For some reason, nobody tells you the truth about what to expect during and after delivery. It’s like there’s some unspoken rule not to tell expectant mothers. Well too bad I didn’t get the memo, because i’m about to spill!
You know that feeling of disorientation and confusion that hits when you leave a place you’ve been used to all your life and go to a new place with different and unfamiliar ways of living? It’s called culture shock. Being a first time mum pretty much leaves you with the same feeling. Well at least that’s how I felt.
The first few days after the delivery weren’t so bad because we were still in the hospital and the nurses and doctors came around to check every now and then; the nurses bathed the baby and gave me drugs, so the fact that I was now a mother hadn’t hit me yet. I mean, I knew a baby came out of me, the reduced size of my stomach and the cutie in the cot beside me were testaments to that fact, but mentally, I hadn’t really processed the fact that everything had gone from 0 to 100,000 in a matter of seconds.
I always imagined breastfeeding to be a plug and play kind of scenario, like everything will just happen like clockwork- baby latches on and milk flows in the litres, boy was I wrong. Although I didn’t have a problem getting baby to latch on the first time, in fact she latched like a pro, and I was super grateful for that because some women aren’t so lucky, but what nobody told me was that my nipples were going to hurt like MAD! I wasn’t prepared mehn! I literally had to squeeze husbae’s hand while fighting back tears every single time I tried to breastfeed. Also I didn’t realise the milk was going to take a while to come in, so I was there enduring pain from breastfeeding and milk wasn’t even coming out. The doctor told me to keep letting her suck, that it will get easier and less painful, easy for them to say?! The milk eventually started coming in trickles (I know because I decided to use a breast pump to help) but my nips were mad sore and painful that I burst into tears a few times.
I didn’t even know what this word meant until 2 days after delivery and I definitely had no idea about the intense pain or the heaviness I would feel. Engorgement is when the breasts overfill with milk, causing them to feel hard and very painful. I cried from the pain. I also felt really miserable because nipples hurt, boobs hurt, and I was tired from lack of sleep. Sigh!
Okay this wasn’t really a shock because EVERYBODY kept telling me to prepare for sleepless nights. But even if the whole world tells you something, you can never truly be prepared until you actually experience it. Husbae and I were both red eyed for the first few days in the hospital. I actually felt bad for him because I know how important his sleep is to him, I mean, I don’t even think we slept up to 6 hours in the 72 hours we were at the hospital. Might be an exaggeration but it really was that bad. We took turns rocking the baby whenever she cried, while the other person tried to catch some shut eye.
I really don’t know if this happens to everybody, but it happened to me! The first day we got back from the hospital, I was so overwhelmed that I broke down crying at least 3 times. I think this is where postpartum depression and anxiety sets in for some women, but thank God for me mehn! I was overwhelmed because there was a lot going on. From trying to assemble baby’s bassinet, to unpacking hospital bags, to figuring out the breast pump (in hopes that it would relieve pain from the engorgement), plus I was dealing with seriously sore nipples and fatigue from not getting enough sleep. It was A LOT for me to take in at once! I guess that’s why it’s advised to be as prepared for baby as possible before your due date. I was mostly just preoccupied with waiting for baby to arrive.
The actual baby
Yup, the reality finally hit me when we got back home from the hospital. Not the fact that I was a mother oh, that reality took its sweet time to hit, but that there was actually a baby that I birthed. It was really surreal. Thank goodness my mother was around because I honestly don’t know how I would have survived. There was suddenly all these new things to remember at the same time. I had to remember to feed the baby, remember to change baby’s diaper (trust me, it is very possible to forget when you’re overwhelmed), remember to take my medication. These things certainly don’t come pre-programmed into your brain immediately after delivery, it takes getting used to. It is really important to have someone with you after delivery for your mental well-being, but if you don’t, know that you are stronger than you think and can handle it.
Omo! Cravings that I didn’t experience while pregnant, hit me strongly when I started breastfeeding. I was always pekish and thirsty and needing something to eat. I craved short bread biscuits so much that I could finish the big pack in one sitting, I just had to learn to stop myself, because short bread everyday is really not sustainable. So because your body is losing calories and energy while breastfeeding, it leaves you feeling very hungry and thirsty…I did not know this.
Going one size up
Clothes, shoes, bra size….they all increased, to my utmost dismay! Because this meant I had to buy new ones when it was time to resume work. The issue with the clothes will come in another post where i’ll talk about weight gain/loss after delivery, right now, i’m still trying to come to terms with my “extra” size.
Did you know about any of these post-delivery experiences? If you're a mum, did you experience any?
P.s: If you’re hoping to become a mom some day, please don’t let this post scare you because everybody’s experience is different and unique. Although these experiences were difficult for me, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.