Life After Birth: The First Time You Look In The Mirror
Two of my closest friends had babies 6 and 2 months before I had my first. They told me all about their experiences, and I mean ALLLL about them. One thing they both said to me with both humor and terror in their eyes was something to the effect of, "just wait until the first time they take you to the bathroom after the baby comes. That is when things get real." One of them then said, "whatever you do, don't look in the mirror!" Boy was I grateful for the warning.Let's just get something out of the way. Bringing a child into the world has some, well, very very messy moments. We can all accept and be mature about that in adulthood right?! There seems to be a lot more sharing and educating about what to expect after a baby these days than there was even just a handful of years ago. Moms have taken it upon themselves to educate each other through sharing their stories, so that other moms can feel more empowered and ready to take on the unknown road of bringing a baby into the world. I absolutely LOVE that! In my opinion if you have heard about the situations ahead of you, even though it doesn't make them easier, you are able to cope a bit better. For that purpose I am here to share with you!
The Bathroom Parade
Regardless of if you had gave birth un-medicated or not, you will have one (or even a few) nurses helping you into the bathroom for the first time after you push your tiny human out of you.* When my nurse asked me if I was ready to head to the bathroom, thanks to my friends warning, I responded "ahh yes, I have heard about the bathroom parade." She laughed and we were able to joke a bit about the fact that she was going to help me, a grown woman, waddle into the bathroom with a giant bed pad acting as a diaper between my legs. I mean, if you can't joke about that then it could get really awkward really fast! (*I have not had a c-section so this might be slightly different in that situation.)
Once into the bathroom I had one nurse holding my giant bed pad diaper, and one nurse holding my hospital gown up so it didn't end up in the toilet. From there I was taught to "spray this here," and "put these medicated pads there," and "here are your mesh underwear," ohhhh and don't forget the giant pad. MUCH smaller of course than the bed pad I was previously sporting, but still giant nonetheless. One of my nurses even went above and beyond and brought me a medical glove full of ice, to be used as an ice pack for my baby birthing parts. I still giggle about that to this day whenever I think about it!
The Dreaded Look in the Mirror
Once I was instructed on the proper way to use the bathroom and clean myself, I was helped back to bed. By the end of that day all I wanted to do was take a shower, so that is exactly what I did! Everything in my abdominal area felt droopy and ultra squishy, but I hadn't actually seen it yet. Once I was in the bathroom ready to drop the hospital gown I knew it was inevitable. My exact first thought was "WHOAAA I definitely looked a lot better 41 weeks pregnant than I do right now!" In that moment it was insanely hard to even find any humor in what I was seeing. That big ole belly that had been holding my 7 lb baby just nine hours before wasn't gone; no, it was all still there but now it was just sagging like I had never seen skin sag before. I hadn't slept well in three days, my face was covered in pregnancy zits, and the baby that made it all worth it wasn't even in the room with me to stare at.
In that moment I felt crushed. I didn't want my husband to see me like that, because I didn't even want to see myself like that. I didn't even stop to think about the fact that EVERY MOM HAS TO SEE THIS! Luckily one of my friends, that had warned me about not looking in the mirror, showed up just hours later to visit. Within seconds of her entering the room I blurted out, "did you feel so gross and ugly when you looked at yourself in the mirror for the first time?" She of course said YES, and then laughed and told me that is exactly why she told me to not look for a few days. A little while later she warned me about the fact that on the car ride home from the hospital, I would feel myself jiggle like Santa every time we went over a bump. TOTALLY TRUE!