I didn’t know that having a baby would be like an alien encounter, but it’s seriously invasion of the body-snatchers over here. Here are the eight things no one tells you about your post-baby body.
1. Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Stretch.
Toward the end of my pregnancy I felt very #blessed (read: smug) about my lack of stretchmarks. Little did I know, they don’t rear their ugly heads until after you deflate.That’s right, mama! Surprise, it’s a… stretch mark (or seven) right across your belly (and thighs, in my case), forming a literal road map to a one-piece swimsuit. Welcome to motherhood. They are battle scars, so wear them proudly.
2. Your Boobs Will Never Be The Same.
Yeah, I know. You hear a lot about the changes in a new mom’s breasts. They get hard and full during breastfeeding. This is the time you’ll receive lots of feedback from your partner. (They will look great, but they’ll feel like s***.) The part no one told me is that when breastfeeding is over, just when you think your familiar breasts will return, the boobs you thought you knew have changed from a 34-C to a 36-Long. Get yourself some new scaffolding – er – bras to hold those puppies up. Or better yet, just keep wearing those maternity bras for the next year. No judgment.
3. Big Foot Is Real.
Remember when you were pregnant and looking longingly at your shoes, making plans to wear all of them again once the swelling subsided? Well, put those plans on hold, sweetie, just for a little while. I tried on my favorite pair of boots for a date night one month after giving birth, and the hormones combined with my still-swollen tootsies made for a tear-filled hour before going out. I wanted to toss them completely, but luckily cooler heads prevailed. It’s six months down the line, and they fit! (By “fit,” I mean they pinch my feet and are only mildly uncomfortable.) Other shoes didn’t fair as well. You will have to say goodbye to some of your shoes forever. Start saying your farewells now.
4. Hot. Hot. Hot.
You may think that “running hot” will end once the baby arrives. It doesn’t. I still complain about the heat (much to my husband’s chagrin) a solid 10 to 15 degrees before anyone in their right mind would. It’s hot out here for a mom. Plus, babies are like little furnaces, so if you’re holding one (which you probably are), you’re going to be sweating. Dress appropriately.
5. You’ll Leak. From Everywhere.
We all know about the pitfalls of surprise lactation. Boobs can spring a leak a la Will & Grace when you’re, oh, I don’t know, waiting in line at the post office and the guy in front of you simply must have special edition stamps, and all of the sudden you’re starring in a wet t-shirt contest that you didn’t sign up for. (Happened to a friend.) But what we didn’t know was that there seems to be a leak a little further south. Yeah, your va-jay-jay. Sexy, right? Your muscles have been through a lot, so give them and yourself a break. Panty-liners are your friends. Don’t fight it.
6. Hips Don’t Lie.
Looking in the mirror and not sure where those hips came from? Relax, Shakira. They’re from carrying that bundle of joy. It’s best to embrace them because they aren’t going anywhere. Pregnancy can change your body type forever. Styles that were flattering before might not be anymore. Accept it. Look at it as a chance to take fashion risks.
7. Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.
You’ve probably been receiving compliments on your glowing skin and shiny hair for months. It’s nice, right? Enjoy it, because it’s going to come to a screeching halt. Taking prenatal or postnatal vitamins can prolong these happy pregnancy side effects, so you are likely to continue feeling like a Shampoo/Face Wash commercial if you’re breastfeeding. However, the moment you stop, be ready to feel like Christine Taylor’s character in The Craft. (Spoiler Alert: Her hair falls out.) Just know that while you are in the shower, watching enough hair fall out to make a comfortable pillow, no one else can tell the difference.
8. You. Are. Beautiful.
It’s a bit cliche to say you should love your body because it’s amazing, but here’s the thing: It’s cliche for a reason, and that’s because it’s true. You may look back on the youthful ease and beauty of your “old body,” but that doesn’t take away from the magnificent pride and strength you will feel in your new one.