Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My take on a Parents Magazine article

So, while catching up on  my news, on Twitter (because isn’t that how we all keep up with current news these days), I came across an article that is in Parents Magazine.

11 Ways Your Body Changes After Pregnancy

My first thought-ONLY ELEVEN ways the body changes?

I would like to discuss all eleven of these but I have sensitive readers who might be embarrassed by the material discussed (my mother and those younger ladies who have not experienced the joy of being pregnant) (you’ll notice I didn’t include “men”.  That’s because I don’t know many men who get embarrassed by bodily functions.  And if I do have any men that read my blog, chances are they are married and chances are they have kids.  They are VERY aware of the changes that happens to a body…heck, they probably have a list of 20 they can say right off the top of their head.)  Just so you know though, I will be discussing breasts.

You’ve been warned.

My comments will be in italics and in red.

Hair Loss

A few weeks after delivery, you may start losing large amounts of hair. Like you think you are going bald, that amount of hair.  I literally pull out clumps of hair when I am in the shower.  After I had Rives, I had 5 inches of hair cut off because I was tired of seeing the blonde/brown/grey hair everywhere. The average person loses 100 hairs a day, but during pregnancy you were losing far less than that due to those raging hormones.  Yes, raging hormones is probably an accurate description of pregnancy. Now that the pregnancy is over, your body will have to compensate and lose extra hair for the first six months after delivery. But don't worry -- your hair will soon return to its normal growth cycle.  What the article failed to mention was that, even though your hair will “return to its normal growth cycle”, it will NEVER be the same.  Mine is now darker, wavier (not a good kind of wavy either, kind of a “she forgot to fix her hair for two days” wavy), more prone to grey hair (I blame the kids, not the pregnancies) and in a ponytail more times than I care to mention. And I should mention that because of the “raging hormones” you will now, most likely, grow hair in places that used to be bald.

Skin Discoloration

Some women develop what's called the "mask of pregnancy." That tan-colored area around your eyes will start to fade.  I think this is a typo.  What the author meant to say was “That tan-colored area around your eyes will start to darken right around the time the baby is born, from lack of sleep.”  Over the next 6 weeks the darkness will settle in causing an increase in the amount of concealer that you will buy at the store.  By the time the baby reaches one-year of age, the dark circles might fade back to a tan-colored shade, which will remain on your face for the next 18 years.  Because you are SO TIRED…all the time, SO TIRED.  Women who suffered from severe acne during pregnancy should see their skin start to clear up.  The opposite is true for me.  My skin is AMAZING during pregnancy…enviable really.  And then I have a baby and turn into a teenager again. However, other women will begin to experience a red rash that around their mouth and chin or suffer from extremely dry skin. Both of these conditions should be gone within weeks.

And here we go…

Breast Changes

Your breasts will probably become flushed, swollen, sore, and engorged with milk for a day or two after the birthDid a man write this article?  This sentence makes it sound like your breasts will be swollen, sore and engorged for ONLY a day or two after the birth. Once this swelling goes down, in about three to four days (oh, here it is and again, did a man write this article?  FALSE.  Swelling does not go down in three to four days.) (or until you stop breastfeeding), your breasts will probably begin to sag as a result of the stretched skin.  This should read “your breasts will DEFINITELY begin to sag”.  I am sure, if you are a parent of one child, you might have never had to deal with massive saginess (is that a word?).  However, if your body has gone through multiple beatings pregnancies, you are VERY familiar with saginess.  I have nursed all three of my babies and I have LOVED it (well, not the first week, the first toe curling week).  I am still nursing Rives and will for the next 4-5 months.  I am NOT looking forward to seeing the damage that is done to my body when I wean him.  I am going to have to invest in a serious bra.  Y’all, my boobs may or may not reach to my belly button by the time I am done feeding Rives.  I know this because, the summer before my senior year of college, I spent the summer in Africa.  It was a great experience.  I learned so much from that trip!  One of the very first things I learned in Africa was that nursing multiple babies can have a VERY adverse reaction to breast tissue.  We arrived in Africa on a Saturday and headed to a church service the very next morning.  I will never ever ever ever ever forget watching an African mom nurse her young child at that church service.  Picture a baseball in a tube sock.  Oh, I wish I was kidding.  My innocent little eyes could barely take in the sight.  And those African women, well, they didn’t have “udder covers” or “hooter hiders” to use.  Oh no, those babies were experts at getting what they wanted and would reach right into their mamas dresses and pull out what they were looking for.  I have never seen so many college-aged boys jerk their eyes heavenwards and start blushing.  What those college-aged boys probably didn’t realize at the time is that they were getting a glimpse of their future…get ready boys, if your wife has multiple kiddos and nourishes them with her body, this is what she will look like-an African woman at a Sunday morning church service. You may also experience milk leakage for several weeks, even if you don't breastfeed. Once again, the time frame is way off.  If you breastfeed, you will probably wear nursing pads for at least 3 months to keep your shirt for becoming soaked each time you feed your precious offspring.  It’s delightful.  And when you finally do wean your piranha baby, you can expect it to take several months for the milk to completely dry up.  I have heard some women say that it took at least a year, AFTER WEANING, for them to not have “leakage”.  Good news, if you run out of food at your house and all of the grocery stores shut down in your state, you will be able to continue feeding your child for at least a year after you quit.

Stomach Changes

Just after giving birth, your uterus is still hard and round (weighing about 2 1/2 pounds) and can be felt just by touching your naval.  It will also contract and make you feel like they left a baby inside of you when you nurse your newborn for the first few days.  I’m not kidding about this one either.  While I was in the hospital with Rives I would nurse him and have to do “labor breathing” during his feedings.  “They” say that by nursing your baby it helps your uterus to contract and get smaller quicker.  What “they” don’t say is that an epidural would be extremely helpful during this process.  If you are a parent of one child and are eagerly anticipating the arrival of your second child, good news…my nurse told me that the contracting uterus is more severe with each birth during nursing.  In about six weeks, it will weigh only 2 ounces and will no longer be felt by pressing on your abdomen.  Then why in the heck was I still wearing maternity clothes when my baby was EIGHT weeks old? That mysterious brown line that you may have had down the center of your lower abdomen during pregnancy will disappear.  False, still have it. But, unfortunately, those stretch marks you developed aren't going anywhere in the near future. Stretch marks tend to be bright red during and shortly after pregnancy, but they will eventually become more of a silver color and begin to blend in with your skin.  I’m going to go ahead a do a little bragging here.  My body has experienced so much with my three pregnancies.  I am sure I will never be back to my original weight (and I have made peace with that), I have saggy skin where I didn’t think saggy skin was possible, tucking in shirts are probably a thing of the past, my feet are bigger for goodness sake!  But I don’t have stretch marks!!!!!!!  I should embroider myself a shirt that says that.  I didn’t do anything during my pregnancies to prevent them either.  I think my skin is just able to accommodate a large amount of weight.  Hmmmmm, that doesn’t sound like a good thing now that I hear it out loud.  Also, even the fittest moms will experience some flabbiness in the midsection after giving birth. Sit-ups, certain yoga poses, and other abdominal exercises can get your tummy as flat as it once was. Or a tummy tuck.

Swollen legs and varicose veins

The swelling and puffiness in your legs that you may have experienced during pregnancy will lessen very quickly after you give birth. If you are thinking 30 minutes is “very quickly” then I am sorry to disappoint you.  It is more like one and a half WEEKS (depending on how long your labor is and how much fluid they pumped into your system during the process).  I left the hospital, after I had Nora, more swollen and puffy than I had been during the 39 weeks I was pregnant with her.  Shoes barely fit on my feet.  Now, I peed like a race horse most of the time because I was so full of fluid but my face still looked like a beach ball in most post partum pictures. However, some women begin experiencing twitchiness in their legs postpartum. If this happens to you, walking can provide some relief.  I’ve heard that walking also helps to get rid of the 40 pounds that are gained during pregnancy.  Wait, what?  Not everyone gains 40 pounds?  Oh. Spider veins and varicose veins will probably improve with postpartum weight loss, but they will never go away completely. True statement.  Your legs will be purple, in spots, for the rest of your life.  Your new battle scars.


You may start experiencing excessive sweating at night after giving birth. Or from the 2nd week of pregnancy, which is when I started getting “excessively hot” and sweating.  Those were some good times at our house…and good for the electric bill.  This is because your body needs to get rid of all the extra fluids it accumulated during your pregnancy. See above, ‘peed like a race horse’I should mention that I have always enjoyed the house a touch cooler than most people prefer their homes.  I will not apologize for that.  If you come over, bring a sweater….I am still getting “rid of extra fluids accumulated during pregnancy.”

Energy Levels

Some new mothers say that they feel more energetic than they ever did before pregnancy. And they are liars. And probably 18.  Or, they have a gun held to their head and are being threatened with lifelong torture…that torture is life with a newborn.  In fact, a woman's aerobic capacity can increase up to 20 percent in the first six weeks postpartum. I do not understand this AT ALL.  As a recipient THREE c-sections I was under strict orders to do nothing for 6 weeks.  I am a girl who follows rules.  And when I had my third c-section, it literally felt like my organs were going to slide out of my incision if I lay on my side.  I am not kidding about that at all.  In my case the statement should read “a woman’s aerobic capacity can increase up to 2 percent in the first six months postpartum”…that’s more my speed. Other women say that the sheer exhaustion of childbirth, caring for a newborn, and excess body weight makes them feel sluggish and moody.  Yes, Amen.  Those are real women, those “other women”.  They must have two or more kids and are in their late 20’s or early 30’s.  These are the ones I trust.

The last section is completely my own


I know you have all heard it before, but before kids, you have the heart like the Grinch, before Christmas.  And after you have kids, your heart grows three sizes (just like the Grinch, after Christmas)…I’m almost positive that is one of the reasons why a new moms boobs get so big, their heart has grown so much.  Every time I saw one of my kids, fresh from delivery, I could not believe how intense the feeling was…hearing the cry for the first time and then seeing their puffed up, crying little face-well, it’s amazing!  But your heart never stops growing (much like my rear end).  Each new thing that your baby does makes you love them all over again.  I want to pick Rives up and eat him (and moms understand that sentence).  I love Nora and Elyn so much and my heart literally hurts when I think that one day, they will not need me or want to tell me something first.  Ugh.  Is all the damage to my body worth it?  Yes.  Okay, mostly worth it.  Ha ha-kidding, totally worth it.  The damage has made me a better person and grown my heart into the heart of a mom.

Well done, Parents magazine, on your article…even if you left a few key points out.  I was happy to add them in…for a little bit of a more realistic perspective of motherhood.


Verna said...

Amen, sister. They left our several key points. Good job filling them in.
My favorite line... And when you finally do wean your piranha baby

I couldn't put your line through piranha, but it is oh, so accurate. I always called my kids the parasites. Lovingly, of course. :)

April said...

You put that out there PErFECTLY!!


~aj~ said...

This is good stuff, Dallas! I was smiling and nodding along through the whole thing. :)

Although I'll be honest...I'm a little jealous about the saggy boobs (never thought those words would come out of my mouth!). The effects of nursing are the exactly opposite for me and instead of sagginess, I have shrinkage! I started out small-chested to begin with and they have gotten smaller with each baby. When I finish nursing Titus I think I will be shopping for a preteen training bra! So not fair!

I tease Matt that I want a boob job in a bad way. Maybe I'll just add it to the list when I get my tummy tuck, lipo, vericose vein removal and laser hair treatment!

Kristen OQ said...

This made me laugh out loud! Glad you are back to bloggin!

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