I thought I'd prepared for it all. After reading so many books, articles and blogs, listening to podcast after podcast, watching YouTube videos and relentlessly interrogating other moms about their pregnancy experience, I figured there would be no surprises. But I was wrong. There were.
Some, I was ready for, but others, well...you'll see:
1. You'll have to face the dreaded postpartum poop.
Triple P, I call it. Now, I can't say I wasn't warned about this. A good friend of mine told me, "Don't leave the hospital until you poop." I blushed over the phone, not quite sure what she'd meant. She explained it was painful after a vaginal birth, and it was a struggle. We moved on from the conversation that left me, well, a little shaken, but I quickly forgot about it. Ladies, listen up: I solemnly swear that my own PPP was 10 times more painful than giving birth to my 10 pound 1 ounce son. There. You've been warned.
I remember a nurse offering me a stool softener tablet to "help things along." I popped the little pill. I wish she'd been a little more forthcoming and less nonchalant about that little red tablet. I wish she'd laid a hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said, "Good luck, honey. You're gonna need it." For me, it took four days to finally happen. I ended up crying and begged my husband to call the nurse at the hospital. She told me to take two softeners a day and drink more water, but it was inevitable. I had to just get through it. You will too, I promise. And now that you know, you can start preparing. Drink lots and lots and lots of water and maybe try a stool softener or two with your doctor's permission before the birth.
2. There will be flatulence.
After you are stitched up and healed, things may not be quite the same for a while...or ever. I can only speak for myself, currently eight months postpartum, but here it goes...I toot sometimes, ok? There, I said it! I'm not talking about the kind that all people do as human beings. I'm talking about the kind that is so embarrassing because you can't hold it in and out it comes complete with sound effects, the likes of which make preteen boys laugh uncontrollably. I don't know what happened to my muscles after baby arrived, but to this day I've continued to have a few embarrassing moments. I usually just go on as if nothing has happened in the vain hope that I've fooled those around me into thinking they didn't hear what they just heard. Oh well, it's human nature. What's life without a few moments to look back and laugh at? Besides, I don't think this affects everyone. I hope that maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones!
3. You might smell a little worse...temporarily.
This was another unexpected treat. For a good three to four months postpartum, no deodorant would suffice. I tried three kinds and stopped short of going into the doctor for prescription antiperspirant. It was like going through puberty all over again. Thankfully, this unpleasant phase called it quits and I'm back to my good old-fashioned, unscented deodorant.
4. You may kiss some of your shoes goodbye.
I thought this was an old wives' tale, but there were a couple of pairs of shoes I ended up getting rid of because they were just too small even months after giving birth. Trust me when I tell you they weren't just tight—they were too small. You know those shoes that you probably shouldn't have bought because your toe is right at the end, but they were on sale and super cute, so you thought, "Oh, what the heck?" Those are the ones you probably won't be able to wear anymore. Bonus: now you get to buy all new shoes!
Still, I'd chuck out all my shoes and raise my smelly armpits proudly to do it all again. These are just small things compared to the list of a thousand amazing things you'll discover about baby. I just wish I'd known, that's all, and I wanted to pass the word on to you.