It was a rainy Thursday afternoon. The morning was made up of obstacle courses, tears, legos, tears, painting, yelling, tears, a stroller walk to let off steam and to see some construction vehicles, and then of course some tears. Rice Krispie treats were mentioned at lunch (no idea where that came from) which led to excessive excitement followed by excessive disappointment after finding out that we did not have marshmallows in the house. Thank goodness that Target actually offered marshmallows as an option for drive-up pick-up! Oh my goodness...our afternoon might actually end up smoother than the morning! So, as soon as the youngest woke up from his nap, we piled in the car to go get our Target marshmallows. When we found out the order was not fulfilled yet, I let the boys out of their carseats to roam the vehicle. Snacks were everywhere, music was blaring, windows were going up and down. It was all I could do to keep the doors locked and the windows up (it was still pouring outside). I did not think about the fact that I drank a large iced coffee while we were home and a liter of water...it was not long before I was attempting to hold it. We waited for 45 minutes when I realized that I couldn’t wait any longer. I was faced with a difficult decision. Do I brave the rain and a global pandemic by entering the Target with both boys (who will touch EVERYTHING) or do I figure out another way? I decided to get creative. I peed in a cup. Then I dumped it out of the door into the pouring rain. End of story. My three year old asked what I was doing and I was honest. To which he said “Mommy, it’s going to overflow.” I share this to reiterate the intensity in which I needed to go. I rationalized to myself that I am demonstrating gender equality and resourcefulness to my sons. Heck yeah!
That is my very long personal story only to say that there are challenges we face both during pregnancy and postpartum that are not as openly discussed. As mamas, we often laugh off some of the complications as though they must be our new norm, but they do not have to be. These physical struggles only exacerbate our emotional and mental health as well. If we are always worrying about how often we need access to a bathroom, then we end up frequently on edge and anxious. Our bodies, minds, and emotions are all connected in so many ways! This list is definitely not all encompassing, but some of those most prevalent that are not as readily talked about.
#1 Postpartum Depression & Postpartum Anxiety - overwhelming sadness, intrusive thoughts that won’t stop and impact daily functioning, excessive worry, passive or active thoughts about harm to self or baby
#2 Pelvic Floor Dysfunction - feeling the urge to go and difficulties holding it, discomfort or pain during sex, ongoing pressure in the pelvic area or rectum
#3 Constipation - self-explanatory, difficulties moving bowels
#4 Mastitis & Clogged Ducts - clogged breast ducts can become infected and turn into mastitis, an area of the boob can become red, swollen, and hard as a rock, excruciating pain during breastfeeding, fever, aches and pains. My experience developing mastitis developed super quickly. Within 24 hours, I developed a high fever, had chills, and felt like I had the flu. Definitely call your Doc!
#4 Diastisis Recti - separation of the abdominal muscles.
I am not a PCP, OBGYN, or Physical Therapist, so these symptoms are not clinically described above. They are simply my understanding of the complications. If you feel like you may be experiencing one or all of them, call your Doc. TMI is nonexistent at this point in our lives! I would encourage you to share the good, the bad, and the gross. Women’s Health Physical Therapy is a great resource (https://www.obgyn-physicaltherapy.com/). Rest assured, you are not destined to pee your pants every time you do a jumping jack!