I can confirm that there are many, many things no one tells you about carrying, birthing, and raising children before you take the plunge yourself. Some of them I think women purposefully block out so that they can go through the whole process more than once. Then there are other things you just can’t possibly understand until you’re in the thick of it.
That said, women could definitely be more candid about some aspects of childbirth. We’re not going to stop having babies, but these 13+ moms just wished they’d been more prepared for all the “fun” for which they were in store.
“The first time you get up after a c section is hell. Absolutely hurts so bad and your incision takes weeks to heal if not months.
Being awake during your c section and you feel all the tugging and pulling inside you.”
#14. It hurts to pee
“It hurts to pee afterwards, but if you lean forward on the toilet then the pee goes away from the most painful areas.
Also try and time your pain relief around trips to the toilet or other strenous activities.”
#13. Not a nice surprise
“That you have the worst month long period of your life after giving birth. I read books, took childbirth classes and had no idea. Not a nice surprise.”
#12. Be flexible
“Labor and delivery nurse here.
There is no shame in using medications to make the process easier, especially epidurals. Natural birth is a beautiful thing, but not always the best thing. Be flexible! Things will come up that you didn’t anticipate.
Know your OB/GYN. Use friends/family/mommy blogs to refer you to a good doctor/midwife. They can be nice and charming in the office, and a totally different person in the hospital.
Don’t tell your friends and family to come visit until after you’ve given birth and recovered. I’ve seen couples invite their entire family and social circle come see them when they are exhausted, in pain, and trying to breastfeed their new baby. They are trying to perform for their guests instead of resting and bonding with the baby.
Bonus: prepare for more shit/blood/bodily fluids than you’ve ever seen your life.
EDIT: Thank you for the gold! And since people are seeing this comment here’s a quick PSA: VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN!”
#11. A total victory
“I am in the UK and had a c section birth a couple of years ago and am 6 months pregnant with my second. The bits I didn’t know beforehand were all straight after the birth and not during.
The tea and hot buttered toast I got to eat afterwards was one of the most delicious meals I have ever eaten.
The post partum bleeding goes on for weeks.
The first poop after a c section feels like a total victory.
The first shower afterwards also felt brilliant.
Never EVER miss the timing of any painkillers you are advised to take!
Doctors and nurses will come by frequently and check you and your baby over for all sorts of things.
I was in hospital 2 nights and your baby is totally your responsibility as soon as they arrive. The midwives helped out with nappy changes when I still couldn’t feel my legs but as soon as I could stand/walk that was it. As my baby wouldn’t sleep much at the start I did manage to get them to have her for two one hour periods which ended up meaning I only got 3 hours sleep in 3 days and I felt horrific. Things got much better when I got home.
My husband wasn’t allowed to stay in hospital overnight so that feeling of crushing solo responsibility was difficult to adjust to.
One more thing to note, all the Mums I know none of us have had a straight forward natural birth. I did NCT classes and of the 8 couples which participated 4 of the Mums ended up with c-sections and at least 2 of the others needed assisted births (forceps etc). These were higher than the stats we were told about during the classes.”
#10. A compliment is a compliment
“Apparently some doctors are really excited when they see a good placenta. Well, a compliment is a compliment, I guess.”
#9. Into high gear
“Your uterus continues to contract after delivery to get back down to pre-prego size. It’s pretty painful, worse than menstrual cramps. And breastfeeding really kicks the contractions into high gear.”
#8. Do not investigate
“Your vagina is going to look like a nightmare after. Don’t look at it or touch it, put ice packs and medicine on it but don’t investigate. I repeat: DO NOT INVESTIGATE. You’ll just keep yourself up at night fretting over what happens if it never goes back to normal. But if you do choose to look know that it won’t look like your labia just lost the title fight forever.”
#7. How sad I was
“I had known about PPD and the “baby blues”, but it was honestly sickening to me how sad I was after getting home from the hospital. I had wanted a baby for so long, finally had him and then just hated it. I felt like “what did I do? Why did I do this?” It was a shock. I had thought about just leaving. Which was absurd. Eventually it went away and I enjoyed my little boy. I mean, at the time too though, I did love being a mom because I constantly checked on him, took pics and all that. But the depression you get can be surprising, considering how badly I wanted to be a mom and then I’m like “I wish I was anywhere but with him.”
He is almost 4 and I am so happy. Seeing him after a full day of work is probably the best feeling in the world to me. I just wish I had prepared myself.more mentally and for those challenging first weeks/months.”
#6. From the front to the back
“Thank baby jesus I did not experience this, I knew you could tear so I took steps to prevent it, but I did not know you could tear literally all the way from the front to the back and need reconstructive surgery. Happened to my cousin.
edit – Since everyone keeps asking what steps I took: (TMI alert) regular perineal massages, use of large “toys”, and I opted for water births as the water supposedly relaxes your muscles and allows you to get in a position your body finds best for childbirth rather than giving birth strapped down on your back. Like kid 1 was born while I was on all fours and kid 2 was born with me standing up.”
#5. Like a slip-n-slide
“How…..wet everything can get. If your water breaks and you have a slow leak… there’ll be fluid at home, in the car, in the waiting/triage area, in your room, in the hallway, in the bathroom. Combined with all the blood loss and peeing yourself, and it’s almost like a slip-n-slide trying to get around. They gave me a big chuck pad to put between my legs but it was kind of pointless because it wouldn’t stay up unless you held it.”
#4. This is not fine make it stop
“A lot of women throw up! I have a vomit phobia and was not aware of this until about a month before I was due. Luckily there are drugs you can take that help (I managed to avoid throwing up with a lot of drugs).
Also the pain wasn’t as gradual as I was expecting. I went from “this is fine” to “this is not fine make it stop” in maybe half an hour. But then you have to wait before they can get you set up with an epidural, so it’s hard to avoid that “not okay” period entirely.”
#3. Prolapse and sneeze-pee
“Prolapse and hemorrhoids. Your pelvic floor is fucked. Sneeze pee is still a thing.
I hired a personal trainer to help me lose weight and get stronger. Working out has really really really helped strengthen my pelvic floor and lessen my prolapse.”
#2. It’s not
“If you think getting a c-section is the ‘easy way out’, it’s not. It’s major abdominal surgery, and your recovery time will be much longer. You are also more at risk for complications and infection. I spent two weeks in hospital after my first with a raging infection that could have prevented me from being able to have more children.”
#1. Like a little old man
“That the baby would look like a little old man, and that I might not feel emotionally attached right away.
Birthed 4 babies.”
Share with your currently pregnant friends, y’all. They deserve a head’s up, and it’s too late for them to back out now anyway.