Mom Talk: What I Didn’t Expect After Expecting

Written by

Ana Kamin

9:00 am

Photograph Courtesy Of Ana Kamin

We’re back with another round of “Mom Talk”, where we invite some incredible mothers, from all walks of life, to share their personal experiences and journeys through motherhood, whether it be struggles, triumphs, or anything in-between—nothing’s off limits when it comes to topics. This week,  Ana Kamin talks how she felt overwhelmed and underprepared to navigate her life and changes to her body post-baby. -JKM

I have attended seven classes to prepare both mentally and physically for labor. During these lessons, I sponged up all that there is to know about delivery. I trained on how to cope with pain the natural way. I even meditated, while holding ice cubes. I was ready; labor could come. And, it did come, unexpectedly painful as reported by the many before me—almost mind-numbingly so—but I got through it. After 30 hours with a toolbox loaded full of tips and tricks, an efficient medical team, and an amazing husband, we were holding our precious 9.4 pounds of sunshine.

In the U.S., labor takes about 20 hours on average from start to finish. And, yes, it hurts—no matter how medicated you are or not. Labor is a painful, special, beautiful moment that changes lives, but then it’s over—just like that. And, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to downplay the importance of being prepared for birth, but what happens after delivery? What happens after the magic of being a mom-to-be and the adrenaline of labor wears off? For me, having to navigate the waters of being a new mom—usually sleep deprived—and all the wonderful, yet exhausting challenges that come with it, felt staggering. I was overwhelmed by what little knowledge I had about postpartum life, specifically the changes that my body would experience in those moments after my delivery.

In between all the classes that prepared me for birth, I was never offered much knowledge on what would happen to my body post-delivery, and how to cope with that change. I was surprised by the lack of information I was given about the changes a woman’s body goes through in the first three months after birth, and I was disappointed by, may I say, the lack of interest in my wellbeing on the part of the medical system. There wasn’t a single class about how to manage or cope with the changes in my body. I picked up information here and there–mostly half-truths—from various blogs and websites. And, did I do kegels? Yes. I also read about the ever-common pelvic floor pain, that my bladder would never be the same, and that I should take sitz baths regularly, but there is so much more that happens beyond those few surface-level topics.

For example, I didn’t expect my breasts to become painful milk fountains for several months, nor did anyone mention the nightly chills—both hot and cold—that made tired nights even more tiring. I can’t even begin to talk about what was going on “down there”. In fact, no one really knew what was happening with my lady bits for several long weeks. The healing process was painful, to say the least, and yet the first check-up for a new mom happens only after six weeks. I was stunned, and I was sure there had to be a scheduling mistake.

There’s also the good old weight issue. The weight that didn’t go away despite everyone enthusiastically insisting, “Oh, you’re breastfeeding? The pregnancy fast will melt all that away!” No, it didn’t. And, it won’t for everyone. I also have to admit: it really bothered me that people were shaming and labeling me as vain when I would say that I’d like to lose my baby weight sooner rather than later. The well-meaning comments such as, “But, you created a small human being,” really kept me quiet, but ultimately made me sad, too. Am I not allowed to wish my pre-pregnancy body and strength back without being stamped superficial? I was hoping for a conversation, but all I got was a crystal ball prediction that my weight would come off, just like that. Somewhere along the way I started asking myself, “Why isn’t there more preparation for the time after delivery, which in my opinion, is the most important time for both baby and mom?”

We read so much. We’re influenced by social media about how a mom should look post-delivery, but we don’t really get prepared. There are few good books and resources out there supporting new moms, but I wish it would be a standard available to all new mothers, not an exception. So, I’m turning to you, dear Mother readers. How did you best learn to navigate life and body after your baby arrived?

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Leave a Comment


Catherine Hess

Will you share the books you found helpful? I’m due in October and also very worried about some of the same things. Help! :) Also thanks for sharing.


The short truth – I didn’t. I failed a million times and after 6 months I stopped viewing it as failing. My job was to take care of this little person. And taking care of him for me meant that I had to ask for help.


I agree 100%, we don’t get prepared for what comes after, it’s a shame. I was lost too


Oh my gosh, I kept thinking the same thing! After having my son I just couldn’t believe there was nothing, no real support for the emotional changes, and even very minimal support for the physical changes I was going through. I don’t understand how some sort of counseling isn’t the norm for mothers. Is it anywhere else? Fortunately we had free lactation consulting at our hospital, I Loved the consultant, she was was so sweet and incredibly helpful. I also ended up just texting my girlfriends a lot, that time period is such a sleepy, hazy memory now. Thank-you for communicating this!


“Nurture” by Erica Chidi Cohen goes into postpartum healing/issues so incredibly well. The entire book is literally a balm for the pre and postnatal soul. Thanks for writing this! I’m 3 months postpartum and those first few weeks with my little one were some of the hardest of my life. Your body is so depleted of strength and energy and it just continues to snowball for a while, but most of it passes with time. No one spoke about organ prolapse or how painful sex can be (even 6 weeks postpartum when you’re “supposed” to be healed enough to resume such activities. *eyeroll*) during any of my classes. Also, can we talk about how many women have to return to work within weeks (sometimes days) of giving birth?!


The book The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou really helped me, and I give to expecting moms now — it really helped to give me permission to slow down after giving birth — which, as a Type A person who hates failure, I really needed.

Elizabeth Wood

Some of the most helpful resources I have found are: The Fourth trimester by Kimberly Johnson, The First Forty Days by Heng Ou, and Building Your Nest workbook by Kestrel Gates.

Lucy R

SUCH an important conversation to start. We prepare so heavily for what is really such a short event (labour and birth), and this is so empowering and important. And yet if only we had such support and education for those early days of motherhood, whether first time or fifth. Here’s hoping openness like this can change the tide. And if I ever have another baby (number two is probably our final baby) then I’ll be heading straight for Tge First Forty Days and making all my family and friends read it too!


And we wonder why “Self Care” does not come naturally to most women, especially mothers. When medical professionals, who know what is about to come, do not empower women with the knowledge to care for themselves postpartum, it sends a strong message. It’s a domino effect that needs to change. Thank goodness for conversations like this that help to fill the gap!


You are right, we are not prepared to the AFTER birth, which is really the BEGINNING of our motherhood. It is such a hard, bumbling time. The first poop, and then the intense emotions … I didn’t know what was happening to me the first time and I had had a “perfect” birth. I just want to chime in and say you are not vain for wanting to lose the baby weight. YES you grew a human, what a miracle! And, YES, you are a woman entitled to your own desires and reflections of yourself. It is so difficult to talk about becoming a mother without feeling judged. I don’t know a quick solution, but I do HEAR you and I think that is what most of us want: to be heard.