Pregnancy heralds the inaugural life chapter called “paying way more attention to someone else’s body than your own.” That double pink line is like a starting pistol to the next months of scouring books, articles and apps for lessons on what is happening to the body rapidly growing inside of you: how it is developing, feeling and moving; what best to feed it; and how best to ensure it becomes a MENSA member/president/astronaut/cancer-cure discoverer.
I was fairly prepared for understanding how my baby was developing and how, in turn, my own body would be changing along with him in the process, but what I was not prepared for was the litany of truly bizarre, silly and downright uncomfortable bodily changes that occur immediately postpartum.
“During the postpartum time, some of the things that I see make a big difference in physical recovery begin with expectations and prenatal planning, such as giving oneself adequate time for rest/recovery and not trying to bounce back too quickly post-birth, excellent nutrition tailored to postpartum wellness and bodywork/mother-roasting treatments,” doula Becca Gordon, who has attended over 200 births and counseled 100 families with postpartum support, tells SheKnows.
Here is what pop culture ensures we all dread as a result of childbirth: weight gain impervious to diet and exercise, stretch marks evocative of a tiger’s coat and a besieged vagina only Elastigirl would recognize.
The following is a list of what they don’t tell you might happen — every last one of these has either happened to me or to various women I know.