I’m two weeks into this whole parenting thing, and so far, it’s unbelievably amazing. Thanks to the hormones allowing me to function on 2-hour increments (or sometimes 1 hr) of sleep, I’m coping pretty well. Here are my sleep-deprived and total overshare musings on how my body has changed thus far.
When I was pregnant, I definitely felt a sense of losing control of my body. I mean, I was growing a living being in my uterus. My boobs were bigger, my belly was huge, and once labor started it was like I lost all control and was just along for the ride. Now, 2 weeks later, I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on with my own body while learning this new little human’s cues.
Oh my god, my boobs
I’ve been very lucky so far with this whole breastfeeding thing. My milk came in fine and in fact, is plentiful. These days I hardly recognize my own chest in the mirror. My veins are like flashing hazard lights to anyone who comes near. If you get too close, you will get leaked on! My poor baby gets the brunt of it. I literally have to put a cloth down underneath while breastfeeding so the milk doesn’t get all over my baby, my nursing pillow, and me. Even then, it’s still not foolproof. Who replaced my boobs with these crazy milk producers? Some of my clothes don’t fit and may never fit again. I definitely need new bras. But, how do you shop for bras or get sized for a new bra when you could start spouting at any moment?
I wish I had a Toto
I really took peeing for granted. I should have appreciated my many many trips to the toilet while pregnant. After birth, I was utterly unable to pee. I had to get a catheter (yes right after pushing a baby out with no drugs). I had no idea that could happen. Once I got home I had to learn how to use the bathroom all over again.
My new regimen included a peri bottle, hemorrhoid wipes, new mama bottom spray and some soft wash clothes. If I forgot any of these I had to yell for my partner to come to the rescue. I was leaking blood like a siv and couldn’t waddle across the bathroom without bleeding all over the place. I couldn’t even get into the shower naked. I literally was taking my underwear off in the shower so I didn’t leak on the floor.
The Japanese really have this down. When I was traveling in Japan in my 20’s I thought the toilets were a little overkill: bidet streams with different strengths, toilet seat warmers, air dryers for your tush. Now after having a child, what I wouldn’t give for a Toto! I definitely would have used ALL of the options these last 2 weeks.
Sleeping on a towel
The first time I woke up in wet clothes and wet bedsheets I thought I had a fever. I took my temperature and was perplexed to see that it was normal. This was just the beginning of many nights of crazy night sweats. Without a waterproof mattress cover, we probably would have had to throw out our mattress. Here’s yet another reason for SO MUCH LAUNDRY when you have children. In just two weeks I’ve been wet from puke, poop, baby pee, spit-up, blood, and now my own sweat. Luckily for everyone in my family, I love to do laundry...and shower.
These physical changes are just a few of the many things I am experiencing as a new parent. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s not just your baby coming into the world, it’s a new me, and a new adventure.
Check out these great resources for new parents:
Stanford Medicine - Getting started with breastfeeding
Postpartum Support International - Phone and online support groups for parents suffering from depression, anxiety, or other perinatal mood disorders
Healthychildren.org - The American Academy of Pediatrics answers the most common questions and concerns that arise during the first months of life.
Alanna Beebeis a certified Positive Discipline Educator and the founder of Sproutable. She has 10+ yrs experience in public health & early learning communications, and equity & social justice policy development. She is a former board member for WACAP (now HoltInternational.org), an international and domestic adoption and foster placement agency. She is also a parent and former nanny. You can find other blogs from Alannain theNew Mama Blogs.