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Nobody told me about these side effects of postpartum recovery

Hi!  I'm Gabrielle, a 20 something North Dakotan mom with a passion for writing and health.  I fought my self proclaimed "bad genetics" and lost over 100 lbs after being obese my entire adult life!  I now share my passion with others and...

I wish I'd known what to expect about recovering from giving birth

I loved being pregnant. I truly did. I’m not here to tell you some amazing story of how I never experienced a rough day while pregnant, because that wouldn’t be true. I suffered from awful heartburn every day, got horrible headaches throughout the entire first trimester, and I cried from pain anytime I walked the entire last month. Once my due date came and passed, I was convinced I was doomed to stay pregnant and suffer an awful fate for the rest of my life. Still, I loved being pregnant, feeling my baby move inside of me, and dreaming of what life would be like afterwards.

Once I went in labor, my life changed. My seemingly “easy” pregnancy seemed like a cruel joke that made me think I lucked out and had it better than everyone else. Then, I had my son. Between the faulty epidural, fever inducing infection, and postpartum hemorrhaging, saying it was rough would be an understatement. It all seemed to go downhill from there.

More: Giving birth was traumatic enough — I don't ever want to have more kids

I never really worried about how I would heal postpartum. I was concerned with the labor, most of all, that I figured once he was out it would all somehow go right back to normal. That would be in a perfect world, but it was not the case for me. Many things happened to me afterwards that I never saw coming. I didn’t know how hard it would be to get my body back to normal, and it was a pretty hard adjustment. Here are a few of the real, raw things that happened to me that I was blindsided by.

Epidural side-effects

There are plenty of rock-star moms who do natural child birth, but that’s not me. I knew from the moment I got pregnant that I would be getting an epidural. I’m a little baby, and I hate pain. Even though it took well over an hour to get the epidural in my back, and it fell out for a while halfway through my labor, it was still a lifesaver. I’m so thankful that I was able to relax for a while. After it was all over however, the place where the epidural was put caused a lot of pain. My back hurt for a few months afterwards, and it still gets pains now and then. Not bad enough to shun epidurals from here on out, but enough to bother me.

More: My baby-friendly hospital made my birth miserable

Hair loss

I was well aware that most moms lose some hair after having a baby, because of hormonal changes and whatnot. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of hair loss. It is different for everyone, of course, but mine got so bad that I grew concerned. I got small bald spots along my hairline, and I was worried that it would never grow back. Luckily it did, but it doesn’t for everyone. Some women even have to get hair transplants after, because it doesn’t all come back.

Healing

Some women tear, and some women get cut. I don’t have any experience with C-section incisions, but I can imagine that is much, much worse. While birthing my 9 lb 3 oz son, I got a second degree tear that turned my world upside down. Healing from that took a very long time, and it hurt very badly for a while. I thought I would be in pain forever, but luckily it eventually went away.

Headaches

I have always been prone to headaches. I got one every single day when I was first pregnant, and I had them for months afterwards. From reading I am led to believe that it’s because of our wonderful hormones going back to normal, like every other issue we have. Because of that, nothing I did would ease my headaches. Eventually they got less and less frequent, and now they are few and far between.

More: I actually broke a bone while giving birth

I loved being pregnant, and would do it again in a heartbeat, but it’s the aftermath that scares me. The “fourth” trimester was a nightmare, and was easily worse than the entire pregnancy altogether. Who would have thought that healing after creating another human would be so hard? I’m not trying to scare you out of having a child, because the end result is well worth it, I’m just being realistic. Women are pretty spectacular, and we can handle anything that is thrown at us.

Originally published on BlogHer.

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