What Scares Me Most About Having Another Baby Is…

the AFTERMATH.

As my cousin’s husband so eloquently put it after his wife gave birth, “It’s like a bomb exploded on her crotch.” I know it’s graphic, but it’s as close to the way I felt after birth as can be put into internet appropriate words.

Warning: if you have not had a baby yet and are nervous or squeamish about the birthing process, this post may not be for you.

With our first, I was terrified to have a baby. The idea of pushing a baby out made me weak in the knees.  But I will never forget the one friend who sagely told me her honest opinion that I painstakingly recalled after birth, “it’s not the delivery that’s hard, it’s the recovery.” Amen. Labor seems like summer camp comparatively.

No one adequately prepared me for the feeling of being ripped apart that lingers for a good six weeks post birth, not to mention every time I peed or #2-ed. I was unaware an inflatable donut would be my lifeblood, and I’d sell my soul to the devil to have a constant supply of them so I didn’t have to schlep my one true donut love around the house like a vagabond.

No one really prepared me for the incessant bleeding either. It’s not all that unfamiliar as it’s like a period, but on crack. And as the stereotypes about periods indicate, that cannot be a good thing.

And I’ll never forget the optimistic words of the postpartum nurse who told me I only had one little hemorrhoid. So bright. So encouraging. So wrong.  Dear tiny little hemorrhoid, you’ve blossomed into my constant companion. Your mother would be so proud.

I don’t fault that nurse. In fact, I hold her on a pedestal. All those labor and delivery and postpartum nurses. They are the salt of the earth. The best people I know. I mean her job is to care for me, a stranger as I come to comprehend what lack of bladder control really means (read: repeatedly pee the bed). Not to mention the tasks of continually cleaning up my blood from all over the floor, comforting me while I cry because I’m scared to poop and then analyzing my bowel movements. If that’s not a saint, I don’t know what is. Nothing but straight up respect for those ladies.

The thing that is most difficult about the aftermath is the length. It’s rough being tore up from the floor up (see what I did there?) for an extended period of time. Sure, showering and getting dressed helps, but it doesn’t erase what you and I both know. A bomb went off down there and 6 weeks ain’t no amount of realistic time to undo that damage.  After being so bamboozled by birth, I felt more ready to rejoin society not in 6 weeks (and many agree), but maybe somewhere closer to 6 months.

Maybe I’m being dramatic, it is my specialty, but the thought of enduring the exploded crotch again terrifies me.

Congratulations if you are one of the lucky ladies who is up walking, running, and sexing before your six weeks. I am not of that breed. Maybe I’m of the “wuss breed” or the “sissy breed,” but there is one thought making “the aftermath” seem surmountable. Nothing compares to the feeling of meeting a new little person.

While I’m not looking forward to the aftermath, I am more aware this time of the intoxication of a newborn baby and the indescribable love that make donut buddies humorous and bladder control just superfluous.

Image: Obstetrician via dabjola/Shutterstock.com

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  1. by Leslie

    On October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    It’s so refreshing to know I’m not the only woman out there who had a hard recovery! I can definitely relate to this post! We are also contemplating having a second child, and the “aftermath” is definitely something to be considered!!

  2. by Alyssa

    On October 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    word.

  3. by Shannon

    On October 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Amen! I felt the 6 month pain as well. A Sitz bath was my best friend after giving birth to both of my kids. Um warm water-yes please! Although I will say that my second recovery was easier. Hopefully that will be true for you:)

  4. by Ebony

    On October 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I just had mysecond baby in May and I’m still recovering lol. I tore a teeny bit and when me n my hubby were doing the deed it hurt for a very long time. I have to say my second was a rough recovery period for me.

  5. by alicia

    On October 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Thank you for this!! I wasn’t ok’d to resume sex until 9 weeks! It bwas horrific and you described my exact situation. I didn’t ever think I’d walk normal again… needless to say, it doesn’t scare me enough to not want more. :)

  6. by Erica

    On October 13, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I hear you! With my second (Samson), I ended up back in the hospital a week after he was born because I had developed a uterine infection and was bleeding A LOT. I still thank God every night that my Mom was here for me; recovery was difficult not only because of the picc line I had in my arms and the round-the-clock nursing *and* IV medications every 4 and 6 hours, but because I also had a little almost-3-year-old who had missed me terrible and now needed me to make up for lost time. It was exceedingly more difficult the second time, BUT I will say this: if your first child is anything like mine, you will be counting your firstborn among angels during your recovery. Just as I would finally get comfy, I’d realize I had forgotten my nursing pillow. Caroline to the rescue! During those first weeks of trying to go potty without screaming, Caroline would soothe Sam by singing him lullabyes while he lay in his crib. She would fetch diapers, shake rattles, and generally occupy his attention for me whenever I needed her to. Having a second is daunting, but in some ways, having a little helper is almost better then having an easier recovery. :) Good luck!!

  7. by sadie

    On October 13, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I was alright with the physical recovery… it was the post-partum depression that got me. Still battling… and it’s been 6.5 years :(

  8. by Evie

    On October 13, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I had a fairly easy recovery both times – no tears, no hemorrhoids, and the pain was pretty much gone by the end of week 2.

    But it’s the permanent effects that are much worse – now I’m dealing with prolapse which has ruined my sex life and made it difficult to hold my pee for more than a few minutes. And there’s no treatment – physical therapy can hopefully keep it from getting worse, but it won’t make it better. The only treatment is surgery, which many women report having pain and loss of ability to enjoy sex from (permanently).

    Too bad the medical establishment spends virtually zero time or money trying to help women with these problems. But we have multiple erection drugs on the market.

  9. by Shahera

    On October 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I have no children, & always said I didn’t want any for the reasons you describe above. After almost 2yrs. of facilitating a Prenatal Support Group, I began to change my mind and say, “hey, maybe I Can do this!” I can safely say that all of that confidence that I built up after facilitating group #8 of 20 women each group, has now gone back to the original state of thinking! I am again terrified, LoL and think I’ll save the “children having” for the women in my groups! :-)

  10. by Brenda

    On October 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I do have to say the postpartum period is the worse part of pregnancy. I had a 13 hour long labor and delivery but it was really a cake walk compared to the postpartum period. The incessant bleeding that had me in adult diapers because nothing else could hold all that blood for 2 weeks was embarrassing. I had a blood clot the size of a softball come out and it literally felt like my vagina was trying to take a poop when it came out. The fact that I had a 2nd degree tear was horrible. Every time I urinated I felt like I was setting my crotch on fire. My OB/GYN gave me the go ahead to start having intercourse again after 6 weeks, but the thought of doing the deed made me cringe until I was about 10 weeks postpartum. But all of it, I do mean ALL of it, was worth it. In the end I have a wonderful son. I am currently pregnant with my 2nd baby and it is not the thought of labor and delivery that scares. What scares me is the postpartum period and knowing that I am going to go through it all again.

  11. by Stepford wife

    On October 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

    yes, i totally agree. Before my first labor, I was afraid of the unknown situation, and I was more scared before my second labor / I was afraid of the well known situation. Luckily my second labor was great, it was really much much easier than the first time. But it is also important to say I went to another hospital, the one employing much better team. And the postpartum recovery was much easier – the first time I couldn’t sit for dazs, and after the second one, I sat on my hospital bed the next day!

  12. by Yaki

    On October 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I went trough the exact same thing with my first. The second was a breeze…felt great the next day!

  13. by Dawn

    On October 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    AMEN! The postpartum recovery was definitely the worst. With my first I experienced a 3rd degree laceration to the rectal sphincter and a terrible hemorrhoid, so the donut was my best friend! And, let’s not discount the postpartumkids depression :-( Recovery after baby #2 was actually a piece of cake. Baby #3 was so easy to deliver despite his 11 lb physique but he did some incredible damage. I suffered with a prolapse and significant incontinence for two years before I finally decided to have corrective surgery. So thankful for not peeing my pants with EVERY little thing I did! Best. Decision. Ever. Baby #4′s delivery had to be c-section because of the corrective surgery the year before – no sense in undoing that and having THAT trouble again! ;-) However, the recovery from the c-section was no less traumatic and much more painful than my vaginal deliveries, for sure.

  14. by B

    On October 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I have to admit that I didn’t feel much down below for about 6 months after…I think every nerve to my lady parts was shredded and upon closer examination I had what can only be described as Franken-pussy. I’ve never seen so many stitches!!! So, for me, the birth was the worst part…that wriggling glacier moving through and relandscaping everything in its path. It was such a relief when the baby was out!!! I am soooo NOT doing that again!!!

  15. by Kelli

    On October 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    You forgot to mention what it feels like when the nurse pushes on your stomache! That was the WORST part!!

  16. by Sara W.

    On October 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I have forgotten before, during and after delivering. You forget everything at least I did. I was very blessed, the only thing I did not like was waiting, I had to stay in the hospital for 72 hours because I had to have inducing labor but when I was ready, I only pushed 3 times and my baby girl came out. Thank God and thank for the epidural. The recovery was good, the only thing bothered me was when I had a bowel movement. I want to add that I only have one child. Remember! Everyone is different.

  17. by Olivia

    On October 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    for me none of it was really all that bad! Had a great epidural once I got that I never felt one contraction. My daughter swallowed amniotic fluid and birth and got pnemonia so she had to go to the NICU and stay for 10 days the very next morning I was walking from my room to the NICU. I was not in any pain plus that was my baby nothing was gonna stop me for seeing my GIRL! I will say the Sitz bath was wonderful! It helped with the lil bit I needed it. I was one of those women people hated, did not gain alot of weight easy labor, delivery and recovery had postpartum depression but it only lasted for about a day I think it was the fact that my baby was not in my room with me. I would gladly do it all over again. Seeing that lil angel in my arms knowing we created it and I carried her and that she came out of me makes all of it worth while.

  18. by Lisa

    On October 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I expected the blood and pain. I expected the hormone imbalance and hot flashes. Didn’t expect the cramps or how hard it was to bfeed. Thought that would come”naturally” it didn’t we were both so frustrated with it, I ended up pumping and supplimenting with formula. He is a big strong smart and healthy boy! I had it so set in my mind that breast was best that I was turturing us not wanting to suppliment but after it was decided I ended up about half and half and he did great! Also I was like ravenous with hunger the day after delivery. Wasn’t thinking the epidural was going to wear off during delivery. A nice surprise was the burst of energy and invincible feeling about a week or so later. I went out shopping all alone while my boyfriend stayed home with the baby for the first time and got some real coffee and essentials for the house. I felt so energized and light and free. Then on my drive home I started crying listening to a song on the radio. Haha hormone shift! Every second worth it would definitely do it again!

  19. by Bekka Besich

    On October 15, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Kelli,

    You are so right! I was surprised by that “unpleasantness” and always tell people it was worse than labor. I didn’t realize I’d cry more when the nurse came to torture me with her pushing than during labor. Let’s just say I wasn’t winning “patient of the year” with my drama and begging not to:)

  20. by amber

    On October 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Funny to see that out of all of your humourous posts – this is one that has got people posting their comments :) I thought my recovery was bad, but after reading these it doesn’t seem so bad at all. Don’t get me wrong there were stitches involved and I was well acquainted with the donut, but it wasn’t as long lasting as some of you have mentioned. I think I should thank the preterm labor for some of that (which had its own downsides) but let me deliver at 37 weeks and stopped my baby at a nice size to push out of 6 lbs 3 ounces. I feel for everyone else who has to wait till full term and just watches the baby’s weight gain at those last few doctor’s appointments. As for the prolapse and wishing there were more meds to help with recovery, and feeling jipped at how many drugs are available for man part problems, not sure if it makes you feel any better, but Viagra was found to help with that on accident, the drug was made for something else but they noticed an “interesting” side effect and then as you can imagine the marketing of the drug was redirected…so here is to hoping for accidental discoveries for us :)

  21. by Allison

    On October 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    You make me laugh and I love your dead honesty. I just want to say that the best way I can describe the aftermath of my Harper is “freak show”. I nearly passed out the first time I looked down and then there was nurse upon nurse who gasped at how swollen I was. Oh and then there was the nearly dying due to hemorhage. Needless to say, I was worried this time around and was prepping my husband (as this was his first baby) for the worst. And then, aside from everything else we had to deal with, the birth and recovery were just so easy. It seemed too easy. Thank goodness! After a week, I wanted to exercise and was even thinking of intimacy..first time around, the thought made me want to puke for a good 6 months!Anyway, I think it gets easier as your body knows what to do…just like everything parent related, right?! So here is to hoping it’s easier this time around for you too and that you have a speedy recovery!!!

  22. by Leah

    On October 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I think the last 2 sentences of this blog post are spot on. My two recoveries were hugely different for one reason: first time around I didn’t get to take my baby home with me, the second time I did. Being that I’m definitely in the “going out to dinner, making cookies, and craving sexy time at 1 week post partum” camp I offer my condolences to the ladies who have a different experience. However, for those suffering from a rough afterbirth experience, just hug that baby a little harder, gaze into those eyes a little longer, and remember, it is worth it.

  23. by Ashley F

    On November 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I had a 4th degree tear with my first and for me the second baby (no tear) was SO much easier… and the third (2nd degree tear) even easier than that! There are other concerns and pains with subsequent babies, but as far as exploding crotches go, at least that part wasn’t as bad :)

  24. by mommmie.com » What Scares Me Most

    On November 24, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    [...] What Scares Me Most About Having Another Baby Is… [...]