Five Things That Will Happen After You’ve Given Birth

My Birth Story: Elective C-Section

Five things that will (ok, might) happen after you’ve given birth. Now look, I’ve had two c-sections and so I’m no expert on things that happen to the female form after a vaginal birth, but I’ve read (and heard) enough stories to know that the below occur on an almost universal basis, no matter how the baby emerges. I suppose, when you think about it, that most people will be sore somewhere. Here are a few things that might (will probably/almost definitely) happen post-birth.

  • You will realise that you have even less wardrobe options than you did when you were 9 months pregnant. This is because a) you have to wear a sanitary pad the size of a single mattress and massive pants to contain it and b) you will, for ages, have a gut the size of a 5/6 month-ish pregnancy, but instead of it being all taut and rounded, it will be flabby like a punctured bagpipe. Try making that look good! All of the stripey stuff that was so cute when you were pregnant now seems like the worst ever practical joke.
  • Things will continuously fall out of your vagina, including weird pale blood (lochia) and mucus-y stringy stuff and small clots. Even if you’ve had a c-section. With my first baby I bled heavily for weeks – this time it has been very light, but stop-starting when I least expect it. It’s such a joy!
  • You will cough/sneeze/do a poo and feel as though all of your intestines and bladder and womb are about to fall out of your body. Through whichever exit your baby took. Now I don’t know what would be worse: this feeling happening in your vagina, or this feeling happening at the front of your stomach: either way it’s not pleasant. I can only offer some advice for c-section recoverers, and that’s to press a pillow to your scar before coughing/sneezing/pooing. Granted, taking a cushion in with you when you drop the kids off at the pool isn’t the most enticing idea, but: needs must, etc etc.
  • Your face will look like a peeled, misshapen potato. Don’t worry – all new mums have a face like a raw potato. Or a lump of unbaked dough with two currants stuck in for eyes. If you try to put makeup on, it won’t work. It’ll be like trying to put makeup on a waxwork figure – your skin will reject all types of foundation and your eyelashes will have retreated into the puffy depths of your red and swollen lids. Don’t even attempt to use bronzer or blush on foundation-less skin, either, as a “quick emergency fix”: for some reason it clings to post-partum skin most unbecomingly. It’s probably the sweat and tears keeping everything moist.
  •  People will tell you to “let the air” get to your scars, stitches and (potentially) bleeding nipples. Mainly health visitors and midwives will say this, but also people on Google. These people must live in completely wipe-clean houses, or have somehow escaped the indignity of post-partum breast-and-vag leakages. “Lie on the bed naked after a shower,” they say, “and it’ll let the air get to your wound”. In the meantime you’ll have dispensed about three litres of lochia into your Hypnos mattress and shot breast milk at the ceiling. Idiots.

I’m sure I can think of more things but that’s enough horror for now. I am exaggerating all of this, of course, so don’t be scared if you’ve got it all to come…

See also: My Biggest Post-Partum Body Shocks!

*© 2017 The Uphill®: *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. All opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. "The Uphill" and "Ruth Crilly" are registered trademarks.

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20 Comments

  1. Sarah
    March 14, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    OMFG. I’m 40 weeks pregnant and a ticking time bomb. I want to say thank you, because I know on a cerebral level I NEED to know all this. But. OMFG. WHAT HAVE I DONE.

    • March 14, 2017 / 10:34 pm

      Ha!!! You’ll be fine. How exciting! The cute baby makes everything worthwhile. Unless it’s crying. 🙂

  2. Sarah
    March 14, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    Also, I shared this with my husband, just to spread the horror show. He’s sinking it in now.

  3. Heather M.
    March 15, 2017 / 12:06 am

    Oh, man. I’m thinking about conceiving and am getting pretty freaked out by your story and another friend who had a C-section. Eeeeep. :-O

    • March 16, 2017 / 10:25 pm

      Don’t, it’s all fine! It sounds worse when you write it down… Moaning is a national sport! : )

  4. Helen
    March 15, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    This is absolutely spot-on! Had my first baby via emergency c-section 2 weeks ago (due to him being a ‘fair sized baby’ – as charmingly described by consultant!) and all of this is so true – leakages from everywhere at all times, and there’s no hope if you sneeze or cough as exiting the shower.
    Also midwives asking if your scar’s doing ok – well yes, I assume so but it’ll be a while before I can actually see it under the delightful new belly over-hang without an elaborate mirror set-up or dodgy selfie.
    X

  5. Ncf21
    March 16, 2017 / 2:47 pm

    I didn’t have a C-section and though I got back to “normal” in terms of tummy etc fairly fast I still felt as if I’d been run over by a small bus for several weeks. Plus knackered face, constant uniform of shapeless checked shirts with milk puke on, gaping bra… When it wasn’t me squirting milk copiously it was the little one squirting it back barely ingested (and once, at 3am while I was changing her nappy post-feed, spraying runny poo all over the bathroom and my favourite nightie, which I had to bin instantly as couldn’t even face trying to get THAT out in a sleepless daze).
    Also visiting midwives giving radically different info: one looked at what was going on downstairs and said “Ooh dear what a mess!” while another said I was doing fine. I don’t remember it fondly!

  6. Ellie
    March 16, 2017 / 4:43 pm

    Love this.

    Especially number 5. Didn’t fancy having my newly mutilated private area on display. My husband may have packed a bag and left.

  7. Elly
    March 17, 2017 / 10:13 am

    Hi Ruth,
    I gave birth a week after you and have absolutely loved following your posts! It was so comforting to read that someone else was going through the exact same weird body changes that I was experiencing. This post is just as spot on as the other ones. My recovery has been a lot smoother than I expected but I was not prepared for how difficult and painful breastfeeding would be. I assume that because it’s your second baby your body just knew what to do. It’s been over a month now and mine still hasn’t gotten the memo that baby needs more milk! I hope it works out and I’m able to breastfeed exclusively 🙂

    Good luck with your continuing recovery! And thank you for keeping us updated and entertained with your posts!

    P.s. Cannot believe how flattering stripes were when I looked like a hippo and now they’re the absolute enemy! 🙁

  8. Anja
    March 19, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    This is hilarious! Made me laugh out loud and fortunately didn’t wake the 14-month-old in the next room! Hilarious but true!!!

  9. Sophie
    March 20, 2017 / 12:01 am

    Oh Ruth, the memories you bring back. I would add one other joy to your list: the huge uterine contractions that continue long after birth. I was so worried about this the night after Simon’s birth that I asked the nurse if perhaps there was another baby we’d all missed, waiting to come out. That and the enormous stomach I was left with led to this worry. The embarrassment .

  10. Lindsey
    March 20, 2017 / 11:43 pm

    Brilliant! I said EXACTLY the same thing when my doctor said to let air get to my scar which had an opening towards the end: “How exactly am I supposed to do that when I won’t stop bleeding?!”
    I actually had a much quicker and easier recovery after my first c-section; I think running round after a three-year-old and all that entails (lifting him onto the loo, crawling into dens, sat on the floor building train tracks, etc) did me in this time round. I was in pain right up until the 6-week check and still get twinges along my scar four-months later.
    As for the tummy…my son laughed at me the other day and said “Mummy, you’ve got wrinkles on your tummy!”. Only he can get away with saying that!

  11. Jenny
    March 23, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    Hi, just wondering, do you have any other tips for recovery for the c section, I’m due for one soon, my first and want to be as prepared as possible, people have said ice packs, support belt thing.. or support kicnkers.. not that I have seen these anywhere.. did these work for you?

    Thanks

    • March 23, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      I’ve been testing them, I’m not convinced. Not for immediately afterwards, you’re too tender and (TMI) messy “down below” to be faffing with belts! I’m JUST about to do a recovery essentials post: please hold caller! (In the words of Caroline Hirons.)

      • Jenny
        March 23, 2017 / 5:24 pm

        Ha ha fab! Thanks

  12. Nadene
    March 23, 2017 / 8:25 pm

    This made me howl with laughter. My youngest (and last) is 3 and a half, so while this was a while ago for me I can remember every sensation. The doughy face, the leaky bits, the wobbly belly that I had been lovingly stroking just days before. I also remember the stiffness in all of my limbs (just me?). The massive piles (of what I hear you cry!) – that some poor stranger has the misfortune to have to check out. Thank god it’s only temporary!!

    • March 23, 2017 / 11:55 pm

      Oh my God the piles. I can’t even go there.

  13. Therese
    March 27, 2017 / 1:22 pm

    This made me laugh so hard I almost woke the napping toddler! THIS IS ALL TRUE. And all absolutely hilarious thinking back to it (but not at all in the moment)

  14. Hannah
    April 7, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    Laughing to myself at these points!! I’ve got it all to come (currently 32+3) sat at work waiting for maternity leave to start…five days and counting.

    I’ve loved reading your pregnancy diaries for both babies and your posts and updates inbetween. Thanks for being so honest Ruth!!!

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