My 5 Biggest Post-Partum Body Shocks

baby body shockers

Call me naive, but I wasn’t really properly prepared for any of the things that happen to your body once you’ve given birth. I had a bit of a mental block about anything post-pregnancy, including what it would actually be like to – y’know – have a baby to look after, and so I didn’t read very much about post-partum body stuff at all. A quick email around to a few friends who had also spent a long time trying to conceive revealed that they suffered from the same phenomenon – they had been so focused on getting pregnant, and holding on to the pregnancy, that they hadn’t even considered life after the birth.

Anyway, that’s probably a whole other story: for now, let’s talk body shockers! I meant to write this at the height of my shocked-ness, when I was hobbling about a holiday let with a crying baby, not being able to stand up straight and leaking milk from my boobs whilst accidentally spotting blood onto the carpet. But obviously I was otherwise engaged.

I use the word “shock” because it sounds better than “surprised”, but I have to say that none of the body changes were at all horrendous – more inconvenient, really, or just unexpected. I didn’t even get much pain from my C-section scar, though I’ve had some minor issues with it recently; again, it was more of an inconvenience. So you can uncover your eyes and ears if you were getting worried – there’s no screaming or crying here. I’ll save that for another post, hohoho!

1. At the top spot for post-partum surprises: the post-partum tum-tum. Yes, that beautiful taut egg-pod of a full-term pregnancy tummy became a sagging, wobbling mass of spongey flesh overnight. Not that I really had an “overnight” after the birth, because I slept for about an hour, but you get the drift. After my catheter had been removed (don’t even – I’m so squeamish) and I was prompted to use the bathroom, I got out of bed (rolled onto the floor) to find I was carrying what felt like a sack of potatoes in my belly. A huge sack. Don’t get me wrong; I knew that pregnant bellies didn’t flatten out quickly, but I wasn’t expecting to still look eight months pregnant! It took weeks and weeks to go down to anything resembling a non-weird stomach and now, seven weeks on, I still have a sizeable gut. It’s saggy and sad and my belly button looks as though someone has traumatised it with a stretching implement. It reminds me of those odd flesh-tunnel ear holes when the hoops have been removed. Sexy.

2. Next in line: blood. For some insane reason I assumed that vaginal bleeding after birth was linked to vaginal births and so, when I was preparing for the C-section in my head I thought “yesss! No bleeding!” Well. I was wrong on that front! Six thousand mattress-like maternity pads later and it’s only really just stopped. The past four weeks have been very light, but the first three were a total pain in the neck. You’re supposed to let air get to your C-section scar, but can’t, really, because without massive pants on and a huge absorbent pad, you’d bleed everywhere. I can’t imagine how inconvenient it must be if you’re trying to keep perineal stitches clean and dry!

3. Forceful milk eruptions. OK, I knew that breasts produced milk, I’d have been an absolute tool not to have known that. What I wasn’t aware of was that nipples could actually squirt milk – proper streams of it – and that they could do so completely unprompted. The first time it happened, I was sitting up in bed and it just streamed out through the air and hit the opposite wall! It’s no wonder, then, that I had been waking up to soaked sheets and duvets if my breast pads had slipped out of place… It’s phenomenal how much liquid breasts can produce!

4. Nausea. I thought that I had left nausea behind with the first-and-a-half trimester of pregnancy but no, a couple of days after the birth there it was, back with a vengeance. I was worried I had transmitted some awful hospital bug at first, but soon realised that I was experiencing it only in the first minute or so of a breastfeed, and when I Googled it (good old Doctor Google!) I found out that it was a hormonal thing, the release of oxytocin, linked to milk let-down. Well I never. I still get it a bit, seven weeks on.

5. Loss of memory.

5. Loss of memory.

5. Loss of memory. Nothing too severe – I don’t think I repeat myself, or anything like that. But I used to have a brilliant memory and now I rely on lists for everything. And post-it notes. I feel as though I’m in that film where the bloke I can’t remember the name of has had something happen to him that I can’t recall and he has to leave a paper trail everywhere to remind himself of who he is and so on. Memento, is it? Whatever: I find it hard to remember to brush my teeth or drink water let alone remember facts and figures.

Do feel free to add any of your own unexpected post-partum body changes in the comments below! We could start a little database…

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.

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