25 Things I Didn’t Know Happened After Giving Birth

Nine months I spend preparing myself for the day of giving birth. I was mentally and physically ready (Although, I thought I was. But that topic deserves another post) I went to centering pregnancy, took breathing technique lessons and read about hypnobirthing. The big day of giving birth came and after a sixteen-hour rollercoaster of emotions and pain, my baby was out. I survived the most anticipated day. I knew it was going to be hard, painful and intense and I thought that was it. I finally made it to my last chapter of the childbirth lessons book. But, it turned out that a lot of things happen before you even leave the hospital that I didn’t learn in class, and no one ever mentioned. I’m going to share those things with you. Not to scare you, but to prepare you. Here they are: 

  1. As soon as my baby was out and on my chest, I felt overwhelmed. Tired of pushing and not understanding what was happening.
  2. The umbilical cord was still attached to the baby and placenta. The cord feels very warm and weird.
  3. I immediately lose my heavy pregnant belly, but I still looked like when I was 20 weeks pregnant.
  4. The black line which divides the belly decided to stay with me. I have read that it might stay for some indefinite time. I still have it after 15 weeks PP.
  5. After the nurses and doctors have seen me naked and vulnerable, I lost all the modesty. I wasn’t ashamed of anything anymore.
  6. As soon as the baby is out (actually since the pushing part begins) I started to lose blood. A lot! The bleeding doesn’t stop up until six weeks PP. Some women are lucky and bleed less, some other bleed longer. But you will bleed for sure.
  7. The first time walking from the hospital bed to the shower feels painful and shaky. It might be only five steps but it can feel like hundred meters.
  8. Showering feels actually very good. It might be painful to shower standing. You can ask your partner or a nurse to bring you a chair and put some towels to sit on.
  9. The first-time peeing. Not only pee but also blood and a lot of other weird looking stinky fluid comes out of your precious body. It doesn’t hurt, and the water just comes out without needing to put any pressure. But it can be surprising to see where all those fluids come from. At home, it might be more convenient to pee in the shower and clean yourself with water afterward.
  10. The first-time pooping is scary. The muscles are very sore and because of the pushing work, you will lose sensibility on your back door. This causes that you won’t really feel that you are pooping but you are actually doing it. This sensation (or lack of) can last a couple of days or even weeks. My tip: eat a lot of fiber in order to have a good digestion. And not have any constipation problem.
  11. You won’t be able to control your farts. So yes, the farts will come out without you even noticing. Only the smell will betray you. The smell is worse than when you have a heavy stomach disease. I guess the smell is a combination of blood, poop and your body recovering. This situation can last for weeks. At some point, you will get used to it and let the gas out without apologies.
  12. Sitting down on the bed or on a chair is very painful. If you had an episiotomy it’s going to be even more painful. The pain might take days or even weeks to go away completely.
  13. A couple of hours after giving birth, a nurse will help you to hand express milk for your baby. Because you don’t have any modesty you just let her hand press your tender breasts.
  14. Breastfeeding might be painful in the beginning. You can have blisters and it can get bloody. Everyone will tell you to just hang in there and you will like to punch everyone in the face. But the pain will go away indeed. My tip: shower with warm water and massage your breasts. Before wearing your bra put some Lanolin on your nipples. If you still have a lot of pain, try a nipple shield.
  15. The first days PP you will still feel little contractions every time you are breastfeeding. This is because the uterus is slowly shrinking back down to its pre-birth size.
  16. Breastfeeding is exhausting. The first days, you will need to feed your baby every three to four hours. This is in order to get your production going on. You wake up often because newborns normally sleep just a little. If you are lucky, your baby will sleep longer at night for a couple of days on. I wasn’t so lucky and my baby woke up every three hours (day and night!) to eat until she was around twelve weeks old.
  17. The lack of sleep and the hormones will make you think that you are crazy. You might wake up in the middle of the night and not remember if you already fed your baby or just dreamed it.
  18. Some nights you might be so tired you’ll consider letting your baby cry a little bit longer to wake up feeling like the worst mother in the world. Just remember it’s not you. It’s the lack of sleep talking. Consider asking for help so that you can catch up some sleep during the day.
  19. You will get hot. Not the good looking hot, but the one that makes you wake up in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat.
  20. Your breast might leak while you are sleeping. Since you are already in a pool of sweat why not add more liquids to it, right?
  21. You won’t be able to sleep on your stomach for a couple of days or weeks PP. If (like me) this is what you miss the most while you’re being heavily pregnant, I have bad news. The first days PP it’s very painful to sleep on the stomach due to the engorged breasts. If you continue breastfeeding it stays uncomfortable to sleep on the stomach.
  22. If you got an episiotomy, around the fourth day PP, the stitches will hurt a lot. More than the days before. So much that you will wake up crying thinking that you can’t deal with this anymore. As soon as the stitches start healing they pull the skin together and this feels like a burning sensation. This pain will eventually go away. Make sure you put cold compresses and leave your wound aired.
  23. You might miss your pregnant belly and won’t be able to make the link to the baby and the missing the belly.
  24. You might not miss your pregnant belly and be the happiest person again. And that is totally fine. (My case 😉 )
  25. You might feel depressed and find this is too much for you to handle. This is totally normal. Try to recognize these feelings and ask for professional help.

 

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Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

This list is made out of my postpartum experience. Remember that this is different for every woman. Don’t be freaked out by my list, but be prepared for some heavy days full of discomfort and pain. After the pain is gone and you can fully enjoy your new family it will feel like it was all worth it.

With Love,

Alisson

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Sexy And Sustainable Made Undies

Cheap underwear is made from synthetic fabrics. Mostly polyester and nylon. These fabrics are loaded with chemicals that  are not bad for your health, ‘apparently’.  The garment workers who made such underwears are suffering and not getting paid enough to make our €2,- panties. We need to stop buying cheap undies. And whether it’s healthy or not we need to stop rubbing toxic chemicals on our most sensitive parts.

I admit it. My underwear drawer contains a lot of cheap H&M and Victoria’s Secrets panties. Those purchases were from before my conscious time. Now that I have been slowly replacing my wardrobe with ethical brands, the time has come to start having underwears from sustainable materials. I started my research and have been adding quality underwear to my drawer. While ethical and slow fashion is growing by the minute there are also new brands making ethical lingerie that do more than keep you comfy. I have gathered five of my favorite underwear companies for you:

1. Erlich Textil

Erlich is based in Cologne, Germany. They make timeless and sexy lingerie with responsible materials. They work with a family-owned textile manufacturer in Romania. The producers they work with use the GOTS standard (Global Organic Textile Standard), ÖkoTex100 certification and carries the BSCI seal of quality (Business Social Compliance Initiative). The BSCI is an organization that works to protect workers’ rights. The garments are made of organic cotton or modal.

2. Anekdot

Anekdot makes ethical underwear and beachwear. The boutique is based in Berlin. The complete process from sketch to finished garment is hand-craft in the studio in Berlin. In the process, they upcycle and use leftovers of fabric as much as possible. They only make the garments they can with the fabrics they have. That’s why the stock is very limited. Their designs are sexy and bold.

3. Troo

Slow and responsible fashion is at the core of the founders of Troo: Nic and Steff Fitzgerald.  For them it is very important to partner up with young designers that also share the same beliefs. Producing beautiful and sexy undies that are responsible as possible with the environment and with the garment workers. The brand of their bralettes is called: Nette Rose. Designed and produced by Megan Miller. All the pieces are handmade in Cape Town (from the same country where the founders of Troo are from). The boutique is based in Switzerland.

4. WORON

WORON is a Scandinavian Brand based in Copenhagen, founded by sisters Arina and Anya Woron. They make comfortable and timeless garments. The fabrics they use are all plant-based. A combination of European produced modal and organic cotton are in all of their pieces. The garments are made in a family owned factory in Hungary. The factory has the ÖkoTex and GOTS certifications. Hungary has a strict working regulations both in terms of minimum wages and working standards. The factory is mostly run by women, employing mainly women and they offer additional benefits for working mothers. (Yeah!)

5. Comazo

Comazo is a German family business. They only use organic cotton for their garments. All the labels as well, sewing threads, and the buttons meet the GOTS standard. Comazo understand bra’s. They know which cup size you can make with organic cotton and when more cup seams are needed for extra support. The straps are slightly wider so it won’t cut into the skin. Due to the soft materials and the careful production process, without chemicals, the Comazo underwear is suitable for people with allergies or sensitive skin.

Which one is your favorite?
Look at the whole list of sustainable underwear brands in my shopping guide.

With Love,
Alisson

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52 WEEK HAPPINESS PLANNER REVIEW

Living far away from my friends and family it’s hard. I have been writing a diary to help me to cope with the loneliness and all the thoughts in my head. Besides my blank book, I wanted to have another kind of diary with motivational quotes, and that’s when I found: The 52 Week Journal from The Happiness Planner. As the name says, this book is a 52-week journal, not an everyday diary.  This one is good for setting weekly goals and reflect on a weekly basis. To be honest, I have

As the name says, this book is a 52-week journal, not an everyday diary.  This one is good for setting weekly goals and reflect on a weekly basis. To be honest, I have been bad at keeping my diary but I thought this weekly journal will be easier for me to keep up so I decided to try it.

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The journal comes in a box, with extra sheets for years resolutions, habits and goals. The notebook itself it’s 23cm x 16,5cm. It’s a good size for taking on your bag if necessary. The first pages of the book are for you to fill out before getting started. You have to write down what are the things that make you happy and rate them from 1 to 5, you have to recognize your strengths and write them down as well as the things that upset you. These questions of the first pages allow you to reflect on yourself. To me, it felt weird to write about the things that upset me. But when I was done, I realized how unimportant those things really are. The same with writing down things that made me happy. At first, I didn’t know what to write but when I began I couldn’t stop. This made me more aware of the things that I love to do and that I should do more often.

 

Once you are done with the first pages, you will get to the weekly page. Each week, you have a page to fill out. There you write down your weekly personal and work goals, the things you’re excited about and the happy things that you will do that week. There is also a day to day guide, where you can write down your plans and to-dos for that week.

 

When the week is over, before starting a new week, you will find an evaluation sheet. In there you write down the highs and lows of the week, what you’re thankful for, what you learned, and what you want to improve on. It also includes a little rating box where you can circle how you felt that week. I made a routine to write down my weekly planning every Monday and to review my past week.

Since I started with this planner, I feel that I start my week with a more positive attitude, even if unexpected stressful things happen. I like that there is a weekly quote, I secretly like quotes since I´m a teenager. By starting my week like this I am more aware of the happy things that also happened that week.

Since I committed to this journal I feel more aware of doing the things that make me happy rather than just relying on happy things to happen.

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The 52 Week Journal is not dated, you can get started with it at any point in the year you want. You can get it through The Happiness Planner’s website.

With Love,
Alisson

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