5 Things That Really Happen To Your Body After A Baby. (that everyone is too scared to tell you)

I feel like I owe you all an apology. I’ve been holding something back. I’m normally so honest with you, but this time I haven’t been able to bring myself to tell you what I’m about to say.

It’s not pretty, it’s not cute, and it might just send you off to the hysterectomy clinic the second you’ve finished reading it.

Ladies, for those who are already pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, this one’s for you.

We’ve all read the articles about the weight gain, flatulence, stretch marks, leaky boobs and heartburn. None of this should be a surprise anymore. But what these sons of bitches don’t tell you, is what happens after you give birth. After the C section scar has healed, after your milk has dried up and after you’ve pretty much returned to normal. THAT’S when the shit-fest fun starts.

I first noticed it about 8 weeks after having my son. I finally found the energy and enthusiasm to shave my legs. Well, atleast I thought I’d shaved my legs, but when I woke up the next morning the hair had returned, thicker and darker than ever before. Blaming the mum-dumb I returned to the shower, and shaved them again. Only to find that within minutes, more black-pube like hair had sprouted from the very place where the razor had just touched. Turns out that having a 3.7 kilogram human pulled aggressively from your womb isn’t torture enough – your body then decides to manifest hair faster than a drain at a communal camp site.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, this isn’t limited to legs and armpits.)

Hairy legs after baby

Think back to a time when you were the most nervous, and when your body, startled into action, produced the most sweat it has ever produced. For me this was on my wedding day. Granted, it was mid November, hotter than hell and I happened to be dressed in a frock made entirely out of feathers and poef, but I was shvitzing faster than Bill Cosby at a modelling convention. Fast forward to 5 months post partum and my wedding day has nothing on this Sweaty Betty. In pregnancy you glow, in post pregnancy you shall sweat and stink and berate the CPA for falsifying Mitchums 48 hour promise.

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I ran this one past my husband who nearly vomited and told me ‘under no circumstances should I EVER put this on my blog’. Which clearly meant I absolutely had to put it on my blog. Girls, your period, when it eventually returns, will terrify the living bejeezus out of you. Aunt Flo comes a visiting and she’s brought company. Do not get rid of your mattress sized pads they give you in the hospital. You will need these, and more, to staunch the wrath of Satan that launches out of your already weak and vulnerable body. I’m not making this up. This here from a friend who shall not be named:

aunt flo

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I get that most woman, over the age of puberty, have cellulite. But what I can’t understand is why the punishment for bringing a human life into this world, is the fact that our resulting bodies look like a plaster wall before tiling. Cavernous dimples riddle one’s body like the plague. My arms have cellulite. The cellulite in my cellulite has cellulite. Fuck, I’m not even convinced that it’s a dimple on my cheek anymore – I suspect the cellulite on the rest of my body has run out of space and is now moving up into my face.

this-is-all-baby-fat

And lastly, because why stop at Hell when we may as well fast track into damnation. Boobs. The only time I find a pap-sak appealing is when it’s 2 litres in size and filled with red wine. Nowadays, my not-so-fun bags resemble this cat. Except the only difference is that THIS CAT HAS PERKIER BREASTS.

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Now, before you start selling your unborn child in panic, let me tell you it’s not ALL that bad. Yes, you may be softer, smellier and dumber than ever before, but you’ll also be the richest you’ve ever been. No man, not as in money, ‘cos you’ll have fuck all of that. As in your baby. Your baby will make most of it all of it worth it. Promise promise. Cross my hairy chest and hope to die.

honey boo boo birthing babies

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9 Months… Now What?

On Sunday, this not so little baby bump will be 9 months old. Before y’all panic and wonder why I’m not sprinting shuffling towards the closest hospital, remember that one is actually pregnant for a whopping TEN months so I still have a good few weeks to go. Yep, 40 weeks gestation, just another mind fuck us preggie woman are confronted with during our baking sessions.

I always wondered why, when you asked a pregnant woman how far along they were, they answered with some eye-rolling inducing answer like “26 weeks and 4 days”. Really? why couldn’t they just say 6 months? I’ll tell you why, it’s because every day we harbour this little human in our belly feels like an achievement. I know that sounds terribly self-involved and a bit ridiculous, but it’s true. I have gone through the past 35 weeks (and 4 days) knowing exactly how far along I was – to the day – at any given time.

Pregnancy becomes this great countdown – There are the big events like the trimesters, the important ultrasound dates like the out-of-the -danger-zone-12-week-scan and the all-important ‘baby is as big as a cucumber!’ milestones.

Imagine running a marathon – you have 42.2 kilometres ahead of you – and the only way you are going to cross that finish line without dying or faking a sprained ankle is to plan the race…every step of the way. You go in well fed, pre-race pooped, fit and with the right kit. You know that to reach the 21km mark means you are half way (20 weeks!) and that every 3 kilometres there’s a water point (baby ultrasound days, yay!). Closer to the end you find a burst of energy (OK, so this never happens in pregnancy) so by the time you cross over that finish line you are still alive, albeit slightly bruised and battered. (Your vagina).

So, forgive me for celebrating this very big milestone that is Sprouts 36th week in the womb, because it’s ended up feeling like a very long 36 weeks, and as anyone who’s ever had a freshly squeezed kid will tell you – the last month sucks, a lot.

You may remember, I wrote a blissfully glowing report on things I had learnt in pregnancy. Well, friends, that was in the first 12 weeks when my skin glowed, I maintained my weight due to some delicate food aversions (read – sobbing over a fishcake) and every single thing about growing a human child was a novelty.

Fast forward several months and I am pretty much 100% over it. So, an update on things I have learnt (later on) in my pregnancy:

  1. EVERYONE will give you their advice. At first you suck in it like kitchen roll, fascinated by the stories, the anecdotes, the remedies. That shit was liquid gold. Until, it’s not, and you just want everyone to shut up and stop telling you all the things all the time. OH, you think it’s best if I get natural birth? Thanks very much. I’ve never once thought about how I’m going to get this baby from the inside to the outside.
  2. The weight gain is all cool, until it’s not cool and one day you wake up with a fatter face, fatter arms and the inability to shave your legs without seeing cellulite in your ankles.
  3. You are hot, all the time. I really didn’t battle with this until a month ago when the cooler weather set in, resulting in office heaters on full blast, and me melting in my desk chair covered in boob sweat.
  4. Your tolerance levels for pretty much anything drop to a winning low. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing for me, Mrs-Hate-any-sort-of-conflict, and I now find myself directly confronting issues and people I have issues with. Just the other day I sent a scathing email and didn’t even add a smiley face to the end – I mean, that’s telling ‘em right?
  5. People can and will say stupid things. Just a few pearlers from the last few weeks:
    1. “Do you have a special Doctors note that allows you to still be at work?”
    2. “Are you having natural or a Joburg special smash and grab?”
    3. Are you going to be a real woman and have natural?
    4. ‘I’ve noticed you’re gaining weight, and not just in your tummy”
    5. “Are you sure you’re not carrying twins?”
  6. You walk slow, and with a duck like waddle. I used to be one of those woman in the mall, who walked sofastallthetime and would roll my eyes in passive aggressive irritation at dawdlers and window shoppers. I am now that person causing 4 body pileups outside of Edgars, and forcing people walking with me to step backwards every few minutes so as not to leave me in their dust. Try as I may I cannot go faster than granny pace, and If I do I’m convinced my baby is going to physically fall out of me.
  7. Reflux and heartburn are the devil spawn. I constantly feel like I have food rising in my throat and wake myself up most night by vomiting pure bile in to my mouth. On good days I can’t sleep, swallow or lay my head lower than a 90 degree angle. On bad days I think about this
  8. At night your bladder turns into a vindictive little girl bitch that fills up rapidly and insists on being emptied, every half an hour, one pitiful teaspoon at a time. It’s cystitis on steroids.
  9. Nesting takes on a whole new level. Just last week I found myself walking around the house, wiping down the plants with a dishcloth and coconut oil.
  10. Every movement, pinch, jab, roll, kick and pain makes you assume that you’re in labour. THIS IS IT! you think, as the tiny ferocious child inside you smashes his head against your womb for the 18th time that hour. It’s not.

All the moans and groans and aches aside, I seriously still need some time before our little man makes an appearance. There are very important things that need to be done still, like packing his bag, packing my bag, and locating my nether regions to get them waxed.

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Things I Learnt at Antenatal Class.

One of the big pregnancy milestones is being far enough along to attend an antenatal class. (I’m lying, you can go anytime, I just feel I need to congratulate myself on 32 weeks of sobriety). We decided to join the free one that the hospital offers, because cheap.

The class took place over a full Saturday and I tell ya, the last time I was this excited for a full day Saturday anything was our wedding.

One of the highlights of the day was walking into the hospital foyer, pillow in hand, and bumping into our Gynae, Dr D. The look of panic on his face as he thought I may be coming in for an early labour was priceless, because he looked very ready to head on home – coffee and newspaper in hand.

Why a pillow you ask? I too was skeptical when the hospital asked us to bring one with. Turns out, if you can sit through 9 hours of antenatal class in the torture chamber chairs provided (even with a pillow) then you are well ready to have a baby. The nurse who took the class told us about a lady who was on bed rest, and took the entire class lying down on a bed of pillows. Having attended the class myself, I know that was all a lie, and the clever duck just had the foresight to make an ulterior plan.

Suffice to say, the chiropractors at Sandton Medi Cinic must make an absolute fortune on Saturdays at 5pm.

My favourite part of the day had to be the informative videos. For most of them, real life woman were filmed, all looking exceptionally glamorous having just popped out a baby. I also think all the men in the room are now immune to nipples and boob. The word aureole now gets tossed around as casually as you please.

For those who aren’t able to attend an antenatal class, or who want a little teaser of what’s to come, here you go:

1. Breastfeeding is best. They will literally shove images of latching babies and saucer sized nipples down your throat until you get the point. If you are considering breastfeeding, it’s very important to remember these handy, yet almost impossible to remember tips:

  • Baby’s lips must always be in a C shape, bottom lip visibly open, body aligned and latching like a starved fish.
  • Baby’s position should be like that of a football. Excellent analogy doc, as I’m sure a whopping 0.01% of the moms in the class are avid American sports fans.
  • When nipple cracks and bleeds, you are doing it wrong
  • Should baby’s mouth position not be as above, you are doing it wrong
  • If it hurts to the point where you want to stab yourself in the face with baby’s umbilical cord, then you are probably doing it wrong.

Basically, your baby needs to look like these goldfish.

2. Everything comes at a cost. From the nurse talking us all into ‘skin on skin contact’ immediately after baby is born (R700) to the ‘optional’ hearing test performed at birth (R400), not to mention the accommodation (yep, not rooms, accommodation) options – ranging from a R900 only-share-with-one-other-mom to the R2500 per night luxury suite (dinner for hubby included!) it is clear that nothing about having a baby is cheap. (Again, why we chose the free classes)

3. Possibly the most heart-breaking of all the lessons learnt was during lunch. The vegetarian option consisted of a Greek salad with feta as well as feta and tomato tartlets. HANG ON JUST ONE MINUTE, I thought feta when pregnant was the devil’s food, no more or less dangerous than swallowing a bottle of lighter fluid? My emotions were torn friends, do I eat the feta because I’m at baby school in a hospital, or do I listen to 99% of all the advice I’ve been given that’s told me otherwise?

Have the last 219.8 days of my life been a lie?

4. People are soft. And my darling husband is the most soft of them all. Apparently we were the first class to watch the illustrated video of the natural and C section births, due to complaints previously (I BET from men) about the real life videos being too graphic. I’m sorry, but do these folk think that a baby comes out in 2D picture? Nonetheless, 12 seconds into the cartoon video of a C section (think elevator music and a soft narrative) my husband goes as white as a sheet and leaves the room to go find Coke and other sugary treats. Shame – pregnancy is hard on the men.

5. As the class went on and the ‘list for hubby’s’ grew longer and longer (think tremendously intricate tasks like charging the camera, or packing socks) my poor husband began to look more and more distressed. It was at this point that I realised we would have to forego the R700 skin-on-skin option as I would need the money to pay for his stitches from when he passed out during the delivery.(Another item on list for mom’s – sit your hubby down in front of the telly and make him watch a medical documentary. If at any point he looks even close to vomiting, you may want to consider packing several Cokes for the hospital…and asking a friend to be there as a Plan B).

So, with 8 weeks to go I may feel slightly more informed, but no less panicked about what’s to come. It’s fine though, at least I know I will have my husband holding my hand throughout it all after he’s woken up from his coma.

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Pregnancy. A Pain In The Arse.

You know I’ve mentioned I’ve had an easy pregnancy right? Well, I really have. Despite the vomit inducing heartburn and occasional I-want-to-punch-your-dumb-face in mood swings, it’s been smooth sailing all the way.

Until Saturday that is.

Every few weekends, whenever we can, we take part in the Lonehill Park Run. I walk it, husband sprints Tom Cruise style and comes in 2nd place. That kinda thing. This week, as I approached half way I suddenly felt all the muscles freeze in my backside, and my legs lock into place. Terribly embarrassing, considering it was in the middle of the track and I was the cause of an almost domino effect of neon clad runners as they had to very quickly skirt and bypass me.(Quite like skirting and bypassing a beached hippo). I imagine I let out a delicate yelp and bent forward, partly due to the athlete who nearly rear ended me and the absolute excruciating pain running down my arse. It was at that point that a concerned jogger ran up to me and asked if I was in labour. “Nope, I don’t think so” I replied “I just have a very sore bum”.

A very sore bum! Oh my god. A very sore bum implies a hot curry was consumed the night before. No, this was daggers and juggernauts (I don’t know what a juggernaut is, but it sounds like it would be sore if in my glute, so work with me here).

A little while later, whilst in Baby Shitty putting together my registry, the same pain explosion occurred. You can imagine the horror on the moms faces while they tried to push past me with their laden trolleys and screaming toddlers in expensive prams. “Sorry” I kept saying, whilst laughing hysterically, because I just could not move. I was one foot under Disney, back somewhere near a bottle sterilizer and a few toes away from disposable breast pads. My friend Amy ran to fetch me the security guards plastic chair (turns out the security guard at baby City is just as friendly as all the other phlegm snorting staff) for me to sit on.

So there I was, sitting in baby City on a plastic lawn chair contemplating my slow painful death.

Later that day, at my nieces first birthday party, I lost the use of my limbs at the exact moment sweet Emma tasted her first piece of cake. Of course I was standing infront of the photographer at the time.

I won’t bore you with the details, but by the time 8pm rolled around and my husband was peeling off panties and shoes whilst trying to coax me into the bath I had lost my sense of humour along with the ability to walk in forward steps.

Turns out, what I thought was sciatica was a simple case of ‘very common in pregnancy’ Locked TIJ. I don’t know what it means, but if you look up “overweight red face woman writing in agony whilst performing movements similar to that in a game of Twister’ you would find it.

Typically, Monday rolled around and I could urinate without assistance – so it seems that I’m making baby (the pun, intended) steps in the progress department.

However, should you spot me somewhere down the line, flat faced on the floor and twitching like an electrocuted squirrel, do me a favour and help me up. Just don’t ask if I’m in labour.

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Reasons People Have Kakked On Me During My Pregnancy*

  1. I walked down the ramp at the office in the rain and nearly fell.
  2. I walked down the ramp at the office in the rain and did fall. The next time it was raining my lovely colleague Lucy took my arm and helped me walk down said ramp. Then she fell. I think the bigger issue here may be the ramp itself.
  3. I stood on a revolving office chair to fix an aircon vent. My boss charged out of his meeting with a face like thunder and yelled “What the hell do you think you are doing? What if you fell and your baby died? You can’t do that when you’re 8 months pregnant”. To which I replied “Oh, I’m only 7 months pregnant. Don’t worry, if I was 8 months I would never have done this”
  4. I leaned down to find the cheesy Marmite from the office cupboard and my tea lady scolded me yelling “No Kate, stop it, we are here for you”.
  5. I opened and closed a manual garage door.
  6. I left for work in the morning without packing snacks.
  7. I grabbed a basket at the grocery store instead of a trolley. My friend Amy was with me and said “pregnancy is not the time for baskets”. 5 minutes later a 750 gram tin of fruit rolled out the trolley and landed on my foot, nearly breaking it. I think pregnancy is in fact a time for baskets.
  8. I was being emotional. You know what’s fun, non pregnant people? When you tell someone with a human growing inside of them that they are being emotional. We love that.
  9. The office desks were being re-arranged and I tried to help. After a bit of a fight they let me carry a pot plant and an empty Tupperware.
  10. I walked through the metal detector at a meeting. The other option was to pole-vault over it onto the other side. Silly me.

Funnily enough, things I haven’t been scolded for:

  1. Grocery shopping and pushing a trolley the size of a Boeing at Douglasale Pick n Pay at 6 pm on pay day.
  2. Washing the dogs. I’m pretty sure wrestling two 15 kilogram octopus (octopusses, ocotopee?) covered in butter would be easier.
  3. Dropping an earring and crawling, leopard style, under the bed to search for it.
  4. Driving in Randburg. Or Fourways, or anywhere other human beings and taxis also drive.
  5. Refilling the 21.8 kilogram office water bottle after getting tired of shouting “Guys I am dying of thirst, please can someone replace the 21.8 kilogram water bottle” (A few days later when someone noticed that it had been done, I got kakked on for doing it myself)

* The word ‘kak’ is a glorious South African’ism for ‘shit’. pronounced ‘kuk’. Ie: “You speak more Kak than Jacob Zuma”.

To be ‘Kakked on‘ implies being shouted at, and should not be confused with literally having feces dumped on ones self. If I had written a blog post about ‘Reasons I have been covered in poo during my pregnancy’, then I was probably in bad labour, or there’s something terrible wrong with the State of our Nation. (Apart from the actual State of our Nation).

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