After the Push.
Recovering from pushing a human being out of your body is stinking hard work.
I venture to say the recovery is worse than the delivery. But they don't tell you that in child birth class. After that baby comes out, you're on your own.
So let me let you in on what it's like after you leave the hospital, or the birthing center, or after your midwife goes home.
THE CRAMPS. Holy mother of Ghandi's uncle, they hurt SOOO bad. I mean. They are 100% like contractions, except there isn't a baby coming anymore. Just your empty uterus shrinking back down to its normal size while all your organs shift back into place. I spent 75% of my time in the hospital in the shower with the hot water running over my stomach because I was in so much pain. At home, it was even worse. And the more you nurse, the more it hurts. Sure, that belly goes away pretty fast, but is it worth it? I'd take the belly over the cramps any day. If you are due to give birth soon, I highly suggest buying an herbal microwave wrap that you can rest on your stomach. You'll need it. Trust me.
STRETCH MARKS. I didn't get a single stretch mark when I was pregnant with Jonah. And up until I had Emery, I thought I STILL didn't get any stretch marks. But then the belly disappeared and one day I looked in the mirror and I was like, "Oh crap! There's a TON of stretch marks down there!" I had no idea, cause I couldn't see the bottom of my belly. But they're there, right below my belly button. But you know.... I kind of love them. My little battle wounds.
BACK FAT. Yea. I have back fat now. That skin that was all stretched and displaced when I was carrying a human....it's gone. There's just flab.
ENGORGEMENT. This is when you wake up one morning and your boobs are the size of basketballs and you can't put your arms down and you can't lay on either side and you want to cry every time the baby wants to eat. And your husband can't stop staring and it's weird because they're full of MILK and it's excruciatingly painful and how can you possibly find that attractive right now and oh my GOSH can somebody please make the two year old stop jumping on me!?!
THE PERI BOTTLE. If you tear or have an episiotomy and need to get stitches, you will be given a little plastic bottle that you have to fill up with water every time you need to pee or poo. Why? BECAUSE YOU CAN'T WIPE. Do I need to say more on this subject? I think not.
STOOL SOFTENERS. Because you will be constipated.
GIANT UNCOMFORTABLE PADS. Because you will bleed. For a long time.
THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER. Hormones be trippin after having a baby. Seriously, it's the weirdest thing about the whole childbirth process. About an hour after I had Emery, I just started shivering. I couldn't stop. I wrapped up in a couple blankets, but it didn't help. My temperature was normal, it was just the massive shift in hormones that was making my body freak out. Zach climbed in bed with me and held me until I stopped shivering. Which was almost instant once he was next to me. But then the crazy emotions started. That night and the next day, I was a giddy, excited ball of happiness (literally just stared at the wall in front of me and smiled like a dummy), but now things are different. I'm still adjusting to all the hormonal changes and my placenta pills are helping to balance me out. But some days, Jonah will be like, devil incarnate and Emery will be eating every 15 minutes and my nipples will be sore and I'll just all of a sudden either want to hit something, throw something, or crawl in the corner and just cry myself into oblivion. Then it will all change and I'll be calm and get my second wind and be totally fine. I'm actually pretty balanced in comparison to other postpartum mamas. I didn't get "the baby blues" with Jonah at all. And I haven't experienced them this time either. But things are a little crazy because Zach works full time (and then some) and Jonah's going through some two year old bull crap and I'm still trying to figure out how to be a stay at home mom to two kids. But given the circumstances, I think I'm doing pretty well and I haven't completely lost my mind yet.
And there you are, ladies. (And gentlemen, if you made it this far, but I have a feeling most of you dropped out at "back fat".) The mystery of post birth has been revealed. It 100% totally sucks boody. You don't get a reward at the end of it. No trophies. No medals. You just deal with it and hopefully you have a husband/boyfriend/mother/helpmate who will baby you and care for you until you get back on your feet. Which will be roughly 2 weeks after baby is in your arms.
Also, don't get on the scale and don't go shopping. Don't do it. Bad idea. You will regret. Stop.