“What does it feel like to have a baby?” It was a question recently posed to me by a few of my sister’s friends while we were at her bachelorette party in Dallas. None of them have had children yet, but it’s something that they’re hoping for in the future. So naturally after a couple of drinks, someone asked the question.
Before I go any further, I’m going to tell you to stop reading if you don’t want to know. If you want it to all be a surprise, if you don’t want to be frightened, if you don’t want to dread the aftermath of childbirth, by all means, STOP HERE!
If, on the other hand, you’re intrigued, please read on.
I’ve never sugarcoated this for anyone. Mostly because after I had Beckett, my first, I was like, “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS?!?”. To say I was shocked by what happened to my body would be an understatement.
Let me preface this by saying that having Callahan was about 20 times less painful than having Beckett. Not only did Beckett pave the way, but he has a large head. So I’m not going to go into anymore detail, but you can take that for what it’s worth.
To put it lightly, it’s painful. Not so much the actual childbirth part, because if you have an epidural you don’t feel anything. This is why I love epidurals! But when that puppy wears off, you better put on your big girl pants because this pain is no joke.
Everything “down there” is swollen and feels like it’s been hit by a bus. Then it feels like that bus has ran back over you approximately 14 more times. And this wasn’t a nice bus. This was a bus with some serious road rage.
You don’t want to sneeze, cough or laugh, because OUCH. So suffice it to say walking is a challenge and sitting down anywhere requires holding onto whatever is within reach to ease yourself down. If you plop yourself down on the couch like a normal human being, you will regret it the second you do it. And getting into bed? It’s an olympic sporting event with how you have to gently set yourself down and maneuver your limbs around to avoid the pain.
I remember seeing women with children walking down the street after I had Beckett and thinking to myself, “This must get better at some point, because they have kids and they’re walking normally!”. I am not kidding unfortunately. These were actual thoughts that lived inside of my head.
I also want to say that I don’t necessarily think that the pain that I experienced is typical. I thought it was the norm until I had Callahan, my second. Luckily, this was a much better experience. It took me about two weeks after having Beckett to feel as good as I felt two days after having Callahan.
On top of all of the physical pain you’re experiencing (and being shocked by), you also have to keep a teeny tiny helpless human being alive. And assuming this is your first, you’ve never done this before! So not only are you figuring out how to take care of your body, but you’re also figuring how to take care of a newborn baby. You’re also not allowed to sleep for more than two hours at a time, because you have to breastfeed your child in frequent increments. And you know what? None of this is easy!
You’re battling breastfeeding woes, sleep deprivation and just generally being a frazzled new parent. Personally, I also dealt with the baby blues for a month or so after having Beckett. I cried for NO REASON AT ALL. And I knew there was no reason to be crying, but I couldn’t help it. I would look at Beckett and cry. I would hear a song that had nothing to do with babies or parenting or my life at all, and I would cry. I think in some ways, I was mourning the loss of my pre-baby life, but I also think hormones are a real thing that can send you on a wild emotional rollercoaster.
Having a baby is one of the most life altering things a person can go through. It rocks your world and turns it completely upside down. Everything you used to know to be true goes flying out the window, and you have to adjust to a new way of life; a new normal if you will.
There are new schedules, a new person’s needs to meet, less sleep, more stress, a whole lot less time for yourself, but the one thing there’s infinitely more of is love. And once you form that bond and feel that love for and connection with your little one, it makes it all worth it. Adjusting to your new life, sacrificing “me” time and sleep, enduring physical pain and crying over all of the things all pale in comparison to your new son or daughter. There’s really nothing else like it.
So that’s what it feels like to have a baby. It’s hard. It hurts. It’ll make you cry and change nearly everything about life as you know it. But it’s also the best thing I’ve done – and I thought it was so good that I did it twice.
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