually looking forward to spending a couple days away from home. After I had my son, I didn’t want to be there anymore. I wanted to be home with my comfort and my cats and my family. I ultimately just wanted privacy.
26. I hope someone brings me flowers.
I always dreamed of the day I had my first baby; picturing a room full of flowers and gifts like you see on TV. A surprise bouquet of flowers from my husband or someone, anyone, would have been nice. My mom totally came through with a dozen roses and I deserved that after all that hard work I’d done!
27. Either I’m a wimp or the epidural didn’t work.
For awhile after giving birth to my son, I literally just thought I was a wimp. I’d seen so many videos of women who’d given birth with an epidural that didn’t make a peep or complaint. I was not that person. I was a quiet birther, yes, but the pain was all over my face! “It’s just pressure,” the nurses told me. Well, I guess I am a wimp who can’t handle the pressure… literally.
It wasn’t until I’d started researching after that I realized I wasn’t alone in my failed epidural and I wasn’t a wimp or crazy.
28. This is literally the best hospital ever.
I was so incredibly thankful and surprised at how comfortable my birthing team and postpartum team was. Still to this day, I cry when I think about my entire experience. Other than the failed epidural, everything was more than I expected. I’d never in my life experienced such great care and nurturing. I’d never been taken care of the way that they took care of me!
29. Should I cover up when I’m feeding him?
This was an ongoing battle from within. I didn’t want to nurse around my in-laws but I also didn’t want to cover up. I was new at all of this so I had to find a way to figure out how and when I’d cover myself while feeding him. As for now, I use the tank top undershirt technique.
30. I wonder if I’ll ever sleep again.
Finally, every first-time-mom’s question: will I ever sleep again? I was up for around 72 hours after my son was born and had no idea when I’d sleep again. It didn’t help that I was deathly afraid of being anywhere other than hovering over his bassinet to ensure he was breathing. I didn’t know when or if I’d ever sleep again.
What thoughts did you have after childbirth?
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