Worse than labor

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People often compare their worst experiences to labor. Well, for me, post partum healing was worse than labor. I’m serious! The week and weeks that followed labor were really, really, really hard. I talk to moms now and they all agree. Post partum recovery is really difficult. I just don’t understand why no one talks about it though. I feel like I should have known. Someone should have told me. So here’s my warning to others. Be prepared!!! So what was so painful? Pretty much all my exit holes. Yup—relieving myself of any and all waste was excruciatingly painful. I swear, going to the bathroom was like going into labor every time. O man… Here are a list of items that really helped me:

  • A Sitz bath. My husband ordered one for me about a week before I gave birth. He read about how it can help. I didn’t think I would need one. A month after giving birth, I’m still using it daily, if not twice a day. I poured warm water with epsom salt and a drop of lavender oil and sat once a day for at least 15 minutes. Really helped cleanse and soothe. 
  • Epsom Salt and/or regular salt. I used this in my sitz bath. I also did a hot salt water compress on my hemorrhoids which really helped them go away much faster.
  • Lavender essential oil. It contains 30% linolal, which is a natural germ fighter, helps soothe the woman region, smells wonderful, and relaxes you.
  • Tucks pads. Great for if you have hemorrhoids. (I had them before and during pregnancy. Labor made them TERRIBLE—they looked like some sort of animal growing out of my a-hole).
  • Witch hazel. Great for cleansing and making cold pads with.
  • Maternity, post partum pads. I didn’t deliver in the hospital so I assume they give these to you there. They are pads..but are much softer. The rough texture of regular store bought pads are NOT nice on the sensitive womanly areas after giving birth. These maternity pads are super soft. Before labor, I prepped about 20 of them—i poured witch hazel onto them and put them all in a ziplock bag and froze them. Immediately after birth I used these and they gave me tons of relief! 
  • Depends. Yes—those cotton undie diapers you thought you’d never have to use until you were on your death bed. I had 2 of them given to me. And yes, I assumed I wouldnt need them. But OMG—they were the best things ever after giving birth. TRUST ME.
  • Regular pads. You’ll be bleeding and leaking for weeks.
  • Gauze. I liked using gauze sometimes to help cleanse my womanly area. I just felt like it was more sanitary than toilet paper at times.
  • Belly Bandit. I got this from a friend at my baby shower. I started using it a week post partum. Really helped suck my waist in, support my back, and feel like it almost held my organs in place. I even slept with this thing on because it was really so much more comfortable. Without it, I felt like my insides were just moving around everytime I moved. 
  • Lasinoh Breast pads. If you’re breast feeding, this is a must. You can use disposable breast pads or reusable ones. For now I’m using disposable ones because I’m afraid of getting a yeast infection. I plan to make some reusable ones though…once my milk flow is a little more regulated. 
  • Lanolin. My sister and cousin freaked me out early on about nipple pain and mastitis. Your nipples pretty much have to become desensitized to the baby’s suckling and often times women experience cracked or bleeding nipples! And this is another thing women will compare to labor pain. So my cousin’s word of advice was to use Lanolin generously. I used it after every single feeding since the baby was born. Even with the lanolin there were about 8 feedings total where I used a nipple shield because my nipples felt raw. I used 1 small tube and it lasted me 3 weeks. After the 3 weeks my nipples were strong enough to withstand the suckling.92544
  • Nipple shield. Lactation consultants highly advise against using a shield before a consultation for fear that the baby will get used to the shield, or if the mom keeps using it, her nipple will not get used to the suckling. In addition, they want to make sure you get the right size. Nonetheless…I got one during pregnancy just to be on the safe side and honestly, it saved my sanity and nipples when I really needed it most. I tried my best not to use the shield but there were a few times I really needed relief from the baby’s sucking and the shield was amazing! I would say I have regular nipples and a size small was perfect. 

Thankfully, the pain eventually goes away. I’m 5 weeks post partum now and feel pretty good. My hemorrhoids are still healing but I think they’ll be here for a good while it seems. I’m just eating a lot of figs, prune juice, beans, and fiber to help them go away. LOVELY!

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Founder at Dymin Collective
Mindy Song is a mother of one, a video artist, and musician from Orange, CA. She is an advocate of social justice with interests in globalization, socio-economics, and the history of women’s rights in developing nations. By day she is a marketing specialist for a dental imaging company, milk pumper, and wannabe supermom. By night she is an asian fusion chef, art critic, and blogger.
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