The bad, the worse, and…the ugly
This post is going to be straight to the point. It was pretty hilarious “styling” these photos, knowing what everything is used for. Hence why I didn’t really try to make it frilly and fancy; it’s not meant to be that way. Just like vaginas aren’t meant to smell like flowers. The media and Pinterest and the rise of the “instagram mom” (or influencers) have really tried to sell this image of pregnancy and motherhood being a perfect thing. They rarely talk about postpartum issues or show the true, unfiltered side of having a child. And even when they do, that is heavily curated.
There is absolutely zero way to sugar coat something like this or really even make it aesthetically pleasing. I’m gonna be honest with you; postpartum is not a beautiful time. It’s pretty gross on all fronts, not gonna lie. And most moms name the postpartum recovery period as the worst stage with a baby. Let’s make this easier on you, shall we? Here’s what you have to have in your postpartum basket (for a vaginal recovery):
Full disclosure, the hospital will give you a peri bottle to take home. My issue with that one is that it is a standard bottle with a drip tip. It’s hard to squeeze and angle to help spray the warm water to the areas that need relief. This time, I purchased an $8 upside down bottle off Amazon that has a sprayer angled specifically for your nether regions. Not to mention, it has way better gripping than the regular peri bottles, which makes it easier to hold. The last thing you want is to drop that sucker in the toilet.
Why You Need It: Your vaginal area will be extremely sore and you can’t wipe harshly during this time. Think of this as your own personal bidet. Fill it with warm water and spray it to flush out the bleeding then BLOT dry with toilet paper. (Emphasis on the blot!)
The hospital will not provide these for you (unless you’re delivering at some boujie hosptial- if so, I’m jealous) and these are the best! Like I hear singing from the gods when I see this container because I know it means sweet relief. Tucks are thin pads soaked in witch hazel. Line them up in your underwear and let the cooling effect heal you.
Why You Need It: Witch Hazel is a proven healing property. After flushing with warm water, these cool pads will help with the pain and expedite the healing process for you. It will also help with the swelling.
The hospital will provide mesh underwear for you, and I know many women will sing its’ praises until their dying breath. However, the mesh underwear is one size fits all. I really struggled with keeping things in place with how bulky it was. My tucks would fall out the side when I was walking, and my cold packs would slide around. This time, I got Depends (where there is a loose size chart) to help keep things in place.
Why You Need It: You will be experiencing postpartum bleeding/discharge (called lochia) for weeks. This starts out much heavier than your regular period (typically) as your body sheds all that extra lining and tissue. At the beginning, you won’t be able to just get away with pads and regular underwear. No tampons are allowed until your PP check up, either. Choosing between the mesh and Depends is totally a personal comfort choice; just make sure you have at least one of them!
Yeah so PP recovery sucks *insert fun, vulgar word* and you will be in a lot of pain, while juggling a newborn. Hence why it is such a hard transition for many mothers. Dermoplast makes a pain relieving spray (aka a numbing spray) that’s realllllly nice when you’re super sore down there. Two things about this: make sure to get the pain relieving spray (blue bottle), NOT the burn spray. That mix up would be fatal. Second, the hospital will not provide this for you so you’ll have to purchase this on your own.
Why You Need It: Say it with me, “I have suffered enough”. Instead of knocking back 500 mg ibuprofen that you paid hundreds of dollars for in the hospital, spray some of this down there to not feel a dang thing for about 30 minutes. You will have to use this frequently but I’m telling you, it makes a world of a difference when you can get some reprieve and not be as miserable. You might even enjoy actually sitting and holding your newborn like I did with this stuff. And if you’re someone who had a lot of stitches due to tearing, you’ll want this.
That entire area down there went to war. Don’t neglect that booty hole, because it needs some TLC too. The hospital will not give this to you unless you ask and then you will be charged a lot of money for it. Buy a little bottle at Target for like $5 ahead of time and pop those as soon as you get home. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t poop for awhile; your body just went through a heck of a lot of trauma and it can quite literally (no pun intended) mess with the flow of things.
Why You Need It: Many women experience hemorrhoids in all this mess. I know, let’s just add on more problems, shall we? As if we aren’t already dealing with enough. Long story short, your first poop will be painful. Expect and prepare for the worst by taking these to help. You don’t want to be bawling your eyes out in pain over pooping, believe me.
Perinatal Cold Packs
The hospital should provide some of these for you. They are absolutely great. You snap/twist them and the coldness activates for you. They are disposable so you can just throw them away once they hit room temperature. It’s so nice to sit on these and get relief! I would line my underwear with these first then Tucks next (with Tucks being closest to my vagina) then sit on them. They also helped elevate my vagina off flat surfaces.
Why You Need It: Pain relief! It’s as simple as that. The coldness helps soothe that area and reduce swelling. Some women prefer to make their own (called padsicles- you can find recipes on Pinterest) and I know there are also re-usable ones you can find online, if you’re worried about being environmentally friendly. I personally prefer the hospital ones. You can also find disposable ones online if you run out of the hospital ones.
Pro Tip: run these under cold water after activating the pack to make them last longer and give more relief! You’ll only need a small stream of water to get the desired effect.
Scented Trash Bags
Yeah so lochia (the discharge and bleeding postpartum) has a very distinct smell. I am highly sensitive to smells and this one in particular makes me very nauseous. Not to mention, you will be bleeding A LOT and changing your padding/underwear very frequently. (Side note: please, I beg of you change it extremely frequently. The worst thing you can do is get an infection from improper hygiene post birth. Remember, you will most likely have stitches down there that need to stay CLEAN in order to heal properly). You will have a lot more trash than usual!
Why You Need It: Not all of that lochia will make it in the toilet, and you will be throwing away gross underwear that is quite foul smelling. Unless you want your entire bathroom to smell like something is decaying, I highly suggest you keep a few scented trashbags in there to fill up and take out to the garbage.