It all started with a video I saw on twitter. A new mom saying she almost had a panic attack when her new born girl had bloody discharge only to discover it was an expected finding in baby girls.
I laughed, shared it on Whatsapp, and I asked moms on my TL to share with me some of the unexpected findings of pregnancy and childbirth. And mehn! the stories were funny, and ??
So today being Mothers day in the UK, Nigeria and some other countries, I am going to share some of the untold stories of pregnancy and childbirth.
The pain doesn’t just disappear immediately the baby comes out.
If you have ever heard our mummies talk about their labor stories, more often than not, they end it with “As soon as your baby comes out, all the pain disappears”. Girls, ladies, future muumies, if you were like me and believed that, then I am here to tell you we have all been deceived o. lol. The pain doesn’t just disappear. The immediate post partum period has its own unique sets of pain and challenges too. Recovery after childbirth is painful. Your entire bum is sore. If you have stitches from tears, then that can be even more painful. You are bleeding and having discharge for up to 10 days. There is also the cramping in your abdomen from the uterus (womb) returning to its normal size and position. And these cramps are even more painful with subsequent deliveries. So my dears, all the pain does not disappear immediately unfortunately. Yes, seeing your baby can make it all feel worth it but that one no mean say pain no dey there.
Nurse tip: Feel free to use Tylenol or naproxen to help with the pain if you have to. Your body is recovering so don’t feel guilty. Remember to check with your doctor first.
1st poop after childbirth is a big event.
I laughed hard when I first heard this one but apparently 1st poop is something that gives a lot of new moms anxiety. Remember they just pushed out a baby from there. Everything down there is sore. One mom even shared with me about how she started rationing her food to postpone this big event. lol.
Las las, there is only so long you can go without pooping. So another nurse tip: Drink lots and lots of fluids . This not only helps with breastfeeding, it also helps to make your poop softer. Incorporating healthy fruits and vegetables can also help. And lots of time, new moms are given stool softeners and laxatives to help with the process. So don’t be afraid to use them, You need all the help you can get for this big event?
Fatigue! Fatigue! Fatigue!
Like most of the things on this list, we don’t talk about this a lot. Fatigue and tiredness in pregnancy- a couple of moms specifically mentioned 1st trimester fatigue- and fatigue after childbirth. Everyone talks about how precious those few hours and days with baby are- and those few hours can be precious- but we don’t talk about how tired and exhausted new moms are during this period. Their bodies just went through a major process. They don’t call it LABOUR for nothing o. So moms, It is okay to be tired. Don’t feel guilty about needing rest. Dads, partners, allow mom rest as much as she can during this period.
C-section (C/S) is not the easy way out.
It bugs me the whole “stigma” attached to having c sections. On one side, it is people saying it is the easy way out. Like, for where?? C section is MAJOR abdominal surgery o. Recovery process after having a c-section is longer. As soon as anesthesia wears out, you are dealing with pain from your incision site. There is also the risk for infection, blood clots, bleeding etc. So where did the whole notion that it is the easy way out come from abeg??
And then, on the other side are people that think c-sections are evil, and having a c-section somehow makes a woman less of a woman or mother ??♀️??♀️. C-sections are not evil! It is one of the major medical advancements that has helped reduce maternal and infant mortality. Because, in case you didn’t know, mothers and babies could die during delivery. So if your doctor recommends a c-section, it is because they are trying to avoid mortality. At the end of the day, the goal is to have healthy mothers and healthy babies.
Breastfeeding is not a bed of roses.
I love that very recently, a conversation about breastfeeding was trending on Twitter ng, and a lot of moms came out to share their experiences. Apparently some people think as soon as a baby is born, milk will start gushing out of mum’s breast, and the baby and mom will instinctively know what to do. Lol. This is not the reality majority of the time o.
Breastfeeding is a new skill that baby has to learn. Babies basically have to be taught how to latch properly. That can be a process. 1st time moms also have to learn this skill. How to position baby properly, how to latch baby etc. And milk doesn’t just come gushing out. It might take some work, sometimes it takes a few days for Mom’s milk to come in. And then there’s the cramping of the uterus while moms are breastfeeding that rarely anyone ever talks about.
So please, be realistic with your expectations on moms. Especially partners and support persons. Don’t put any undue pressure on moms to breastfeed or produce breastmilk. Your words might be hurtful especially because mom’s hormones are all over the place during this period.
Moms, don’t get discouraged if things are not going as planned with breastfeeding. Lots of women face challenges with breastfeeding too. You are not alone and this does not make you a bad mother. Look for videos and resources that will help with the process. Go to a lactation consultant if you have access to one. Attend breastfeeding clinics.While it is recommended that babies are breastfed, it is important to note that a healthy mom is more important than a breastfed baby. And healthy includes mental and emotional health too.
Babies are work work work!
You see those cute little munchkins, they are work! Think about it na. They rely on their parents for everything. And they can’t even communicate what they want properly. Crying is the only language they know ?. They don’t know what time they are supposed to be sleeping, they don’t understand that you are tired or busy… As a parent, you are basically responsible for keeping those tiny beings alive! And then there is the self doubt that comes with the job. Questioning yourself on whether or not you are doing things “the right way”. So when new parents complain about sleep deprivation or being overwhelmed, you need to understand. And the worst part of it, you can’t return the baby. lol. No return policy on these munchkins, they are a final sale??. You see why we need to have more conversations on these things.
7. Finally, Post Partum depression is real!
And we need to talk more about it!
It is estimated that about 20-35% of women are affected by post partum depression. And this is different from the “baby blues” that most moms experience. Post partum depression is more intense and lasts longer, sometimes up to 1 year after delivery. And it is important to note that having post partum depression is not a character flaw on your part. It happens, and it can happen to the best of us. So seek help if this is something you are going through. Dads/Partners, watch mom’s behavior during this period. If things are looking odd, ask for help. Reach out to a medical professional. There are screening tools online that you can use to give you a more objective measure of what is going on. Click here for one of them.
Side note: I feel like Nigerian mothers knew what they were doing when they invented “omugwo”*. They knew new moms need all the support they can get during this period. Shout out to them????
And that is all I have for now! Maybe after I have my own duduke, I will post a part 2 ??
Btw, are your ovaries still “awwing” after reading all these??
I am not trying to scare you o, just telling you as it is. So you can be prepared!
A wise person once told me Labor and childbearing is a natural process but it is imperfect. Things can go wrong. A woman’s body goes through so many physiological and psychological changes. It’s just amazing. So take some time today to appreciate your mom or mothers around you. They are superheroes!!
If you have a minute, check out these links for some of the most amazing birth pictures. They are mind-blowing!
Catch you guys next time! Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for notifications on new posts!
*Omugwo: A Nigerian practice where postpartum care is provided to new mothers usually by their own mothers or mother-in-laws