Motherly Collective

There is a lot that I didn’t know before having a baby. We can’t know everything, but being a little more informed about the below topics might have made it a little easier for me. 

Here are four things I didn’t realize would change after baby.

1. My anxiety 

I didn’t know I’d feel so overwhelmed, irrational, and overstimulated as a parent. After my first baby, I remember thinking my husband was going to leave me. Not because he said he was going to or did anything to make me feel that way, but because I was so overwhelmed that I worried he felt the same way and wanted to bail. He didn’t want to bail, but he was overwhelmed too. The transition from zero kids to one kid is so tough. It’s a lot of other great things, but I was so not prepared for the anxiety. I continue to create a lot of awareness for myself, up my communication with my husband, and build up my coping skills toolbox.

2. My boobs and pelvic floor

My boobs changed, and suddenly I was also experiencing incontinence. Three kids and years of pumping and breastfeeding later, I am mourning the loss of my boobs. I never thought they would change this much, this fast, but I’m working on gratitude and acceptance with that. 

Now, on to incontinence. After my second baby, I couldn’t hold my pee anymore, and it was awful. I wore a liner for about a year, and my self-confidence tanked. I felt gross and embarrassed. After a year, I finally made an appointment with my OB-GYN to discuss options. I had never heard of a pessary before, but it changed my life. There are other options for incontinence you can discuss with your OB-GYN too. According to the Urogynecology University of Colorado (2022), 4 in 10 women experience urinary incontinence, or involuntary loss of urine, during and following pregnancy. If you are reading this and experiencing it too, you are not alone, and there are solutions.

3. My sex drive 

I noticed a difference in my sex drive for almost a full year while breastfeeding my second child. I honestly had no idea that my sex drive would decrease after having a baby and during breastfeeding. Not knowing this was normal, I felt like something was wrong with me, and my husband didn’t understand it either. According to the Mayo Clinic, hormone changes during pregnancy, after having a baby and during breastfeeding can affect your sex drive. Having this information before baby would have been extremely helpful for both my husband and myself.

4. My (new) self

I was four different sizes throughout pregnancy and postpartum. After each baby, it took me about a year to feel like some version of “me” again. My wardrobe suddenly revolved around breastfeeding/pumping friendly shirts and comfortable pants on a belly after a C-section. I didn’t have time for things I did before. My day revolved around a tiny human. I am so thankful to have my kids, but I can be grateful and grieve the loss of my old self simultaneously, and so can you. One stage of grief is acceptance, and the hope is that there is some acceptance at some point. Spend time on you and figure out what that means to you. I am still working on that.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.