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What the baby books won’t tell you

You can read all the pregnancy and baby books you want. The truth is, you still don’t know what’s coming. Having a baby rocks your world, both in amazing and alarming ways. So brace yourself because here is some of the real stuff coming your way.

Pre-birth

That beautiful pregnancy glow everybody talks about? That’s really people just being polite. In reality, you’re likely swollen from your ankles to your face, and as you tick closer to 40 weeks, the ability to actually be comfortable is rare. With constant bathroom breaks and struggling to flip from side to side in bed, you are getting a preview of what sleepless nights look like. Count yourself as lucky if you haven’t yet experienced the “joy” of hemorrhoids, but beware they are likely around the corner.

Labor

You may think you’re prepared with your labor plan, packed bag and supportive spouse. In reality, labor can feel completely out of your control, never knowing what to expect next. My husband likes to call labor “a horrific miracle.”

Inevitably, every labor is unique and cannot be predicted. Each woman walks away with her own combat story, with some scars, stitches and stretchmarks to prove it. So come ready to impress all with your super-woman strength!

Post-birth

That bundle of joy is finally here, and so are the battle wounds to prove it. From your severely swollen lady parts to sore tush and cramping uterus, this is the part that can feel the most foreign and unspoken. The books never talk about the mesh underwear and huge ice packs you’ll be wearing for days and how your hospital bathroom can resemble a crime scene after you pee.

Plus, the pressure from your nurses to poop is something nobody is prepared for and can cause post-traumatic stress. Just know, each day the pain will lessen and your sweet baby will only keep getting cuter and cuter.

First few weeks

Thank goodness for the euphoria that new babies bring, because absolutely nothing has prepared new parents for the sleepless nights of a newborn. Those all-nighters you pulled in college? Not even close to the fatigue of getting up multiple times a night to feed, change, rock and get baby back to sleep. Plus, a new baby brings lots of visitors and well-wishers, which often makes catching up on sleep during the daytime nearly impossible.

After a few weeks, your body is still likely feeling mushy and you start to wonder if you will ever be able to stop wearing pads.

Six months later

Baby is now sleeping longer stretches, getting onto a nap schedule and making those adorable cooing and laughing sounds.

Yet, why didn’t anyone tell you that you still don’t feel exactly like your pre-baby self? Suddenly you can’t stop wetting yourself when you laugh or exercise. You feel like your hair is coming out in clumps every time you brush it. Those swollen feet have changed your shoe size completely. Your formerly perky boobs now feel saggy and lifeless. Ah, the joys (and adjustments!) of your post-baby body. Every time you look into those beautiful baby eyes, remind yourself it’s been worth the journey and learn to embrace the new you.

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