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14 Things Women Wish They’d Known Going into Childbirth and Postpartum Recovery

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Pregnancy and childbirth come with their fair share of mysteries. Many women have experienced it; therefore, you’d expect the mysteries to be demystified by anyone who comes after them. However, some women still find themselves on the clueless side of things. Luckily, [or painfully] motherhood is a good eye-opener.

An online community discussed things about birth or labor and having a newborn they didn’t know about and wished someone had informed them beforehand.

1. No Love At First Sight

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Some new moms feel guilty when they don’t instantly feel a love connection with their newborns. They don’t know that many moms feel that way, and it’s perfectly alright.

A Mom says, “I had heard this, but I still feel like it’s not talked about enough – it’s pretty common to not feel in love with your baby right after birth.”

Birth trauma, medication, or other external factors may leave a mother feeling more exhausted than elated, and meeting this little stranger for the first time doesn’t always make a new mom giddy with love. But the connection comes eventually.

2. There’s A Proper and Improper Latch

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Breastfeeding is not just stuffing the boob in the baby’s mouth; many new moms make this painful discovery after weeks of engorged breasts.

One online user says, “The baby should be taking more than just the n***le in her mouth. You should feel a deep tugging in your breast. Otherwise they aren’t getting enough boob in there and your nipples will crack and feel like someone rubbed them with sandpaper.”

The whole breast and the areola must be in the baby’s mouth; that’s the proper latch.

An OB nurse advises, “We do something called the “n***le sandwich,” where you gently pinch a sizable amount of areola and stuff it in the baby’s mouth like a sandwich. Works pretty well most of the time.”

3. Breast Milk Can Be A lot

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Just how much breast milk does a new mom produce? One lucky mom discovered that it can be a lot.

She narrates, “What shocked me was how much milk I made. After birth, your boobs get like… rock-hard. And they slowly become a bit softer, and your milk production, once it gets going, is insane!”

She tested it rather hilariously by shooting milk up to 15 feet ahead and then shooting it at her spouse.

4. Breast Milk Can Vanish

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The other side of the breast milk coin is that you could get a baby, and the breast milk flight gets delayed or canceled.

An online forum contributor says, “I was surprised at how I had almost no milk. Pumping and lactation specialist visit later, there was still almost no milk. I remember feeling crushed about this at the time as I felt there was something wrong with me, like I was already a bad mom.”

You’re not a bad mom if the milk delays or doesn’t come at all.

5. Contractions Happen Even After Delivery

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If you didn’t know it, contractions don’t end when the baby gets out of your body. Your uterus continues to contract weeks after delivery, which also comes with quite some pain.

One mama shares, “Afterbirth pains are hell. Contractions all over again, even though there’s nothing to push it out and they have no pattern, they just hit and keep going until they decide they are done.”

They’re usually worse when breastfeeding as the uterus contracts.

6. Placenta Delivery Can Be Painless

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Delivery is scary because of all the associated pain, but one pain you shouldn’t worry about is delivering the placenta.

An online conversation contributor says, “Don’t worry about delivering the placenta. It doesn’t hurt, even though your body has just gone through hell. It’s squishy, don’t stress.”

That’s a relief, isn’t it? Not for some, though.

7. Labor Isn’t Always Obvious

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You’ve read the books and the blogs and are sure you will know how your labor will go, right? Not quite. You may not know when the labor starts, as it’s all different from woman to woman.

One user says, “You don’t always know when you go into labor. I have heard so many times that when it’s the real thing you’ll know. Not always. I waited so long with my first that she was almost born in an ambulance because I wasn’t sure that I was in labor and everyone told me that if I wasn’t sure, I probably wasn’t.”

8. “Other Stuff” Discharge

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Lochia [vaginal discharge you have after delivery] isn’t always only blood. Don’t be alarmed if you notice a discharge that doesn’t look exactly like your period.

A mom shares, “The stuff that comes out of your body after birth is not just blood. Everyone always talks about how bad the bleeding is, but there is so much “other” stuff, as well.”

9. Tearing In Any Direction

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An online conversation contributor says, “Your vagina can tear in any direction.”

That sounds scary, and it is, but the good thing is the stitching helps you heal back up.

A Mom shares, “There’s so much focus on perineal tearing, aftercare, and prevention. No one told me I could tear up until I was 8 minutes postpartum, and my OBGYN was explaining that I had torn all the way up to my urethra, and she had to stitch me up.”

10. Baby Blues Are Real

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Childbirth can lead to some mental struggles, and some women experience postpartum depression.

One user shared her experience, “Sure, all the usual get the baby to sleep things, but honestly, I had clear symptoms of post-partum for about 6 weeks, and NO ONE acknowledge[d]. I felt like I was going insane.”

Please talk to someone if you feel like this.

11. The Post-Delivery Constipation Can Be Legendary

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Bathroom breaks post-delivery can feel like labor all over again, only through the back door this time. To keep constipation at bay, take stool softeners.

12. Floppy Belly

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Your now-taught belly will adopt a saggy look after delivery, which may be scary for some people.

One online user says she wished she knew “That your belly will look like an empty garbage bag for a while. Freaked me out. Assumed it would look somewhat normal. Breastfeeding pulls it back in!”

13. Epidurals Are Great

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If you don’t want to experience labor pains, you can take an epidural and be just fine.

An online commenter says, “Epidurals are AMAZING. OM*G, don’t be a hero, ladies, the kid is coming out anyway it can.”

14. Newborns Don’t Poop A Lot

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All the diapers you’ve bought might not see baby poop for several days. Rather, they’ll be slowly working on pushing out a tar-like substance called meconium. Talk to your doctor about any concerns, but it can take several days, even weeks, for their little bodies to get in any kind of rhythm.


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