One of the oft-proclaimed benefits of natural childbirth is that you recover faster. This may very well be true. It’s definitely true of vaginal birth as opposed to c-section. But do you really recover faster and easier after a drug-free birth than one with an epidural? Or does it just seem easier because after giving birth naturally, everything is easy?
I don’t know. What I do know is that even after a perfect, intervention-free, drugless, peaceful, hippy-ish waterbirth complete with chanting music and scented candles, you still have some serious recovery ahead of you. Giving birth is hard work no matter how you do it. And unfortunately, there are quite a few things about your postpartum body that no one tells you.
So I’m gonna tell you.
Some or none of these postpartum problems may or may not have happened to me. I may have learned about some or all of them from some very honest friends. Do not ask me which, if any, of them happened or are happening to me. If you don’t know already, then I’m never telling you.
But you need to know the worst. It’s the only way to prepare. So here it is: the worst things no one will tell you about your postpartum body.
1. You may have a prolapsed organ. Which sounds scary enough. But what it means is that you will finally get the courage up to touch (not look!) down there, and you will discover something ballooning out of your vagina like, well, a water balloon. You will think there’s another kid coming out. One with a vey soft skull. You call your midwife in a panic, and she says it’s a prolapsed bladder, and you should do Kegels. Which seems like a huge underreaction to a water balloon coming out of your privates. I’m just sayin’.
And then you will never forget to do Kegels again. Never.
2. Speaking of looking down there, don’t do it. Because your stuff may look awful. Like raw meat. And it will probably never look quite the same again. It’s okay; you’re allowed to have battle scars.
You don’t have to look at them.
Although, uh, you may have to listen to them. Because…
3. You may queef. At very inopportune times. Like during sex. If you don’t know what queefing is, don’t look it up. Really. I warned you. You don’t want to know.
Suffice it to say that you will finally have gotten the courage up to have sex postpartum, and then you will be very, very embarrassed. And then you will either laugh or cry. I suggest laughing, but once you get started, you may never be able to have sex with a straight face again.
4. And speaking of sex, it will be different. It might be better. Being more stretched out can be a good thing, especially if your partner is, you know, endowed. On the other hand, it might be awful at first. And it’s possible for sex to make you tear again if you tore during birth and you aren’t careful. So be careful. Use lots of coconut oil. Don’t do anything that hurts. That’s kind of a good rule for sex in general, right?
5. You may pee your pants. Maybe even for a long time. Supposedly Kegels help with that. Or then again maybe they don’t. Maybe you should do squats instead. I suggest doing both squats and Kegels at once. That way you’ll have your bases covered.
And try to stop laughing at your queefing. Laughing does not help.
Then again, laughing may help. Maybe not with your physical recovery. But with your mental state. Because all of these — and many other even more terrible things — are a totally normal part of postpartum recovery. Eventually, they will (mostly) go away. You will never get your pre-baby body back. But you will get to add a lot of shocking and embarrassing experiences to your list of things you’ve overcome. Oh, yeah, and you have a baby to show for it, too.
And remember: you just gave birth. Compared to that, all this stuff is easy.