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What Recovering from Giving Birth is REALLY Like

You want to be able to enjoy every moment, but you are just so tired, and sore, and...

what-recovering-from-giving-birth-is-really-like

False Expectations

Often, when pregnancy begins we are full of excitement and joy. We welcome the miserable symptoms of nausea or constipation because they mean there is a baby inside us and we are thrilled at the thought. But slowly this view begins to change, and by those last 4 weeks of pregnancy all we can think about is getting that baby out of us. I remember thinking, "I don't care how bad it hurts, I just don't want to be pregnant for one more day!" I reminisced about the energy I used to have, and how easily I was able to do simple things like getting up off the couch, or putting my shoes on. I told my husband over and over, "I can't wait to have this baby so I can feel like myself again, I am so tired of being uncomfortable and exhausted all the time." I firmly believed I would go in to the hospital a miserably huge pregnant person and come out a happy, energetic, non-pregnant person. In fact, I have known many woman who thought this way. We believed that as soon as we got this baby out, we would feel as great as we did before we ever got pregnant. We were in for a huge disappointment.

This is one of the few photos of me with my newborn where my eyes are actually open.

what-recovering-from-giving-birth-is-really-like

The Truth

Giving birth is an extremely traumatic experience for a woman's body. Labor, alone, is equivalent to running a marathon. Then add in the stretching, and tearing, along with the amount of blood lost. Any person experiencing this type of trauma would normally be expected to stay in bed resting for days. However, a new mom is experiencing such little sleep during those first few weeks it is a wonder she is even able to function on a basic level, much less recover from such a taxing experience.

Expecting moms, please understand that walking, sitting, and even cleaning off after using the bathroom are going to feel more like a chore then a normal part of everyday life for at least a week or two postpartum. Also, go ahead and accept the fact that, no matter how interrupted your sleep is now from frequent bathroom breaks, Braxton Hicks, baby hiccuping, or just the need to heave your body into a more comfortable position, it is nothing compared to how interrupted it will be once that baby is born.

It is normal to feel exhausted, sore, overwhelmed, forgetful, disorganized, incompetent, emotional, moody, and a nonresponsive participant in most conversations. Don't get down on yourself. Also, don't give up hope that you will make it back to that fun, lovable person you once knew.

A year later...

what-recovering-from-giving-birth-is-really-like

The Happy Ending

The GREAT news is it doesn't take a year to feel like yourself again. After about four to six weeks your little one will start sleeping longer stretches. First you will notice during they day they are going three hours or so between feedings. Then, at night they will make it four to five hours at a time. It is amazing how good four straight hours of sleep feels when you are used to only two or less. It is around this time you finally start to fully recover from all your body has been through since your baby was conceived. For me, by eight weeks I was feeling really good and by 3 months I was GREAT.

The best advice I was ever given is, "Don't expect too much from yourself the first couple months after having a baby." Give yourself credit for what you have been through. Appreciate your body for how amazing it is. Make sure when your baby is awake you are enjoying him, and once he is asleep, limit the amount of work you allow yourself to do to make sure you get rest in also.

In most of the pictures taken the first six weeks of my son's life I look a little dishevelled and tired. However, anyone looking at those pictures can see how truly happy I am. Motherhood is an amazing journey. It starts off a little rocky, but that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable too.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

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meganlsmith3 (author) from Texas on February 25, 2012:

Patricia, the reason using the bathroom hurts is because most woman tear down there during delivery. They have to be stitched back together. The actually peeing doesn't hurt, it is the wiping off afterward that is uncomfortable. This happens with or without an epidural. However, I have heard several woman say that not having an epidural makes recovery easier.

Patricia on February 23, 2012:

if your baby was born in the natural way, is it painful the first times you go to the bathroom to pee? :S

lovelife08 from United States on February 20, 2012:

I can relate to just about all of these things! I thought going to the bathroom would be easier once my daughter was born, but I was WRONG. Plus, the waddling got much worse, since I was so sore and I could barely sit or stand or anything. Great Hub! Voted up!

SuceAnne on February 20, 2012:

Scroll to Continue

Wow you described me to a tea!!its amazing and real fun to see someone write exacly how i feel...My pregnancy was wonderful but the first 6 weeks was real hard to adjust to my new life with my husband and son..but now life is wonderful it took me about 3 months...

klash5 on February 20, 2012:

Great hub, voted up and useful. If you are a pre planner type of person. Making some meals and freezing them can be a great time saver that comes in handy after the birth of the newborn.

Dina Blaszczak from Poland on February 19, 2012:

Becoming a mum is still ahead of me, so I found this hub very interesting reading! I totally enjoyed it and wouldn't mind if the hub was even longer :)))

Moon Willow Lake on February 19, 2012:

I completely agree with what you have shared, and it brought back memories. I would also like to add that another aspect of what can happen for some, as with me, are some mild 'baby blues'. I had some crying spells simply because I missed the close connection I had to my son being physically connected to me when inside. I did not have postpartum depression, but did experience that emotional loss nonetheless. I just want to say that it can be a perfectly normal part of the recovery.

amckean84 on February 19, 2012:

Wow! Great hub, although I have to say a little scary! My husband and I are trying for our first, and I keep hearing horror stories. All with happy endings, but still...I guess it's good to know what to expect!

babbleanon from Australia on February 18, 2012:

I was a little scared reading this... even having been there and done that I am now on number 2 and have about 7/8 weeks left! I am not nervous about the birth yet as I know what to expect (just about!) but I am completely over this pregnancy and as much as I know it will be hard giving birth I know the real test is having to look after a baby!! But your piece has enlightened me, and not scared me as much as I thought it might! My biggest fear now, is that hubby thinks I will be able to do more for him around the office (at home) now that I will not be working!!! Ha!

Thelma Alberts from Germany on February 18, 2012:

This is an honest story of recovering after giving birth. Although it is a very long time ago now for me, it took a long time to recover after giving birth. It was a lot of pain, hard work and lack of sleep. But it is worth it! Congratulation on the hub of the day!

LoriSoard from Henryville, Indiana on February 17, 2012:

Honest look at childbirth and what most women go through. It does vary a little. With my first, she was a preemie and my recovery time was much quicker because she was so small. Second baby was like an entirely different experience, but definitely worth it. Congrats on hub of the day, too.

meganlsmith3 (author) from Texas on February 17, 2012:

Menagerie I totally agree with you. Hollywood's image is so different from reality that it is sickening.

Joy, you are not the first to tell me that delivering with a midwife was so much easier, recovery wise, then in a hospital. I definitely need to look into that. Thanks.

NiaLee, Steph, arusho, ciran, and millionaire thank you for your support. I feel honored to have received this award.

ssmeford, I am glad to hea