Consider this your official warning. If you don’t want to hear about periods–and just to clarify if you didn’t get the hint in the title, I’m talking about menstruation here–you should probably stop reading this post.
It is partly a motherhood blog, after all, and if you learned anything from your elementary school “birds and the bees” conversation, you should know that a period is a part of the whole deal.
Dad, I’m giving you a fair warning.
Are they gone? Okay. Let’s get started.
Postpartum Periods: Revenge of the Menses
At this point, I should probably dedicate my blog to The Shining. It’s so diverse in its relevancy!
My first post-baby period came when Baby Brown Bear was eight months old. Even though I had been wondering when it would happen, even (stupidly) wanting it to come back, it was still a bit of a shock when it actually did. And at eight months, I recognize that I’m pretty lucky! Some moms get theirs back within weeks (and subsequently flip Mother Nature the biggest bird they can muster). As if you don’t have enough bleeding and trauma down there already. I mean, come on.
I have enough friends with babies that I knew that my period might be a little different or that it would suck having it again after nearly 18 months, but I just wasn’t prepared. Why is it that, you might ask? Well…
I’d Forgotten Some Things
Like buying supplies
When you don’t have a period for 17 months, it’s easy to lose track of buying things like tampons. When my period first started, and it came back roaring, I had to desperately rummage through all of our bathroom cabinets. After searching to the point of sweating, I finally discovered a lone, half-empty box of regular absorbency tampons and a handful of postpartum hospital pads. You know, the kind that are basically little pillow-sized adult diapers. I first tried the tampon, but let’s be real, it was like trying to plug a tailpipe with a toothpick. I suppose I’m lucky I had those diapers, because they really work. Pro tip: ask for a bunch of extras when you leave the hospital because you may need them when you forget to buy supplies several months down the road.
Like how hungry I get
Right after baby came, and while my hormonal body was adjusting to milk production, I was ravenous. I must have craved a burger and shake every two hours. That hunger eventually tapered off, though I still feel like I go from zero to 1,000 on the hunger scale if I wait too long between meals, and I returned to eating just slightly more than the average person. Well, lo and behold, when that first period came back, it’s like I morphed into a lumberjack coming home after chopping 65 logs. For a girl who genuinely loves vegetables, all I wanted was cake and chocolate and butterscotch and ice cream and salt and vinegar chips and pickles. And a burger for good measure.
Like how emotional I am
Another throwback to the hormonal shifts immediately following birth, I just wasn’t ready for the emotional roller coaster that comes with a period.
I’m sure my husband would have preferred I be locked up in a glass case.
My sister-in-law said she knows she’s about to be on her period when she feels rage. It’s an appropriate description, really, because I seem to turn from a lovable but slightly irritable woman into a violent, prehistoric sea monster awakened and empowered by nuclear radiation. Otherwise known as Godzilla.
This totally would have been me if I still had a job. Instead I had to resort to yelling at the dog. Baby Bear’s first words are destined to be, “No, Kaiser!” At full volume, nonetheless.
Like the gas
Like many other bodily issues, I had to wonder at first if this was a result of pregnancy or if it was just a period symptom I had long forgotten. When Google told me I must have a life threatening illness, I turned to friends who put my mind at ease and kindly reminded me that being a woman can suck.
Some Things Have Straight Up Changed
Like the fact that I’m feeding a human being
Baby Bear continues to eat more and more solids, but his primary food source is still breast milk. That means he’s attached to me for a good portion of the day. It also means that my body knows how much milk he typically needs in that day. Well, little did I know that period hormones can decrease milk production. I started to feel like I was starving my baby because I couldn’t rebound fast enough each time he wanted to eat. It frustrated him and it scared me. Plus, the taste can apparently change a little bit, which is yet another thing I didn’t realize could happen. Not only did I fear I wasn’t making enough, but half the time he would refuse me by dramatically gagging anytime I got near him. Thanks, Baby Bear. As if I didn’t feel bad enough already.
Like the unpredictability in its duration
Period, period, how it blows. When it stops, nobody knows.
I think I’ve made my point on this one.
Like the flow
Oh God, the flow. Having a baby turned my babbling brook of a period into a flood of damn near biblical proportions. Honestly it feels like I’m being punished for giving birth by having my body experience 17 months’ worth of periods all at once. Maybe time has helped me forget, but I seriously don’t remember ever being able to feel my period happen. On the positive side, I now know what I’d look like in a murder scene.
Is It Just Me?
If that’s the case, then man that sucks. However I have a feeling some of you may know what I’m talking about here. I suppose we should all be grateful that our bodies are functioning as they are supposed to–and I really am OVER THE MOON that my body allowed me to carry, birth, and care for my baby–but I think it’s okay to bitch every now and again.
What am I missing? Were you taken aback when it came for you?