Thursday, September 22, 2011

No One Told Me!

When most people talk about how life changes after having a child, they only tell you the good things.  "You are filled with such a sense of joy and love."  Yes.  That's true.  But no one wants to talk about the ugly things.  Or the negative things.  Oh, let me break it down for you.  Some aspects of LAB (life after baby) are great.  Obviously, the biggest part of LAB is baby!  And that's awesome...99% of the time.  You have a cute reason to make silly faces, dress up in mini clothes, and go to Disney movies.  But there's a few things about LAB that aren't so glamorous.  Here are some things to watch out for:

You will get more cavities

I had a dental checkup 3 weeks postpartum.  It was great because I had a whole hour lying down by myself!  I think I actually fell asleep at one point.  To all those people who don't like the dentist, go after you have a newborn and it's like a spa.  Anyway, one thing my dentist told me is the people he sees who get the most cavities are new parents.  Not kids after Halloween.  Not junk food addicts.  New parents.  He's a dentist and he had 2 within the first 6 months of his son being born!  His reasoning: you are eating at weird times (or constantly eating if you're breastfeeding) and not brushing after each time you eat.  Sometimes, you'll fall asleep without brushing your teeth because you're so tired.  And you can throw flossing out the window.  To keep cavities at bay, try flushing your mouth out with water after you eat at the very least, but brush if  you can.

You may go bald

This may be a bit dramatic, but you will lose A LOT of hair postpartum.  Don't be alarmed - it's just hormones, and it's more than likely all things will go back to normal (i.e. pre pregnancy) by the time your baby is 1.  But I remember very vividly washing my hair about 6 weeks after I had Baby C and feeling like my hair was coming out in clumps!  This was even more concerning considering how full, thick and non-shedding my hair was during pregnancy.  It basically boils down to being annoying to me, but if it's an issue for you, trying experimenting with a different cut, or ask a stylist what they recommend.

You will cry at the drop of a hat

My husband STILL makes fun of me for this.  For whatever reason "Dog Days are Over" by Florence + the Machine was mine and Claire's song during my pregnancy.  When I first started hearing it on the radio, I was about 4 months pregnant and Claire was really starting to move around.  I distinctly remember one of the first times she kicked was during this song, and since then, it's held a very special place in my heart.  About 2 weeks after Claire came into the world, the song came on the radio during a car trip and I completely burst into tears.  Why?  I have no idea.  I also broke down at a few doctor's appointments, watching "The Today Show", and maybe at a Subaru commercial (okay, it's the one below).

Powerful stuff, right?  I wasn't much of a crier before.  It's probably the hormones.  But having a child does make you more sensitive, I've found.  You feel things differently, you feel more, you're more affected.  So I'll probably keep crying at commercials because it makes me think about my little girl.  And I'm okay with it.  I cried at this one, too:

DAMNIT!  Now I'm crying again.

You will probably not sleep soundly for a long time

Even if you're blessed with a solid sleeper, you will likely not get the 8-10 hour chunks you were used to getting because you wake up to go to the bathroom (thanks, extra 100 ounces of water I'm drinking) or because you're worried that your baby is sleeping on their stomach/dropped the binky/too cold/too hot or because you're busy figuring out what you'll tackle on your to-do list this weekend.  So, my advice to all of you who don't have kids - SLEEP.  And enjoy it.  And maybe sleep a little more for those of us who can't anymore.

Childbirth doesn't make everything disappear

Sorry - those 35 pounds you gained at pregnancy?  Only about 15 of that will be gone when you leave the hospital.  That weird line down your stomach?  Yeah, it'll stick around for months.  Other things you thought were a quirk during your preggo time may not go away immediately after childbirth.  It can take weeks or months, or even longer in some cases.  Having realistic expectations can go a long way, but talk to your doctor if you're feeling like you need some extra guidance or help.

How did your life change after having a baby?  What's something you wish people told you to expect?

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