the first year

#realtalk: Your Post-Baby Body

“The stitches in my vagina make sitting and walking unbearable, my boobs leak milk, and intense abdominal cramping is a sure sign that my uterus is shrinking back to its regular size. Ha! But it’s all totally worth it.”

This is an excerpt from an email that I sent to my best friend when my daughter was four days old. Emotionally, I was on a high after meeting my daughter; physically, I was a wreck.

Childbirth takes a toll on a mother’s body (it is called labor, after all). During those early weeks with baby, you’ll do the most physically demanding job ever, while dealing with raging hormones; stitches somewhere on your body, depending on what type of delivery you had; leaky boobs (even if you don’t breastfeed, your body will produce milk); and cramps as your uterus shrinks back to its pre-pregnancy size (think period cramps times 1000). Hemmorhoids, urinary tract infections, vaginal bleeding/discharge and matisis are just some of the possible postpartum symptoms you might encounter. Fun, right?!

You will also still look pregnant. Your belly won’t be the full-blown bump it was before delivery (more like how it looked when you were six months pregnant), but you won’t be back to your pre-pregnancy waist, either. Be patient–it takes time for your body to get back into shape. In the beginning, focus on nourishing yourself and your baby and getting rest when you can.

So, do yourself a favor and forget your ever saw those photos of Kate Middleton standing on the steps of the hospital, looking fabulous with her hair freshly styled and a full face of makeup right after giving birth. This is not reality for most women. Unless they’re royalty or celebrities, most new moms are lucky to find time to shower, let alone apply concealer to the bags under their tired eyes.

Image(s): iStock