Mondays at HH are reserved for all things Mommy.
Pigtail is almost six months old, and I'm still talking about What I Learned. Perhaps I'll be talking about it the rest of my life.
I felt mildly prepared for childbirth. I discussed it with friends and family, asked all the questions I thought I needed to know and heard several horror stories I probably didn't need to know. I read books and blogs and wasn't obsessive about it, but wanted to feel prepared when October rolled around.
I was as ready as I could be for the first time, I suppose. Things went okay, minus a few post-birth complications and there are a few things I'll do differently the next time around (Lord willing that there is a next time around), but I didn't find it to be a wholly unknown experience.
Except for afterwards.
Nobody talks about afterwards. Well, I take that back. There is a wealth of information on specific parts of the afterwards. Breastfeeding, for example, is covered down to every detail. Post-partum depression is mentioned on every single "afterwards" book, podcast, or blog post. I was more aware of the signs of post-partum depression than I was one single other thing in the new mother experience. So convinced was I that post-partum depression was going to strike me like a snake that I made doctors appointments in advance for help.
I'm glad there is such good and in-depth information on these other topics. It's important to educate women on these things. But the gap in my own preparation for the post-childbirth was this:
A lot. I mean, it's really awful. I think it is assumed that we - as mature thinking women - would put it together that pushing something BIG out of something SMALL would make for pain, and not just the pinprick kind.
I had an epidural for Pigtail's delivery, so that's not what I'm talking about (although, I'll go ahead and tell you now that an epidural doesn't make you paralyzed-type numb. Who knew?). I'm still talking about afterwards. Afterwards. Afterwards your body feels like it got hit by a semi-truck while you were sleeping in the middle of the road and then flung into the nearest ditch that also contained sewer water. That's what your body feels like. And not just for days, but for months.
I swear no one told me that.
On day 3 in the hospital, I looked at my parents with wide, tired, eyes and asked, "Does everyone feel this way? Why doesn't anyone talk about this part?" You won't be surprised to know that they laughed.
When we got home from the hospital, I kept thinking that any day now my body would start to feel better. Did I mention my home has three floors? Each step felt like a knife in my, you know, areawherethebabycameout. I had to sit on pillows and I couldn't stand for very long. I walked completely stooped over to relieve the pressure to my areawherethebabycameout.
But still, any day now, I just new I was going to feel better.
At four weeks I didn't have to stoop or sit on a pillow for meals. At six weeks I was manageably sore, and pissed off that I hadn't adequately prepared mentally or physically for the body's recovery. I had, in all honesty, completely glossed over that part. The "nightmare" of the first few weeks of motherhood - because it was described to me with just that word - was supposed to be about sleepless nights and fussy crying (from all members of the family) and breastfeeding frustrations.
But when I look back on the first few months of Pigtail's life, I only remember two overwhelming emotions: Joy (I was enamored with my daughter and thankful for her health from the second day. I never showed true signs of the post-partum depression that I feared.) and immense physical pain.
Veteran mothers are probably either smiling in recognition or furrowing their brow in confusion. I hope I haven't scared those who wish to give birth one day. It's all worth it, a hundred times over. Even a million times over. I just wish someone had told me.
I happen to know that I don't have an abnormally low pain tolerance. Did the months post-delivery wreck havoc on you or am I being dramatic?