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Thursday, October 15, 2015

The indignities of pregnancy: the aftermath

Since I plan on never being pregnant again, this is well and truly the FINAL installment of "The indignities of pregnancy." Are you crying? Me too!!

I am now over eight weeks postpartum with Trevor, and things have pretty much returned to normal in my body. My life has achieved a new routine, and things are going well. Trevor is adorable.

But there are still indignities. Pregnancy aftermath. And they are real, and I am here to tell you about them (at least, the ones that have impacted me in particular).

"Stress Incontinence"

After Audrey was born, even though I tore from bow to stern giving birth to her, I never had any issues with things leaking when they weren't supposed to. Pee and poo both stayed in until I told them it was okay to come out.

But the second kid ... the second kid did me in. And multiple people told me it might happen, but I didn't listen.

You see, I thought I was special. Different. I did my kegels, I was fiercely strong in my pee-holder muscles, and I never ONCE peed a little while pregnant, even when I sneezed aggressively or held a squat position.

But then Trevor was born. And things went south on me.

For the first couple of weeks, I had what is called "urge incontinence," which is when you go from "I kinda have to pee" to "I am now peeing my pants" in literally less than one minute. It was like having a newly potty-trained toddler, except the toddler was my own bladder. And the instant that little fella started whining "Momma I hafta potty!", I had to find a bathroom RIGHT AWAY or else it was going to be a problem.

But then the urge incontinence went away, and life was good again. I figured I was in the clear.

So then I decided to go jogging.

And I was not in the clear :-(

The doctor said it should hopefully get better within a couple of months. But the other moms I've talked to said that they STILL can't do jumping jacks or join their kids on the trampoline, even though their kids are 3+ years old.

This may just be my life now. Putting on a maxi pad before Zumba class so that I don't make a puddle on the floor.

It is not dignified. Not dignified at all.

These stretch marks persist

I wrote previously about the stretch marks that appeared on my belly button towards the end of my pregnancy. I was not pleased with them.

Well, I am happy to report that the skin crumpling phenomenon I was worried about did NOT happen ... so there's that.

But those stretch marks are still there, and they're still pissed off. They're still drunk and belligerent. Maybe they're not inviting any more friends to join their party, but they don't need to -- they're plenty bad enough on their own.

Also I just realized it looks like I'm wearing underwear in this picture. But I'm not -- that's my hand in the corner. I'm wearing pants. Actual pants. I just thought you should know.

I put Shea butter on them every day and hope that they'll fade at least a little by bikini season. But if they don't ... eh, I'll still wear a bikini anyway. Eff it.

My belly button is permanently larger now

Apparently, being inside-out for like six months is hard on a belly button.

I used to have this adorable tiny little belly button that you could barely get your pinkie finger into. Now, it's the size of two index fingers. 1.5 thumbs easy.

I need to get a bigger belly button ring, because the one I've got in there now just looks like a pebble in a coal mine. Sad day.

Spontaneous milk letdown is real

You know how in TV shows, nursing mothers always hear a crying baby and immediately soak through their bra and shirt with milk? And it's a hilarious punchline??

I kind of thought that was a myth just like the whole every-labor-starts-with-water-breaking TV trope. But it's not a myth. It's totally real.

Well, the part about soaking through the shirt is a myth, because I constantly wear nursing pads in my shirt. If you're a nursing mother and you DON'T wear nursing pads in your shirt, you're kinda asking for it. That's like walking around with no pad in your underwear during your period. Or going to Zumba class without a pad after recently giving birth (did you like how I just referred to a joke I made earlier in this blog post, within the same blog post? Meta as hell.).

Still though, I will regularly feel the milk let down on its own. If I'm talking about nursing, it'll happen. (in fact, I fully expect it to happen at some point before I finish writing this section). If Trevor gets too close to me and he hasn't nursed in a while, it'll happen. And sometimes, it'll just happen for no reason whatsoever while I'm perusing Facebook and looking at pictures of the renovations someone did to their house. I guess my boobs just like the new granite countertops they installed?

Thank god for the disposable nursing pads, or this would be VERY undignified.

My boobs are ridiculous

Speaking of boobs and nursing ... oh lord. Okay, so when I say "ridiculous," I don't mean "huge." If they were huge, I wouldn't consider that an indignity. I could consider that awesome.

No, no; something much less flattering is going on in my shirt.

You see, it's very common in nursing mothers for one boob to outperform the other. They're like sisters but one of them is the valedictorian and the other one gets pregnant at 15 and drops out of school to work for Amway.

For me, the right boob got accepted to Stanford, while the left boob wonders if you have a moment to talk about a great investment opportunity.

This means that ol' righty is twice the size of lefty. LITERALLY TWICE THE SIZE.

I don't even know what to do about this. I was looking at proper nursing bras yesterday (the ones I wear are more like sports bras -- no cups, no underwire, just pure comfort) and I realized that there was no way I'd be able to wear one of those. I'd have to buy two different ones and Frankenstein them together.

I guess I'll stick with the sports bras. And maybe stuffing a sock in the left side. There's nothing wrong with being 30 years old and still stuffing your bra. Right?

... right?

Ugh. He's worth it and I love him and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat and so on ... but c'mon now. Can't I at least get TWO honking hooters out of it? Is that really asking so much??

He's worth it. He's worth it. He's worth it.

The full collection of past issues of "The Indignities of Pregnancy":


  1. Love this post! I had terrible incontinence after baby, so bad I had to have PELVIC FLOOR PHYSICAL THERAPY. That was awwwwwwkwaaaard. Yeah.
    Anyway, put a tampon in for running. That's what they told me to do. It worked, and by 15 months pp I was almost incontinence free!
    Except for trampolines, jumping jacks, and if I cough while running. It run down an overly steep hill.
    Childbirth, maaaan.

    1. Oh god! How does that even work? What does the physical therapist do? Actually, please don't tell me.

      I will have to try this tampon trick when I finally return to Zumba. I don't want to end up dancing in my own puddle ...