The 7 Stages of Breastfeeding No One Warns You About

You’ve decided to breastfeed even before the baby arrives, and so there you are shopping for nursing bras. Everything seems so exciting. You’ve “estimated your size” and feel you’ll have plenty of room once your milk comes in. Life is swell.

Then the baby comes.

After the baby gets here, your milk arrives shortly thereafter — unless it takes a hot minute, which can happen — and then everything is totally different than you imagined.

Here are the seven stages of breastfeeding — the good, the bad, and the ugly — that no one else will tell you about.

The ‘oh crap, my nursing bras are too small!’ stage

You thought you sized correctly but you didn’t, and the bras don’t fit. You can barely squeeze a nipple in that vaguely ’80s bra with unnecessary flowers and other grandmotherly details.

contain yourself in the Band-Aids — I mean, the nursing bras — you bought.

Read More: The 7 Stages of Breastfeeding No One Warns You About

Milk Does a Body Good,

Laura

5 Embarrassing Things That Happen to Your Body During Pregnancy

Everyone talks about all the same parts of pregnancy: feeling the baby move, morning sickness, swollen feet, ultrasound pics, gender-reveal parties or peeing in the middle of the night.

But no one tells you about the embarrassing parts: the giant moles that will grow on you, the hemorrhoids, the mood-changing labia.

Yup, you read that right, and no, I’m not smoking anything funny.

Here are the things that only your very close girlfriends might reveal to you and that pregnancy books will only display in the back of the book (or in small letters).

1. Hemorrhoids the size of a prune or, worse, a golf ball

I remember the day I felt that hemorrhoid. I thought that a part of my colon was dangling from my rear end. That, or I had another anus or a tail. I was pretty sure I was going to die or have a tail for the rest of my life. I’m not talking about a cute, fake Playboy bunny tail — I’m talking about the tail of my intestines.

Read More: 5 Embarrassing Things That Happen to Your Body During Pregnancy

It Can Be SO Gross!

Laura

These 4 Signs Might Mean You Have Postpartum Depression

(PPD) is more common than you’d think. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 to 20 percent of women who give birth have symptoms of it. What’s more, you can begin experiencing PPD up to a year after having a baby, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

But how do you know you have it? While each woman is different, there are consistent themes when it comes to symptoms, say Mary L. Rosser, M.D., Ph.D., director, department of obstetrics and gynecology, Montefiore Health System, and Allison Kurzman, M.D., psychiatrist and clinical instructor of psychiatry at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

You may experience one, a combination of a few, or all of the symptoms, although it varies by individual, according to Rosser and Kurzman. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, those who have experienced depression or bipolar disorder before, have a family history of mental illness, had medical complications during childbirth, or lacked emotional support from a partner, family, or friends during pregnancy could all be at an increased risk.

Read More: These 4 Signs Might Mean You Have Postpartum Depression

Are You Depressed?

Laura

8 Things Your Partner Will Do During Your Labor Instead of Being a Birth Coach

Your partner is so excited about having a baby that, at times, you feel as if they could totally bypass your involvement in the whole baby-making matter, except for the whole labor part (minor detail). Then during the labor, your partner sounds like a sportscaster and posts photos and updates to Facebook the entire time you writhe in pain. You were sort of hoping for a little help with those deep breaths and pushes . . . but sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Read through for eight things your partner will probably do instead of strictly being your birth coach while you’re in labor.

1. Be a sportscaster.

Your partner is probably going to be on their phone texting the play-by-play of your labor: OK folks, she’s about 3 centimeters dilated. Doctor thinks things are progressing well. But suddenly (fumble!) labor slows down. Doc says we may have to take next steps.

You’re probably going to sit there waiting for them to come do all that fun breathing and supportive stuff you saw in the birth class videos, but instead, it’s more like a round table of NFL chat.

Read More: 8 Things Your Partner Will Do During Your Labor Instead of Being a Birth Coach

Can’t Help Him/Herself,

Laura

What to Expect a Day, Week, and Month After Having a C-Section

When I had my C-section after 24 hours of labor and four-plus hours of pushing, I was terrified and had no idea what to expect. So I know first-hand that whether you choose to have a Cesarean or you end up needing one due to complications, it’s comforting to be armed with as much info as possible regarding the recovery process.

You may not be able to move much. If you had an epidural for the procedure and it was left in place, you’ll have limited activity, says Clark Johnson, M.D., an obstetrician at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. It’s usually taken out the first day post-op, though, so you should regain mobility pretty soon.

You could be in a ton of pain, or it might not be so bad. This will vary based on numerous factors, says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. These include: your own general health before the surgery, whether or not you were in labor beforehand, and whether or not the C-section was scheduled or an emergency one. You’ll be given pain meds every four to eight hours, depending on your level of discomfort, says Melissa Walsh M.D., ob-gyn attending physician, department of obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health in the Montefiore Health System.

Read More:What to Expect a Day, Week, and Month After Having a C-Section

It Takes Time to Heal:

Laura

6 Things That Will Happen INSTEAD of Your Birth Plan

You are seriously invested in having a beautiful birth! You read every baby, pregnancy, and birthing book that exists on the planet and know what your mucous plug does and how Braxton Hicks feel. By the end of your pregnancy, you could have coached the birthing class yourself and sometimes, you were the teacher’s pet. You told yourself you wouldn’t be afraid and could manage the pain. You were most articulate though with your birthing plan. You handwrote two copies to give to the nurses, who when you handed it to them, looked at you like you were not in labor, but indeed, smoking crack, as they walk away from you knowing your birth plan is simply another piece of paper!

No matter how you envision your birth plan going, here are a few things that will happen instead of that glorious experience you concocted!

1. Your Partner Will Fall Asleep at the Wheel 

Instead of being at your side cooing sweet nothings, counting as you breathe and reminding you “You can do it!” about halfway in, your partner will fall asleep. Your sweet vision of being some superbirthing duo falls to pieces in just three hours or less. You consider stabbing him or her in that peaceful slumber.

Or worse . . .

Read More: 6 Things That Will Happen INSTEAD of Your Birth Plan

Plans Always Fall Through,

Laura

That Bulge Above Your Belly Button Might Not Be a Food Baby, After All

Imagine this scenario: You’re a few months post-pregnancy when—bam!—you notice a bulge above your belly button. WTF is going on? Did your baby leave something behind? Nope. You might have something called diastasis recti.

What Is Diastasis Recti, Exactly?
“The condition happens when your abdominal rectus muscles separate and the tissue between the muscles thins,” says Melissa Walsh, M.D., ob-gyn, attending physician in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health at Montefiore Health System. While you may or may not notice a bulge above your belly button, there’s another test for diastasis recti: If you attempt to do a standard situp and place your fingers between your abdominal muscles, and feel at least two fingers (or two centimeters) difference between them, you could have this issue. The (sort of) good news is that although diastasis recti can be uncomfortable (sometimes causing lower back pain), it’s more of a cosmetic issue than a medical one.

Read More: That Bulge Above Your Belly Button Might Not Be a Food Baby, After All

Is it a Food Baby? Or Not?

Laura

Dear Daughter: Why You’re an Only

Dear daughter:

I can’t tell you this today. You are only 5 years old. There are some things you have to wait to understand. But lately, you keep asking me for a baby sister. It’s always a sister. On occasion with some of your friends who are boys, you’ll request a brother but for the most part, the menu is: baby sister, baby sister, and more baby sister.

Last Summer, one day as we ate our dinner outside, you asked me if I could make you a baby sister. When I told you it “didn’t exactly work that way,” you then tried to offer your own services to carry “one baby brother” and me “a baby sister.” When I tried to explain to you that it still doesn’t work that way, you offered grandma’s services. Too bad that it still doesn’t work that way.

Read More: Dear Daughter: Why You’re an Only

While You’re Planning, Life Happens,

Laura

4 Things C-Section Moms Don’t Want to Hear

I had a C-section. Not by choice, but because after four hours and counting of pushing, the baby was stuck. I took a break and tried again. Five hours later? Still no baby. So I had a C-section. It felt extremely weird lying there in a cross position. As a half-Jewish girl, I sort of felt like I was lying on a crucifix as they did the operation. The sensation of my organs being moved around was absolutely freaky, and afterwards, on my very first night in the hospital, I almost pooped myself because I couldn’t get up and my former husband was sleeping in the hospital visitor bed next to me. He couldn’t hear me trying to wake him to help me, but thankfully, a lovely nurse came and I didn’t make a show of myself. Poop crisis averted, only to lead to many poop crises brought to the world by my breastfeeding daughter. Oh, C-section! You were an interesting experience.

There are a few things, though, that as a woman who had a C-section, I would rather not hear from someone ever again.

Read More: 4 Things C-Section Moms Don’t Want to Hear

Ssh,

Laura

7 Things To NEVER Say To Someone Struggling With Infertility

Seriously. You’re not helping.

When someone experiences or goes through infertility, or pregnancy and infant loss, it’s very hard to tolerate just about anything someone might say. For a long time it can feel as if there are no correct words to help your heart heal, but on occasion, someone will say a gem that really makes you feel a little warmth and brightness during such a stressful and dark time in your life.

On the flip side, there are also the people who say things that you absolutely cannot believe another human being would have the balls to say to someone experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, grieving over the loss of a pregnancy or coping with a stillbirth.

If you or your loved ones are dealing with these heart wrenching issues, hand all the people you know and love this list of what NOT to say someone enduring fertility or pregnancy/infant loss.

1. “You can always adopt.”

After I miscarried, an old ex-friend of mine’s advice was “Well there are plenty of babies and kids looking for homes. You can always adopt.”

While that statement is true, number one, nowhere in that statement does it acknowledge the grief I experienced and number two: news flash sister: Not everyone can afford to adopt. I know I couldn’t back then and I still can’t! Throwing those words around is foolish. Adoption is a completely lovely way to grow your family, but not everyone is equipped to do so. Please, bite your tongue people.

Read More: 7 Things To NEVER Say To Someone Struggling With Infertility

Watch Your Tongue,

Laura