Stretch marks, leaky boobs and hair with a mind of its own.
It’s common knowledge they’re among the occupational hazards that come with having a baby. But what about all the things they don’t tell you about – like what actually happens downstairs, and I mean really happens?
Of course, if they warned us what the potential side effects of bringing a human being into the world are the chances are we’d either not believe them or run for the hills.
But the fact is our bodies undergo changes none of us could have imagined, changes we’re sometimes too embarrassed to admit to, let alone talk about.
Organic intimacy brand YES is on a mission to change all that and empower new mums to not only talk about their post baby bodies, but know there are products out there that can help too (you can find them with the hashtag #MakingVaginasHappy – which I love!)
So, in this collaborative post, I’ve teamed up with YES to lift the lid on things nobody tells you can happen to your body after giving birth – and what you can do about it. I asked 12 brave mamas to tell me how their bodies changed after having a baby – and their answers are nothing if not brutally honest!
12 things nobody tells you can happen to your body after giving birth
1. “Let’s just say I had to go up a size in tampons for fear of them falling out when sneezing!” says Jade who blogs at Happy and Stuff.
2. “I wish the importance of pelvic floor exercises had been stressed more,” says Mandi who blogs at Big Family Organised Chaos. “After having seven children naturally, I am so glad I discovered the Innovo (that’s a pelvic floor exerciser). It has literally changed my life and my need to rush to the loo!”
3. “The main thing is the general ‘bucket up an alley’ feeling with my Mooncup,” says Slummy Single Mummy Josephine. “I have the bigger size, but if I have a cough at the same time as my period then I’m in trouble and am always having to sneak off to toilets and shove it back into place.”
4. “My vag is weird,” says Bella Louise Drew. “I had a second-degree tear and it’s been kind of tight ever since, not a ‘ooh I’m like a virgin again’ tight but uncomfortable tight.” (YES has a range of water and oil-based moisturisers that can help, rehydrating cells through osmosis and soothing damaged skin. They’re all certified and guaranteed pure and natural with no hormones, so you know you’re not exposing you or your baby or any nasty chemicals).
5. “I had an episiotomy and the consultant who did the stitching messed it up,” says Josie who blogs at Me, Them and the Others. “He mismatched the edges of the cut so now I have a sort of sticky out bit! It’s fairly common apparently because it’s hard to match the edges because of all the swelling. I could have it fixed but as it doesn’t cause me any discomfort I’ve never bothered, and I couldn’t face the thought of having stitches down there again!”
6. “When you have your period it literally feels like someone has attached a heavy weight down below and you get this dragging feeling there,” says Lianne who blogs at Anklebiters Adventures. “It’s awful!”
7. “I pee a little when I sneeze or cough now, no matter how many pelvic floor exercises I do,” says Welsh Mum of One Christy. “The doctor just tells me it’s ‘normal’ and to wear a pad just in case and keep doing my exercises, but I really never hear other mums talk about peeing themselves. I’m even using a kegel device to try and help.”
8. “I wish I’d appreciated my boobs before having kids,” says Hayley at Mama in Progress. “They don’t bounce back after breastfeeding three babies, and I need industrial strength bras to look like a 30-something-year-old and not a granny!”
9. “My boobs were always small but, after struggling but managing to breastfeed (with top-up formula), my boobs are even smaller, a weird shape and frequently sore,” says Jude who blogs at Gluing Cheese. “It doesn’t seem to correlate with my cycle either – just tingles and tenderness randomly no matter the time or day. As a single mum, this has been particularly hard to mentally deal with when meeting a new partner.”
10. “I have a ‘possible’ obstetric injury, and a lifelong condition now maybe thanks to having babies – they don’t really know,” says Helen who blogs at Kiddy Charts. “However, I wouldn’t change it FOR THE WORLD as my kids are wonderful. So who cares about my downstairs when I’ve got them. Some people would give anything to be where I am, and though I am a bit broken, I don’t care anymore!”
11. “I wouldn’t poop three to four days after birth because I was so scared I’d rip myself open again,” says Vicki who blogs at Mumma and her Monsters. “Even though I didn’t have a big scar it was so worrying.”
12. “After giving birth a midwife was checking my stitches and told me I had hemorrhoids that were visible from space,” says Lucy who blogs at Mrs H’s Favourite Things. “Thanks kids!”
This post was written in collaboration with YES, who know that after having a baby new mums are low on oestrogen and can experience problems including vaginal dryness as a result. They’ve developed a range of products to help – to view their entire collection click here.