Pregnancy comes with a lot of feelings and symptoms. Some are positive and make us want to smile. Others are negative and remind us of the importance of effective mental health care while expecting.
But whether it is your first or your 5th pregnancy, you’re going to experience a lot of mental and physical changes. Guess what? It’s okay to hate some of them.
The following is a non-comprehensive list of things I wish I could skip the second time around:
1. Poop Problems
When we think about pregnancy poop problems, we think about constipation. Constipation is definitely one of the suckiest things about being pregnant. But let’s be real. It doesn’t matter if you struggle to poop or poop too much. Your poop (and pee) will likely be outta whack.
2. Swollen Everything
The swelling during pregnancy is pretty darn indiscriminate; it can turn you into a balloon. I experienced swelling everywhere. My lovely face with clearly defined chin and cheekbones transformed into something that looked more like a volleyball. My fingers were too big for my wedding ring, my hips at least three sizes wider, and my toes look less like toes and more like little piggies without blankets.
My labor lasted from about 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. the next morning — and I was one of the lucky ones. I have talked to women who were in labor anywhere from 18 to 24 hours. And it’ll feel like the medical world is only really concerned with active labor.
It also sucks that your labor experience largely depends on the medical professionals attending and the beliefs they hold about labor. They can range from wonderful, horrible, to meh. It really is a mixed bag.
4. Hospital Squirt Bottles
I hate even thinking about this. After giving birth you’re sore, obviously. What isn’t obvious, especially for first-time mothers, is that wiping will be too painful, as is sitting, bathing, and most other things.
Enter the dreaded post-labor squirt bottle so you can make sure that you’re cleaning yourself thoroughly whenever you have the courage to try to poop and pee.
Spoiler alert: You will NEVER feel clean enough.
5. Post-Birth Ooze
When you have the baby things are oozing out of you: you have to wait for the placenta to fall out along with tons of fluid. And the mess that comes with a vaginal birth will stick with you for a while.
When I speak to my friends who had C-sections, I hear of similar fluids, except that oozes often coming from your torso at an incision site. Neither vaginal or C-section births come without some form of ooze.
Depends adult diapers were life-changing at this stage. I don’t care who judges me for it.
6. Postpartum Shedding
I’d heard of postpartum shedding, but what I hadn’t heard was that I would be damn near bald afterward. About three months after giving birth, the entire perimeter of my hair was gone. It literally felt like I woke up one day and was bald on the entire first fourth of my head. It was embarrassing and confusing and I was not at all prepared for it.
7. Sleep Deprivation
I vaguely remember being a mombie — never really asleep but I was never really awake either — for the first six months of my son’s life.
Some of this was due to personal choices. Even though my son was drinking his breastmilk from the bottom, I still had to wake up at regular intervals to pump. The rest was the result of new parent anxiety. I had to be awake at all times to make sure that my new little human was still alive. The aches and pains didn’t make it much easier to sleep either.
There are a million reasons not to be able to sleep with the new baby — I’m excited to see what the sleep deprivation wheel of misfortune brings me this time.
9. Latch Struggles
I have every intention of breastfeeding a second time. However, it was in no way easy. It took an entire month for my son to learn to latch the first time. The entire first month was stressfully filled with tears and calls to lactation consultants. It was smooth sailing once he got it together, but the first few weeks were hell.
10. New Stuff
The first go-round, I was terrified, but at least he was my sole responsibility. This second go-round, there’s a whole world of new experiences waiting to be had. Now the stakes are double. I am excited about all of these new experiences. I am also terrified of facing the new bumps in the road along the way.
But I am looking forward to the cute pictures I’ll get.
There are plenty of things to dread while waiting to give birth. Especially if you already have children. However, as cliché as all of this may sound, I know I will everything the moment I get to see this baby’s face and hold them in my arms for the first time. Those first moments are worth a lifetime of labor pains.