To My Pregnant Sister (Because I Scared the Shit Out of Her)



My sister: I am so happy you are pregnant and going to have a sweet baby soon. But thinking back to when my son was born 4 months ago, I realize that I might have said some things about birth and being a new mom that scared you. So I wanted to clarify them for you now.

When I said labour was hell…

I meant it.

The uncertainty was so scary. The contractions were the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. My water breaking was weird and gross and felt like the biggest period of my life gushing every time I stood up… for 18 hours straight. I screamed and cried and yelled just like the movies, but way longer. I told the nurse I couldn’t do it, because I really didn’t think I could.

But I did do it. And the relief that washed over me when my son was born was immediate. I no longer felt any pain. I was in shock that my body created a human. And it was so great to finally meet the tiny person that I had got to know so well over the past 9 months.

When I said the first few weeks were hard…

I meant it.

I had no idea what I was doing. At all. I was extremely emotional, and those highs and lows were exhausting. I was in pain in my lady bits and going to the bathroom was so scary. But the hardest part of all was the reality setting in that life was never going to be the same. That I was a mum now and nothing was going to change that. I couldn’t go back.

But I eventually realized, I don’t want to go back. Every day I learn something new from this little person. Every day I understand myself as a growing human better and more fully.  Every day things get easier, and harder, and that’s ok because I made it this far and I can keep going. Helping this baby live and grow is such a selfless crazy experience and it makes my heart swell with pride every day at least once.

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When I said breastfeeding was difficult…

It was.

I had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t understand what colostrum or engorgement were. My nipples cracked and bled. I didn’t know if my baby was getting enough nutrients. I struggled being the only person who could comfort him sometimes, and it was hard having all the responsibility of feeding on my shoulders (or breasts to be literal).

But it got better. I asked for help before the pain was unbearable. I trusted my instincts and it was so beautiful to still sustain a life only from my body. The pain went away after about a month. I began feel such pride with every ounce he gained. It felt amazing to be able to instantly comfort him at any moment. Although at times the responsibility can still be overwhelming, it makes me so proud to know that I’m giving all of myself, because that’s what is best for him.

When I said my body was different…

I meant some really gross things.

It felt like I was pooping glass for almost 3 months post pregnancy. I couldn’t pee properly for about 6 weeks – I had no control over the stream and was unable to push it all out. Sex is just finally starting to feel ok at 4 months, and by ok I mean not very horribly painful like the first few times, but it’s still not the same as before. I don’t know if it ever will fell the same. My abs are still separated up the middle of my stomach and my tummy feels soft and loose, even though I lost all my baby weight. My stretch marks are ugly. My butt is flatter and my hips are wider. My breasts are softer and not as perky.

And I realize now I’m supposed to say that it was all worth it. That of course my body is changed, but it created life and what a miracle that is. And while I try hard to feel that way, I don’t. After 9 months of pregnancy and giving birth I was looking forward to finally having my body back, but instead I was in pain daily for about 3 months until everything was finally healed. And I still sometimes cry because of how I look, which makes me feel selfish and bad because I wouldn’t give up my son to get my body back.  So why am I telling you this if its bad? Because I want you to know that if you ever feel the same way, you aren’t alone. You aren’t a bad mom. You are more than your body – but it’s ok to want to be pretty. I’m still working on figuring out how to get through this all, and I promise to share anything that works for me to feel better about my body image and gain self esteem.

To my sister: If you ever need advice or help, I am here for you, going through all these things seven months before you. Use me if you need to! And get ready because I will surely be asking you for advice soon, too.

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  • Thank you for this!!! My little guy is 10 months old and I was, and still am, surrounded by people who pop out a baby and then at one month, when their baby starts to sleep through the night, they look like runway models and are sewing, woodworking, crafting, etc. It took me 6 months before I felt like I was starting to be like me again, albeit a different me. Granted, I had an unexpected caesarian and quite a few postpartum complications because of it but I still felt like everyone else in the world had their baby and got their crap together and I was the only one suffering any postpartum difficulties. Thanks for telling it like it is. My sister is about to have her first and I am not trying to scare her but I am preparing just in case she has a field day like me.

  • Ok yes I agree!! I have a 3 month old precious boy but yesterday me and my husband had a major meltdown I cried he yelled we have views differently about parenting because I breastfeed it’s hard for him he thinks I don’t do anything all day until I broke down yesterday I don’t think he realized how hard it is for me being a stay at home mom and breastfeeding. . yes he works but I do too.

    But yes worst pain ever had to be induced because I have strep b they stripped my membranes and I think that was the worst ever pain!!! My epidural worked too good with the fact they had to turn it off so I could feel when to push so I felt ALOT of pain !! I cried and the antibiotics were stinging my hand and the Iv hurt.. but after I got my child’s head out which seemed like forever I felt no more pain!! I was so elated with this child I had wanted for 8 years!! Breastfeeding was a bitch and it was soo hard to get him to stay latched on and I was exhausted and in pain and it was awful those two nights to start with, the 2nd night he hit 24 hrs old he changed screamed the whole night!! but it was soo good when we got home!!

    So your abs seperating ? How do u know it hurts to lay on my stomach or my side sometimes .. is that why?? Wonderful article! ! I still want another eventually he brings us so much joy unlike anything we’ve known.. the pain was all worth it!!!

  • LOL @ this title! I have a good friend who is pregnant with her first, and when she asked me questions, it was hard not to be bluntly honest. I mean, I didn’t want to "scare the shit out of her," especially since she is young and this is her first pregnancy. That said, now that she is in her 8th month, it’s easy to be bluntly honest, yet always sure to follow-up with, "It’ll be fine." Or more importantly, "that’s totally normal."

  • Fabulous and honest and truly birth is personal for each of us. I can tell you after time not only does your body come back it is better! You really will have an honest belief and love in what it can achieve, heal and endure – its a temple and amazing. What a great way to share your heart and story! Been there done that, three times now and each one was a dif experience and all of the children were worth it and like I said, body does come back! (mind, not so sure, but I like it better today then before because as you said, they teach you so much – its a very very cool thing to have a baby and be in charge of coaching and sharing how they can influence and be a part of this world! <3

  • I wish my pain went away right after my baby was pulled out of me! He was stuck in my pelvis and the epidural stuff they gave me for the c-section didn’t work!! You can hear me moaning in the background as my husband filmed our baby’s first minutes. It was embarrassing and excruciating! The rest of it is true, though! And we have decided that we are going to be an only child household. There’s no way I’m going through all that again.

    Thanks for the post! Sorry to be such a downer

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