How to Battle the Aches and Pains of Postpartum Life
Giving birth is nothing short of a magical experience, and by that I mean you’ll feel like a magician’s assistant who’s been sawed in half. But remember, the world doesn’t want to hear you gripe about having your body ripped open from the inside out. Your job as a new mother is to appreciate the beautiful miracle bestowed upon you. Leave the complaining to the more seasoned mothers who will tell you to JUST WAIT, because things only get worse from here.
Here are some methods for battling your postpartum aches and pains so you can smile like you’re Kate Middleton pretending she doesn’t mind being photographed the moment her feet left the stirrups.
Ice, Ice, Baby
As much as you’ll want to forget that you have a vagina during these trying times, you won’t be able to ignore the fact that it feels like you’ve been practicing your cheerleading splits on the surface of the sun. Maternity nurses swear by frozen diapers to cool things down under. Take a size one diaper, pour a cup of water and a teaspoon of witch hazel on it, and then freeze it. When your business is feeling sore, shove the frozen diaper in your pants. It won’t absorb anything, so that will be a disaster, but it will be refreshing! Careful though: your vagina CAN get a brain freeze.
Speaking of things that are hotter than a dystopian hellscape, your breasts are going to be on fire when your milk comes in. It takes about three days for a mother’s milk to come in after giving birth, and first-time moms often aren’t sure if it’s happened yet. Here’s an easy tell: your breasts will suddenly look like implants, and not the natural-looking kind either. They will defy gravity. And they’ll probably feel hot and feverish. The second-best thing you can do for your boobs is soothe them with a bag of frozen peas (the best thing you can do is take a picture of them for your private records. Those are once-in-a-lifetime boobs). Peas are the most versatile vegetable of the frozen food aisle and the bag will mold to whatever fantastic shape your breasts have taken.
Stifle Your Sneezes
One of the best-kept secrets of childbirth is that the baby seemingly comes out of your butt. You push with your butt, you feel it in your butt, and when it’s all over, your butt suffers. You can stuff it with ice diapers or frozen peas and sit on a donut pillow for some relief. But whatever you do, don’t sneeze for at least a few weeks after giving birth. You don’t realize it until you’re postpartum, but you sneeze with your butt, too. Either learn to control your involuntary bodily functions or start a steady drip of antihistamines.
Did you just picture that iconic whipped cream bikini scene from Varsity Blues? This is nothing like that, although it’s every bit as sexy. Everyone will tell you nursing isn’t supposed to hurt, and if it hurts, that means you’re doing something wrong (welcome to motherhood!). When your nips are screaming from the furious suckling of a brand-new human who hasn’t learned to eat yet, smear them with soothing nipple cream and hope for the best. Nipple cream has the consistency of petroleum jelly, so it’s kind of viscous and greasy. But again, this is every bit as sexy as the Varsity Blues whipped cream bikini. I can’t stress that enough.
If there’s one bit of advice you should heed about your postpartum recovery, it’s this: don’t ever, under any circumstances, ever look at your undercarriage. Really. Nothing good can come of seeing what’s going on down there. You may feel a tingling, perverse curiosity nudging you to grab a hand mirror and scope out the situation, but it’s not worth it. Keep it out of sight, out of mind. NO PEEKING.
Written by Kristen Mulrooney