Labor Pains: ‘Droopy Vaginas’ And Other Post-Partum Truisms Nobody Tells You About
“I’ll be right back,” I told my friend H. after returning home from my first walk since giving birth. “I just need to grab my vagina – I think I left it on Wychwood a couple of blocks away.” We fell over laughing. Because, as any woman who has given birth can attest, your post-baby vagina feels ridiculously heavy, like it’s dragging on the floor and about to detach from your body.
Sorry, I know it’s a gross visual, but so is pooping on the delivery table during childbirth – and moms are finally warning others that this actually happens. So, in the spirit of womanhood, we’ve rounded up the top five postpartum truisms that few people talk about (until now):
When your milk comes in, it hurts like hell. It seems people are either touting the miracle of breastfeeding or they’re busy banning nursing moms from their store/restaurant/airplane. Whatever route you ultimately choose (formula vs. breast milk), you will still produce milk at some point, however briefly. I had heard all about “the latch” and the different feeding positions and all that jazz, but nobody bothered to tell me how agonizing it is when your milk supply comes in. You’ll look a porn star, but that’s where the excitement ends.
Your vagina will morph into something else entirely. One friend told me she remembers going to pee a few hours post-delivery and, well, she ended up pulling that “Emergency Call” stringy thing in the hospital bathroom. The nurses assured her that everything was okay despite the fact that her Mrs. V was drooping on the bathroom floor. (Don’t worry – the droopiness, or swelling, goes away.)
You’ll wake up looking like you’ve just completed a 90-minute Bikram hot yoga class. Okay, this might not apply to everyone, but lots of women I know would wake up in the morning (and every couple of hours throughout the night, for that matter) drenched in sweat. We’re not talking familiar sweat here – like the kind you might produce from an intense Spin class or even hot sex – it’s more as if you’ve just walked out of the shower and realized all your towels are in the wash. It apparently all has to do with hormonal changes to your body – rest assured, it won’t last forever (one day you’ll go back to having a sexy “glow”).
You’ll turn into a big cry baby – even if you’re 100% happy. Again, this all has to do with hormones (or lack thereof). Obviously postpartum depression is a very serious thing, as is feeling blue, which every new mom experiences at some point. But I’m talking about those women, of which I am one, who would sob uncontrollably at absolutely nothing during those moments of complete and utter happiness. One time, I had just fed my baby and he was dozing off next to me. It was lovely and serene moment. When my husband popped in to say hi, see what was happening, I broke down. He wanted to know what was wrong so I told him, between sobs, “Nothing” – and I actually meant it!
You’ll feel like a tween getting her period for the first time. I had heard that you’ll “bleed” post-baby, but I thought that meant that you might have to throw on a pantyliner for a day or two. I had no idea it would be like having a heavy period for a month, and that you’d have to wear pads with wings for the first time since 1987.
So there you have it. What I haven’t mentioned is all the cliché stuff, the good stuff, like the fact that you’ll have brought a new life into the world and that you will stare at this little being for hours on end in total disbelief. And that all of this crazy bodily stuff is beyond worth it. Oh, and that your body releases hormones to make you forget that any of the “bad” stuff ever happened in the first place. Convenient, isn’t it?