It's Not All Beauty and Bliss
Common Misconceptions After Having A Baby
Personal Perspective by Jamie McKimmy
Before becoming pregnant with my first child I had this perfect mental picture of how it would go, what it would look like, and how I would feel the days leading up and following my son's birth. I’ll be the first to tell you, it was not even close to the actual reality of how it went. The media does a great job of painting the perfect picture of pregnancy, childbirth, and bringing your new bundle of joy home. However, that painted picture is not the reality for most women. Lets dive deeper into some of these misconceptions from my perspective as a mother of two young boys.
The Drive Home….
What I pictured: Sitting in the backseat while my husband drove us home. Completely blissful moment of staring at my sweet baby boy sleeping right next to me.
What actually happened: Of course I sat in the backseat because I was super anxious about taking this little 7 pound 9 ounce baby in a car for 20 minutes. He just seemed too little to be strapping into this enormous car seat. There was a mixture of crying, sleeping, and car seat checks to make sure he was safe and comfortable. It was a good mixture of bliss, fear, and anxiety that I could be trusted with this little human right after giving birth and getting no sleep.
The First Night…..
What I pictured: Lying in bed with my son sleeping peacefully in his bassinet next to me wrapped in a swaddle and only waking me up to nurse every few hours.
What actually happened: Sleep deprivation and a significant amount of fear that my son would stop breathing. No one really prepared me for this moment and how I would feel so on edge. This resulted in me checking on him every few minutes when I should have been trying to get some sleep.
The First of MANY Visitors….
What I pictured: A slow steady stream of close family and friends stopping by to meet my sweet little guy. Some would bring small gifts, some food, and some just great company.
What actually happened: A large influx of people texting, calling, and messaging me on social media if they could stop and see my little guy. Others just stopping by unannounced when I hadn’t slept, showered, or prepared to see someone outside of my small family circle. I didn’t realize how quickly I became overwhelmed with even just one visitor at a time.
The New Mother Glow…..
What I pictured: Luscious hair growth, blissful happiness and baby weight to fall right off.
What actually happened: I was one of the lucky moms that most of the baby weight fell off within the first 4 weeks postpartum. I know most moms hate me for that, but trust me I was far from having the “mom glow”. I struggled with new body odor that I had never experienced before and quite a bit of my hair fell out for months after my son was born. I definitely had large bags under my eyes and most of the time walked around without a bra on, accidentally leaking breast milk on my shirt.
The First Bowel Movement….
What I pictured: To happen the same as it did before, because who wouldn’t?
What actually happened: No one told me how painful the first poop is after having a baby. I was afraid all of my insides would fall out if I pushed just a tiny bit. I remember a vivid feeling of panic and had to ask my mom if it was okay to poop. Talk about not a conversation you want to have hours after giving birth.
The First Shower……
What I pictured: To happen the same as it did before, but feel extra refreshing after pushing a baby out.
What actually happened: I remember hardly being able to walk. I was extremely shaky and weak. I wanted to take a shower a couple hours before but just didn’t have the strength and was afraid to do it by myself. My mother in law offered to help me and I am so thankful she did. Once I got past the fact of feeling very self conscious it was very humbling to realize what my body had just done and that my mother in law was willing to help me.
The First Time You’re Home Alone with Baby....
What I pictured: Sitting for hours in my lazy boy just staring at his sweet features in the peace and quiet.
What actually happened: FEAR. I was so scared to stay home by myself. I was afraid I couldn’t handle it and that something was going to happen to him. Once I did it a few times I was completely fine, but no one prepared me for what it would be like.
Being a mother is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am sure most moms can attest to that! The minute you see your baby’s face and have skin to skin the bond is like no other. It’s an incredible journey but I know for me personally I would have loved to know some of the hard things that come with the first few weeks after birth. I hope you enjoyed my take on common misconceptions after having a baby.