Oh hi, that’s fifty percent of my male audience disengaging. Well listen up guys, you should be interested. Because once your partner has a baby, if she texts you asking to pick her up a box of tampons its not because she has forgotten to get them whilst she’s out gallivanting. It’s because she’s dragged the baby to two different shops, which didn’t stock the right brand, and now the baby is screaming because its getting late for lunch and all there is in the basket are Ella’s kitchens crisps and BABE JUST PLEASE BUY ME SOME TAMPONS BECAUSE I’M WEARING A FUCKING NAPPY AS A PAD RIGHT NOW OK?!*
I don’t know about you but the nine months of not bleeding whilst pregnant was bliss. Absolute bliss. Periods are just such a faff aren’t they? And I can’t be the only unorganised one who always ends up scrabbling in the bottom of bag and pockets to find a rogue tampon because guess what, I forgot to buy them yet again. I should just Costco that shit, bulk buy and get a crate of Lil-lets in the garage.
You would think your fanny gets enough punishment whilst pregnant. Did you know you can get varicose veins in your labia? From the pressure that a baby puts down there? Thankfully I dodged that particular bullet – however I can confirm that towards the end of pregnancy it feels like you have a bowling ball wedged in between your legs. And then there’s the whole pushing the baby out, which leaves your poor downstairs bruised and battered and probably stitched together like some second rate Frankenstein.
So after all that, you would think mother nature would give us a break right? Well hell no, because sometimes mother nature is a bitch. Post-partum periods have been a bit of a shitter so far, so I thought I might break down for you what to expect…
Breastfeeding & Post-partum periods
Super exciting news if you are breastfeeding ladies. The hormone that stimulates milk-making can also suppress menstruation. If you are exclusively breastfeeding this means that you may not get your periods back for a good long while. I think it was around the six month mark when I got my first period after giving birth, so yep that was a nice little break. However I have heard of women not getting theirs back for up to a year – so it does vary from individual to individual.
Once you get your period back, it can be irregular – again due to those breastfeeding hormones. I highly recommend getting an app such as Ovia or something similar to track your periods. You may find that what is irregular, actually becomes regular – does that make sense? So I started on 45 day cycles, and this slowly decreased so now is about 34 days – very close to my previous cycles. By using the app I was more aware of this gradual decease so (in theory because yes, I’m hella unorganised) I am less likely to be caught unawares!
Do not do what I did and assume that your cycles would be back to normal. Because after my first period post-baby I suddenly realised that SHIT I hadn’t had one for six weeks and oh god I couldn’t be pregnant again could I? Some quick calculations later and I was pissing on a stick again, praying that this time it was negative. Thankfully it was, I do not think I could cope with two of the little critters right now!
Exciting new PMS symptoms
The first period I had post baby, I came downstairs to where D was giving R breakfast and turned off all the lights and closed the curtains. I couldn’t open my eyes beyond a slit because the light hurt them so so badly. R’s little squeaks of happiness to see me were like waves crashing through my head. The pain was so difficult to focus through that I could barely think or concentrate to speak. I asked D to give me an hour, went back to bed with painkillers hoping I would feel better but nope. Waking up a hour later, the light and noise was making me feel physically sick, and D ended up taking a ‘family day’ off work because I was unable to look after R. It was a migraine and I’d never felt anything like it before. Every sensation was painful and all I could do was sleep it off, lay down in the dark bedroom until it went. Even then it left me feeling totally wiped out.
I didn’t connect it to my period until the following month, when it happened again. I was in tears of pain and frustration, feeling awful. Feeling doubly awful because I couldnt look after my baby.
And once again all I could do was lie down in a dark room and sleep it off.
My mum asked if it was connected to my period when I told her I had been having migraines, so I googled it (natch) and sure thing. Hormonal migraines are a thing. Oh joy of joys. So that’s something really fun.
Thankfully I have just got through shark week with no migraine – although I have still been in need of a lot of sleep. I don’t know if it will stay that way but I hope so – the migraines were really awful.
A Change in What Sanitary Products You Use
Now this is something I was considering before falling pregnant, but after reading Alice Anne’s post on it, I have 100% been converted to the idea. I’m going to try a menstrual cup. If you don’t know what this is, its a little silicone cup that you pop up your vagina, it forms a seal, collects the menstrual blood, and then you take it out, rinse it before putting it back in and you are good to go. It’s a reusable product, unlike the disposable tampons and pads I have always used before.
The reasons I want to try this are twofold. Firstly since having R things have felt a bit different down there, not surprising really considering the ordeal it has been through! Whilst breastfeeding R I had (oooh this is a lovely thing to share on the internet) vaginal dryness, again down to those breastfeeding hormones, which made tampons pretty painful. Stopping breastfeeding has helped, but it just doesn’t feel quite right. I’ve never been 100% au fait with tampons anyway, annoying little cotton buggers.
Secondly, when your black bin fills up at a rate of knots with dirty nappies you really start to question your environmental impact. We have gone through SO MANY NAPPIES. It’s shocking. I don’t think I am prepared to go 100% cloth bummed for R – I know I know. Its the ease and convenience of them. However it has shocked me, so I am starting to try and find ways to make our family more environmentally friendly. A menstrual cup would definitely be one of those ways.
There we go folks, the bloody honest truth about post-partum periods. Again, this is just my experience – but be prepared for them to change after having a baby. I’d love to hear your experiences, especially if you have switched to using a cup!
*you should be A-OK with buying her tampons anyway. I bet she buys you essentials such as toilet paper right?