Let’s Talk About It: Postpartum Truth
I became a mama on December 8, 2018, and my life changed forever in a gorgeous, indescribable way. Words cannot do my love for Greyson and my role as his mama justice and although some women aren’t a fan of being pregnant, I was one of those weirdos who LOVED being pregnant. My pregnancy was beautiful and I enjoyed every second of it. I loved my bump, the excitement of it all, the unknown and learning, and going through the process with the love of my life. All mamas can attest to this fact…we have no clue what postpartum is really like until it becomes reality. We all think we give birth and then everything goes back to normal, but it’s not that simple. The first couple of weeks are exciting, tiring, and different, but there are so many aspects to postpartum that the days can feel overwhelming. Yes, you will still look pregnant a few days after giving birth (it’s the weirdest thing). Your stomach will feel super squishy and different, which is completely normal and your postpartum cramps are sometimes worse than the contractions (menstrual cramps x10). Now, if you have a C-section, opposed to a vaginal delivery, postpartum recovery will differ, but I had a vaginal birth (which is what I’ll be describing), but regardless of the type of birth, postpartum is an adventure (sometimes a difficult one).
You will leave the hospital feeling happy, dazed, and wearing the famous mommy diaper. No, it’s not a diaper, but that’s what us mamas call it. Many famous moms who are finally being more open about pregnancy and postpartum, such as Snooki have been posting photos about the mommy diaper and postpartum life, which is great. There’s no shame in recovering and at your own pace. Daphne Oz, one of my favorite famous moms is very honest about motherhood, pregnancy, and postpartum life. Anyway, the mommy diaper is actually amazing and you’ll be happy it exists. It’s mesh, loose, high-waisted panties that can be pulled up over your tummy and they allow you to wear those ridiculously huge pads postpartum. They’re actually so comfortable and I wish they were a normal, daily trend (the mommy diaper not the pads…the pads are awful). I only wore the mommy diaper for a couple of days and then I just used pads and cute granny panties. But, remember, you will be bleeding A LOT postpartum, for a few days and your number one goal is to be comfortable. I wore loose dresses, high waisted leggings, loose tanks, and cozy sweaters. The first time I wore jeans was a week postpartum and they were Levis (just a little side info).
I didn’t breastfeed (I didn’t want any added strain on my body postpartum) and using formula was incredibly successful for me, but that was my personal choice. Greyson was put on soy formula early on, which must be genetic because I was too when I was a baby. Regardless of the fact that I didn’t breastfeed, my breasts became rock hard and swollen three days postpartum (happens to everyone) and it took about five days for the milk to dry up and my breasts to return to normal. Ladies, be careful when you’re letting your milk dry up…don’t touch your boobs, stimulate milk production (no funny business guys, hehe), or let the hot water pour onto your boobs in the shower. I didn’t leak much (I did buy these adorable heart-shaped bra inserts to absorb any leakage though, which helped tremendously), but my chest felt as hard as concrete…I couldn’t sleep! I slept in Greyson’s room on the glider for a couple of days to avoid bumping my boobs. One night I actually cried for hours because they ached so badly and Andrew was constantly holding icepacks and bags of frozen peas on my boobs to alleviate the pain. He’s a doll.
The first time I got my period again I thought I was dying. I was bleeding so much and there were no cramps, so naturally, I assumed death (lol). I yelled for Andrew and he just looked at me and said, “Babe, it’s probably your period”. I made an OB appointment and they reassured me that it was my first, postpartum period and they’re always horrible. But, ever since I became a mama I no longer have menstrual cramps, which is amazing and my sex life is better than ever…thank you postpartum.
After the initial week of postpartum craziness subsides and your boobs and uterus go back to normal and you find a new routine, where does that leave you? How do you feel about your body, mind, and life? Well, that question is complicated because postpartum is different for every woman, but I hope to help other mamas by talking about what I experienced.
Postpartum puts us women through the wringer and our society, unfortunately, doesn’t celebrate new moms. We are made to feel as if we need to hide until our bodies are back to “normal” and we meet societies ridiculous standards. That’s bullshit, by the way. My generation is bombarded with social media, materialism, and celebrity influence which can make a mama feel insecure about her progress and body. Again, I loved being pregnant, I was very healthy while pregnant (which helps), and postpartum, but no matter what you do, it takes some time for your body to “bounce back”. Remember, it took nine months for your body to change and create a new life…give yourself a break and don’t rush progress. Very few people are open and honest about their failures and insecurities on social media and in front of others (remember that also). I remember slipping into my Christmas outfit and feeling different. On the outside, I looked like Lizzie, but I felt changed. I didn’t have any stretch marks on my stomach or any other issues on other parts of my body, but my stomach wasn’t as toned as it was prior to becoming pregnant. My boobs, butt, and everything else remained the same, but again, I still felt different and changed. I used to complain constantly about my stomach and the first couple of months your hormones and emotions are on a roller coaster ride, which doesn’t help.
I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be. That’s not something I strive for, but I will say, despite the fact that I will never be “perfect”, whatever perfect means to you, I am very happy with myself and my body. No, my tummy isn’t rock hard, but I’d rather be a mama than worry about my tummy. Ladies, don’t ever compare yourself to others. If you find yourself doing that on social media, remove yourself from it because as I said before, no one is posting their failures. I know many people on social media who boast about their beautiful relationships, that are actually falling apart in real life, brag about their bodies, that in all actuality look like the majority of all female bodies, and who crave attention so badly that it’s uncomfortable. You don’t need to post on social media every day to live a good life. Social media isn’t your real life…your real life is when you’re at home with your loved ones, enjoying every second of being you.
I’m always asked how I “bounced back” so quickly after having Greyson and I always smile, thank them for the compliment, and tell them I’m still bouncing back. It’s not just how you look on the outside, but how you feel on the inside. There are days when I may look amazing, but I feel bad about myself…that is not because I’m a mama…that’s because I’m a woman. It’s what we do! We worry about every little detail about us, critique ourselves in the mirror, and studies show we see a different image than what’s really there. We are the way we are because of society, immense pressure to look a certain way, and of course, social media. We grew up watching television shows with women who never had an ounce of fat on their bodies and who emphasized being a certain way, especially for men. Yes, some women are a size 0, but many women are not that small and that’s okay. I’ve always been petite, but I have curves and I wouldn’t even look like myself if I was a size 0. Also, the women we watch on television aren’t necessarily genetically that small…they have personal trainers who work with them every day and some don’t eat much of anything (that is not a normal life). I am at an age (23) where I no longer care about being the skinniest girl, who likes me, or the likes I get on social media. I love myself and I’m so happy with my life that the little things don’t matter to me anymore and I want all of the mamas out there to feel the same way…just genuinely happy. I am working on me every single day, just like everyone else.
I am a vegetarian again, eating healthy, and I’m finding a workout routine that I actually enjoy. I’m even working out with Andrew! I am NOT a girl who has ever liked working out (if you enjoy working out, no offense but I think you’re crazy), I always hated the gym, and the last thing I want to do at the end (or beginning of the day) is a workout. I’d rather write, read, or I don’t know…spend time with my husband (sex counts as a workout, right?). But, I do love yoga, being outdoors, and long walks. I am adding in a more aggressive workout routine to my daily life as a mama to push myself more, but I didn’t force myself to exercise right after having Greyson. There’s no need to rush back to the gym, or stress about working out immediately after giving birth, and actually, it’s healthier to relax and give yourself a true break. Do what makes you happy and don’t add any stress to your days. Trust me, as a mama, you’ll have enough stress in your lifetime!
Postpartum brings on all of the emotions, different (new) issues, and floods your mind with questions. I did deal with Postpartum Depression, but luckily (and unluckily) I was no stranger to depressing thoughts. I struggled with anxiety and depression in my teenage past, so I knew how to talk myself down and I will always be an anxious person. Despite the fact that I got myself through the rough days, if you suffer from Postpartum Depression, I do suggest talking to your doctor (ASAP) because it isn’t easy to overcome the struggles on your own. If you need someone to talk to, beyond a therapist or your doctor, I’m always here.
Depression is not a joke and women suffer from Postpartum Depression in varying ways. Some experience symptoms for a year (even three) and others (like me) hop off of the roller coaster ride after a couple of months, as soon as their hormones level out. Anxiety and depression affect everyone differently, so you can not compare your story to others. The first couple of weeks postpartum I was completely fine and then out of nowhere the anxiety and tears hit me like a tsunami. Postpartum Depression usually develops between 4-6 weeks postpartum, but again that varies. I felt so bad putting Andrew through the emotions, but he understood. My friends didn’t understand fully what was happening late at night in my head, but I kept most of it to myself. I spent that time trying to find myself again. I knew the old Lizzie was in there, somewhere. Some nights I cried myself to sleep hating my body, not understanding why I felt the way I did, and getting angry and stressed out over the simplest things. I wasn’t being rational or at all fair to myself.
I was working so hard as a mama, housewife, and fiancé keeping everything together for everyone else. Andrew was truly amazing and never left my side. He always made me feel better at the end of the day and he only saw me for me, not the person I saw staring back at me, who I didn’t know. We really are our own worst enemies and we see what we want to see, whether it’s real or not. I was never sad, angry, or depressed when I was with Greyson. My son has always made me feel so happy and full of love and light. It was when I was alone or before I went to bed that my head would start to spin. Mamas, we all go down that rabbit hole from time to time, but you need to know that you’re not alone and there’s always a way to heal and move forward. Even Alice found her way home, but she had to go through Wonderland to gain answers and happiness. I don’t suggest doing drugs and going completely bonkers in order to find yourself (yes, Alice in Wonderland is all about drugs and how they make you feel), but there’s always a path you must take to reach each destination. Motherhood is a whole new world and sometimes your mind becomes a little messy. Take a breath, do something that makes you feel good, and enjoy every second with your child. They want you to be happy and happiness is contagious. I found my balance and “bounced back” as they say and now I am literally the happiest I have ever been in my entire life.
If you’re still going through the sad days, the confusion, and the stress, I promise
you will reach your perfect balance. I read a lot of spiritual books postpartum that helped me feel more zen and at peace with myself (Emma Mildon is the best) and I also removed myself from anything
that made me feel unhappy or uncomfortable (I am still letting of things & people that don’t bring happiness to my life). I don’t go to places or events that cause me anxiety or put up with people’s bullshit. I am way beyond that point in my life.
Greyson, you bring me so much light and laughter. Last night I was watching a TV show before bed with daddy and you were fast asleep in your crib. I looked over at the baby monitor and missed you so much, even though I had just spent time with you an hour before. Daddy and I literally cannot imagine our days without you and you’ve made us stronger, happier, and sillier. You allow us to be little again when we play with you, explore places we used to love as children, and read the books that inspired us as little kids. You are everything to me and I love your smile, joy, and kindness. It’s amazing how sweet you are to everyone and everything, which makes me proud. You’re always happy, giggling, and smiling…
I know you watch mama clean, take care of everything, and sometimes stress, but just understand that you make each day easier and you fill my heart with happiness. I will never let you stress and I’ll take care of the chaos around you. Of course, when you’re an adut you’ll have your own worries, but daddy and I will always be here to help and guide you.
We love you forever & always.
Stay tuned for the next entry of The Greyson Diaries 💙 & follow me on Instagram: lizziemognoni