The first post baby visit from Aunt Flo always takes me by surprise. You’d think that since this isn’t my first time at the childbirth rodeo I would remember what it’s like, but I guess the whole selective memory thing applies to unpleasant postpartum events as well as the pain of childbirth. There are lots of things nobody bothers to tell you about having babies, and that first post baby surf of the crimson wave is definitely one of them. In an effort to keep you well informed about all of the not-so-sexy aspects of motherhood, I’ve put together a list of five things to know about your first postpartum period.
1. You will not see it coming.
I’d like to gently suggest that you refrain from wearing white pants until you’ve survived your first post baby cycle, because I guarantee that you will be completely unprepared for Aunt Flo to visit. There’s no telling when she’ll show up – it could be anywhere from three months after giving birth to right after you wean your little one. My period didn’t come back until my kids were nursing once a day, but every body is different. My advice is to make sure you’re prepared or risk having to use one of your kid’s diapers when you’re caught unawares at the local park that doesn’t have a bathroom. Not that it’s ever happened to me or anything, but I’ve heard tell.
2. Does this come in Extra Super Max Absorbency?
You know that scene in The Shining where the elevator doors open and rivers of blood come gushing out? That’s kind of what your first postpartum period will be like. Just blood everywhere. Your bathroom will look like a crime scene from CSI in which the victim’s artery was severed. I honestly do not know how blood gets on the ceiling, but it does and it’s probably best if you don’t point it out to your significant other. Oh, I know you thought you bled a lot after you gave birth, but it’s like Aunt Flo is making up for not visiting you in over a year and she has no intention of leaving until you have ruined at least six pairs of perfectly nice underwear and several sets of bedsheets. Of course, by the time your period comes back you’ve blown through all of the disposable underwear and adult diapers they gave you at the hospital, but they should really provide you with an extra batch for later use. Sure, they may be bulky and hideous and not fit under any normal clothing, but it’s not like you fit into your pre-pregnancy pants yet anyway.
3. Holy cramps, Batman.
Remember those menstrual cramps you used to get in middle school, the ones that were so bad that your mom actually let you stay home? Well they’re back. I know you thought that having bad cramps went the way of your puberty acne and New Kids on the Block mix tapes, but they say that everything comes back into style, and your period cramps don’t want to miss out. I personally think that pushing a small human out of your lady parts should exempt you from ever having to feel pain in your uterus again, but nature disagrees. Your cramps will be so horrible that you might actually make sounds similar to the ones you made when you were in labor. Unfortunately, unlike in middle school, you can’t call in sick to motherhood.
4. Does this come in size “I’ve given birth”?
Things get a little stretched out when you have a baby. Yeah, it kind of goes back to the way it was before you had kids, but the truth is that it’s never quite the same as it was before, especially if you had to get some stitches. As a result, the feminine hygiene products you purchased before you pushed a small human out of your lady parts might not be as effective as they were prior, and you might have some slight leakage. I guess this is probably a sign that I should be doing more kegels, but who has the time? Sure I’d like to stop peeing myself when I laugh, but I don’t get a chance to shower every day, so ain’t no way I’m devoting any “me” time to vaginal exercises. I just wear my old pregnancy underwear and throw a pad on there for good measure, because I may be bleeding like I’m still in middle school, but I don’t want my pants to broadcast that.
5. I DON’T HAVE PMS MOTHERF*CKER!!!!
Yes, yes you do have PMS and it is horrible and you are a raving bitch and no one wants to be around you. The problem is that you don’t realize you have PMS because you are exhausted and you have children and taking care of small humans makes one grumpy. You will snap at your kids. You will yell at your husband. You will probably get into a fight with a stranger at Whole Foods because she’s taking too long in the bulk grains section. You will feel depressed and bloated and headachey and your child constantly needing you will make you want to throw yourself in front of the next moving car. You will beat yourself up for being a horrible mother and a horrible wife and a horrible friend and then Aunt Flo will blow into town and you’ll finally understand why you’ve been such a bitch. If anyone gives you a hard time about being just a teensy bit bitchy, remind him in no uncertain terms that you pushed a human being out of your vagina (or had one surgically removed from your uterus). It’s guaranteed to get you off the hook for most bad behavior.