- Kayla Kervin
5 Things That I Did NOT Expect to Happen Post Partum
Let's be clear, I love Jack, I am very lucky to have him! I am also very lucky to have had a wonderful healthy pregnancy and a baby. I am SO grateful but I wanted to share some things that are often not talked about for a new mother, as the journey can often be a struggle and even a lonely one at times because you feel like you may be the only one experiencing it. So here it is, 5 things that I did NOT expect to happen post partum...
I would gain weight. You know those before and after pictures you see on Instagram? Ya mine was different. I gained 15lbs in 3 months from 3-6 months! I didn’t gain much weight in my pregnancy, so almost immediately I was back at my pre baby weight. Nice right? I never really talked about that because everyone is so different and I know the comparison game can be a b*tch. I really have no secret to why my body did that. But let me tell you, I did not expect to gain weight after 3 months! I was told everyone loses weight while nursing, you can eat more, yada yada. For me, that was the opposite, I was hungrier- yes, but my body was holding onto everything. I didn’t change anything in my diet, if anything I was more active and packing on the pounds. I am starting to get my hormones back in order but boy oh boy, I did not expect that!
I would grieve my mom more than ever. I knew I would feel her absence, but becoming a mother without a mother ripped off the bandaids on all those wounds that I thought I healed. I miss her, I need her, I appreciate her more than ever. When I’d be nursing Jack in the middle of the night my mind would wander and imagine to her doing that for me when I was a baby and suddenly I felt how much she loved me, because that is how I felt about Jack. To be completely honest, that is what the hardest thing for me has been, doing this without her here. I saw how great she was with my niece and nephew and I often imagine what she would be like with him. It hurts, but I find a lot of comfort knowing many people go through this and much much worse. We are never alone.
I would get my period back. Ummmm I was told as long as you were nursing you wouldn’t get your period. Wrong wrong wrong (for me at least)! I got mine at 5 months post partum (side note: post partum means post baby, many people think it means depression. Post partum depression means post baby depression, I had to clarify with at least 4 people I know). Anyways, my period came back 5 months after giving birth (and then I didn’t get it again for another 50 days and thought I was pregnant again- wowwwwwyyy I was not ready for that). But with my period, my hormones slowly started to regulate again which brings me to my next point...
My breastmilk supply changed when I got to 6 months. I know that getting your period back helps your body try to balance your hormones, but for me it also meant it decreased my milk supply. I also did not expect to feel extreme guilt when cutting back with breastfeeding... followed by extreme relief. Let me say this first- whatever option you choose, fed is best! I’ve said this before but breastfeeding is a lot of work and takes a toll on your body. I’ve had people I know breastfeed for a couple years and some for a couple weeks (or not at all) and I can honestly say that I never have judgement towards it and understand all decisions. But when it came to me- suddenly I felt huge mom guilt when my supply started to drop and I couldn’t give him enough. Not only did I feel guilty as a mom, it brought up underlying deeply rooted insecurities of not being “enough”. That combined with fluctuating hormones in my body with getting my period back and with nursing, stirred up lots of deeply rooted emotions. BUT WAIT THERE IS A SILVER LINING, when I introduced formula, I also had a sense of relief and happiness come over me. Suddenly I knew I was giving him enough and doing what was best for him. I felt like a new human, and right now I nurse him once a day and give him organic formula (hipp from the UK- more on that later) and solids each day and he is SO happy and thriving. I may not be exclusively breastfeeding anymore, but I am giving Jack what he needs and that brings me so much comfort.
I would feel extremely out of tune with my body. I don't know about you, but I found the 6 months post partum had more of an impact on my body than pregnancy did! At around 3 months my hormones started to shift drastically and I started to lose hair, my hair was always greasy and my skin was dry + dull, I gained 15lbs, my appetite increased, I was still very much healing internally and did not know what the heck was going on! I am not trying to scare people or paint a bad picture, but my body did not feel like my own. I felt very out of control and out of tune with my body which was upsetting. I also started working again at 3 months which did not help my cortisol levels! BUT don't worry, there is a happy ending! I started going back to acupuncture and homeopathy, I invested in a Peloton so that I could work out at home, my period came back (this was a good thing, it was my body's way of trying to get back to normal!) and Jack was in more of a routine which helped me feel so much better! I am still on a journey, but now that I am breastfeeding significantly less, my hormones are starting to shift even more. It is definitely a process! There are times when I feel extremely critical of my body, my journey, my self and then I have to try and snap out of it and remember what I just did. I grew a human, I continued to grow that human for 7 months with milk my body made for him, and now I am continuing to grow and nourish him with nutrient rich foods and formula. I am doing what is best for him and me. And the latter is not often emphasized... what is best for YOU. One of my best friends pediatricians often checks in with her at appointments and not just her child. She asks how she is doing and always stresses how her decisions and journey impact her (not just her child). I wish my doctor was like this! (side note: if any of your know a good paediatrician in the GTA who is like this, let me know!). Often times our own feelings and well being get dismissed because we are doing what is best for baby. What I am slowly starting to realize is that sometimes you have to do what is best for you, so you can show up even better for the people around you. For me that means introducing formula, taking more "me" time and focusing on my own goals and achievements without feeling the "mom guilt"