WARNING: I get a liiiitttle graphic (okay, more than a little) in this post. Women can relate (especially if you're a mama), but this really isn't a post for men.
I really thought that my body was done changing after pregnancy and having the boys. I mean, I carried my boys for 36 weeks, stretched a whole lot (my belly was huge! those boys were healthy and strong!), and my boobs and butt grew a bit (okay, a LOT). I knew that my body would be different after babies, I just didn't realize how different!
The first lovely postpartum thing I experienced was hemorrhoids. I didn't get them during pregnancy, but about 2 weeks postpartum, it appeared. I started experiencing some discomfort while having BMs, and figured I was just bunged up from having my c-section. Well, I decided to take a look. Then I had Tim take a look. Then I had my mom take a look. Yup, it appeared that I had a hemorrhoid. I texted a few friends to ask for advice, had many sitz baths, upped my water intake, tried to eat lots of fibrous foods, and tried Preparation H. I finally asked my OB about it when the fricken hemorrhoid actually bled. Yuck!!! He gave me a prescription for a cream. I can't say the cream really helped, but it finally went away after things started to get a little more regular. I hated having a hemorrhoid. I cried in frustration at having to sit in a shallow bath and waste precious time that I could be sleeping, watching tv, or doing laundry. I was pissed off. WHY did I get a hemorrhoid when I didn't even push babies out of my vagina. I mean I pushed, but I didn't think I pushed that hard! I already had to deal with my incision, and now a part of my intestine hanging out of my butt?! NO THANK YOU.
Seven weeks postpartum, another lovely change happened: stretch marks on my left boob. Yup, just my left. Which makes sense since my left boob seems to produce more milk than my right. I also noticed stretch marks on my left butt cheek, again just my left side. But, I can assure you that my whole butt expanded hugely during pregnancy. The stretch marks really got to me. I felt like my boobs were already ruined (stretchy, saggy boobies in my future when I was finished nursing was already enough, and now stretch marks). Again, I cried at this change. I will never wear a bathing suit again, I vowed to myself. I am not one of those women who is like, "Oh yeah, I earned these stripes!!!". NO, I used to love my little B cup boobs, and now I had these huge fake-looking things that were covered in purple marks! But, within a few months, the purple faded, and I don't notice the marks anymore. If they are still there, they're very faint. I'm over it!
Fast forward to 4 months postpartum: yeast infections! I I sweated a lot. Like I mean soak through the sheets, and change them once or twice a night, sweat. Okay, this was just like the first month postpartum or so. But I can't believe how much I sweated at night. I would have to change pajamas, change the sheets, and then I'd be shivering because I sweated so much then was cooling off. So that crazy sweating ended, but I still continued to sweat quite a bit (thank you breastfeeding and hormones). Around the middle of September, I developed a yeast infection on my groin, not a vaginal one, but right in the groin. Also my left side (what the heck, left side?!). It was extremely uncomfortable, itchy, and my skin scars super easily, so not only was I covered in large welts, it looked like I had a huge purple bruise on my groin. I eventually got rid of it with a prescription cream from my doctor. But, right as the groin yeast disappeared, I started to notice that under my breasts and in my cleavage was extremely itchy. Like this is the type of itch you cannot ignore. You can't help but itch it (really awkward to itch at your groin and boobs, but it was brutal!!)! This yeast infection lasted months. I tried ALL the natural remedies (corn starch, apple cider vinegar, essential oils, coconut oil, Honest's healing balm, tea tree oil) that I could. I didn't want anything unnatural because I was breastfeeding still, and didn't want the boys to get it in their mouth or on their hands. Also, by some miracle, when they nursed they NEVER came in contact with the yeast. After a few weeks of nothing working, I went to the doctor. My doctor wasn't in, so I saw the duty doctor. She had no idea what to do about it, so she just told me to keep using the cream I had been prescribed for my groin. Well, it was like I became immune to this cream. It didn't help. The yeast under my breasts kept spreading and I had these huge brown areas from where my skin was scarring from itching. I went back to my doctor, and we worked out a plan, and she suggested ANOTHER cream. Okay, so I had to stop wearing bras all together, I wore only loose, cotton clothing, I kept a towel by the bed to dry off in the middle of the night, I applied the new cream, I did everything. Nothing helped. I was getting very discouraged. I reached out to other mamas on Facebook, and they gave me wonderful suggestions, all of which I tried! A lovely girl even made me a fabric strip to wear to keep my boobs from touching my skin and absorb sweat. Thank you, Kelsey! You're such a sweetheart! I was back at the doctor again for a check-up for the boys. My doctor asked how the yeast was. She suggested ANOTHER cream. I went to get it, doubtful that I'd ever get rid of the the yeast. Well, this cream did work, and I am so grateful! The yeast started to fade, and with that, the itchiness, bumps, and redness faded as well. Thank god. The whole yeast ordeal lasted about THREE months. NOT FUN! I sure hope it's gone for good. This girl has never experienced a yeast infection before, and I hope I never have to again! blech.
The last thing that my body has gone through postpartum is HAIR LOSS! Massive hair loss! Clumps in my hairbrush, hairs that have fallen out in the shower and have to be scraped off my body, hair EVERYWHERE! I will comb my hair in the shower and throw away a few handfuls at a time. I constantly have to clean out my hair brush from dry hairs. I vacuum often just because hair appears everywhere in my house! Now that I've lost so much hair, I am now growing it back (some of it)... and so I have these wonderful baby hairs that look like a bad bang job. At least they're growing back. I usually don't even do my hair, it's always in a bun or pony, so I don't notice them too often.
The hair loss and re-growth has been the least of my worries! For me, the worst was the yeast. It just made me feel awful about my body and was so annoying to get rid of!
These are just FOUR things that I have experienced postpartum. There are many other physical problems/issues that women face after having a baby (or babies). You would think we'd catch a break after growing and delivering our babes, but nope... the hormones have to balance and strange things happen. I feel like most of these things are in my past, and I can look back on them and laugh about it. But, at the time each happened, I was horrified, embarrassed, shameful, frustrated, and lonely (in feeling that no one else was experiencing these things). Again, I cannot understand why more mamas are not honest and/or don't want to talk about the tough stuff when it comes to pregnancy/labor/delivery/postpartum. Our bodies are amazing at growing and delivering tiny humans, but it's HARD. And even with the most positive attitude, things get to you sometimes. Hormones are crazy! My biggest goal with MRS. + MAMA is to connect with other mamas so we can lean on and support one another. When I finally opened up about my struggle with yeast on Facebook, SO many moms came forward with their experiences and I started to realize how common these things were!
I have to say that overall, my body bounced right back after delivering the boys. I have to credit breastfeeding twins every three hours for the first few months of their lives... and I am still breastfeeding. It definitely took time. It wasn't like I had the boys and left the hospital looking pre-babies. My hips were wider, I had a pooch over my incision, my boobs were huge, the swelling hadn't totally gone down (my legs were tree trunks). But, by the end of the summer, I'd say I was pretty much back to my old self. And with each month since, the body still continues to change. Now that I am breastfeeding less, my breasts are going back to their cute B size, but they are definitely not as perky as they were!! Anyways, I have breastfeeding to thank for this, and I will be writing a post all about my personal experience with breastfeeding soon!
As Ellen Degeneres always says, "be kind to one another"
Thanks for sticking with me and reading this rambling post. How has your body changed postpartum? Did you experience anything that I did? Anything different? If you're an expecting mama, how are you dealing with your body changes? Let me know in the comment section below!
MRS. + MAMA