The first days and weeks after having a baby are most likely nothing like you imagined.
For starters, you still look totally pregnant, and will for some time (complete nonsense, yes.) Even worse, for your stomach to begin to flatten back to (somewhat) normal, your uterus needs to contract again, which translates to major discomfort for you. And you thought contractions ended once the baby came out!
And remember how beautiful it was not to have a period for nine months? Well, you’re going to be making up for that bliss for the next month or so with something nasty called lochia (blood, mucus, and uterine tissue, oh my!) pouring out of you faster than an extra super maxi-pad can keep up with. Add to that the pain and issues from a possible c-section, episiotomy or rough delivery, and you’re going to feel like a science experiment gone bad for at least the next month.
Welcome to motherhood!
• Prepare to be overwhelmed. Having a baby can cause even the most even-keeled of women to completely freak the hell out. Try to remember that your baby is just that; a baby, not an alien. You were made to take care of this creature, and you can do it. Really. Even Snooki did! (And, just so you’re prepared, your first few days will most likely look like this.)
• If breastfeeding comes easy to you, consider yourself lucky because it takes a while for most moms to figure the whole thing out. Join a support group at your hospital or seek the help of a lactation consultant if you’re struggling. If the experience is completely frustrating and miserable, there’s nothing wrong with switching to formula feeding. Nip any mommy guilt in the bud pronto, and do what’s best for you and your baby. Your breasts have zero impact on anyone else in the world, so ignore anyone else’s opinion on the matter.
• Bonding with your baby isn’t always immediate and may not happen for days or even weeks. Don’t worry if you don’t instantly feel that maternal ooze of love; it’ll come in time. Promise.
• It’s normal to feel weepy. Due to shifting hormones, anxiety, and sheer exhaustion, how could you not? If you’re worried that what you’re feeling is more than mild baby blues, talk to your doctor. You could be suffering from PPD, and the sooner you get help, the better.
• Feeling like a terrible mother for thinking that your baby is kind of… weird and ugly? That’s because he is. It’s OK; they all are.
• If you had a c-section, please remember that you just underwent major surgery (why on earth do people think of these as the easy way out?!) and take care of yourself. The last thing you want to do is end up back in the hospital because you pushed yourself too hard.
Scary Mommy Tip: Everyone loves a newborn, and you’ll no doubt be getting lots of offers of help. New moms have a tendency to be somewhat territorial, but don’t be stupid. You have plenty of time with your baby, ACCEPT EACH AND EVERY OFFER OF HELP! The offers don’t last forever, and soon enough you’ll have to pay by the hour for childcare. Take the free help while you can get it, or you’ll regret it.