The Black Hole of Recovery

A photo from my first pregnancy....before I knew what was about to wreck my body.

I’m pretty ready to be done being pregnant. I’m 36 weeks, having lots of contractions, and can’t seem to walk anywhere without plenty of dramatic waddling and groaning. I am so thankful for this experience, and the ability to carry a baby, I’m just ready to have that baby in my arms and not in my aching belly anymore.

Anyway, everything is happy and joyous after you deliver the baby, right?

Wrong! This is what was not communicated to me with my first baby! 5 days after delivering my baby, I found myself pathetically sitting on the toilet, sobbing, and saying “why did no one tell me the recovery is way worse than the pregnancy?!” Although I did have several complications from an emergency c-section, from what I’ve heard, recovering from tears can be just as difficult and miserable. Even if you have a smooth, uneventful, natural, drug-free labor, there is bound to be challenges and setbacks in the recovery process. Let’s face it, any method of a tiny human coming out of your body (and then your body adjusting to just being one person again) is going to have side effects.

There were just so many things that I had no idea would happen and wish someone had warned me about. Consider yourself warned, and get ready for some serious TMI. Here is what I think makes the recovery process harder than the baby-growing process:

1. Constipation. I’m not sure if this was from my surgery, drugs, or what, but let’s just say I didn’t realize you could go over a week without taking care of business. Those little stool softeners they send you home with are worthless. Unless you take several of them at once. And then it’s like labor all over again (plus various surgeries and stitches depending on your delivery).

2. Preparation for H? Yep, I’m going there. I don’t even think I fully knew what a hemorrhoid was before. Turns out if you try your hardest to push a baby out for 4 hours, you’ll find out what they are.

3. Cracked nipples. This sounds as awful as it is. I knew it would be an adjustment for those things to finally have a function and to have a little baby suckling at them at all hours of the day, but wow!  The words chapped, bloody, and scabbed should never be combined with nipples. Buy some lanolin, this will be your best friend.

4. Unexpected boob job. Apparently my boobs never got the message to regulate the whole milk production thing. I probably could have fed triplets, and if this happens again, I just might (via breastmilk donation). I was on the phone with a lactation consultant everyday. Engorged breasts was one of the most painful feelings. I seriously thought they were going to burst.

5. Emotional insanity. I never had postpartum depression, so I can’t imagine what those women go through, but I did have some intense baby blues for the first 2 weeks. I cried at EVERYTHING. I felt like a crazy woman and that something was wrong with me. Turns out it’s perfectly normal, just totally inconvenient.

6. General healing. Whether you had a c-section, third degree tear, or even a smooth delivery, there is going to be general recovering. Your body will be tired, sore, or in severe pain in certain areas. This makes simple tasks like standing, using the restroom, or changing a diaper much more difficult.

I call this time period the black hole of recovery. I’m excited to have my baby. But after going through this once before, I’m fully aware that it’s not going to be a walk in the park. Regardless of all the pain, irrational crying, uncontrollable milk spraying, and more, it is totally and completely worth it.




  1. Lauren, loved your recollections on recovery 1, and good luck with recovery 2! I think moms feel awkward sharing these “be prepared for” tips, especially with first time moms. Define irony right! The gals that need to know, go into the labor / delivery experience blissfully unaware, and only equipped with all the encouragement, cheerful faces and thumbs up from their friends! And maybe part of the recovery is blocking out or “forgetting” all the bad stuff! I like the “eyes wide- open” approach myself, so Lauren, YOU ROCK!

  2. Oh wow, I haven’t thought about the recovery in a while. Every time I see someone pregnant I get immediate baby-fever. Your post brought me back to reality. Totally worth it, but not something I need to rush!! Thanks!


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