‘I gave birth to my sixth baby just six weeks ago. I have porn star-sized boobs as my milk finally came in. I’m wondering if I’ll ever look ‘normal down there’ ever again.’

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“We all are so well prepared through pregnancy. We download the apps to keep track of baby’s progress as the weeks tick by. We go to tons of doctor’s appointments to talk about our progress and measure baby’s as well. We prepare ourselves for birth and bringing a baby home. We decorate the nursery, buy countless baby items, and clean our houses while we ‘nest.’ We all have a fairly good amount of knowledge throughout the first 9 months.

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

But what about post-partum? With my first baby, I was so unprepared for this part of the experience. I recently gave birth to my sixth baby just six weeks ago and was thrown back into the world of post-partum again. I was prepared for most of it this go around. But just like every pregnancy is different, every post-partum experience can vary a little bit as well.

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

So what exactly is post-partum?

It’s filled with squishy bellies and accepting a body you aren’t familiar with. It’s looking in the mirror and appreciating that you sacrificed your body to grow another. It’s getting used to the odd sensation of your belly jiggling like Jell-O with every step you take. It’s wider hips and porn star-sized boobs when your milk finally comes in. It’s wearing high waisted leggings just to keep everything tucked in.

Post-partum is swollen lady parts and using a squirt bottle every time you sit down to use the bathroom. It’s wearing mesh panties and buying more off of Amazon when you run out of your hospital stash. It’s feeling like you’re giving birth all over again when you have to poop for the first time. It’s running from the shower to the toilet so you don’t drip blood on the floor. It’s wondering if you’ll ever look ‘normal down there’ ever again.

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

Post-partum is sleep deprivation and wondering how you’ll even survive the next few hours let alone this season of your life. It’s swollen bags under your eyes and greasy hair from countless shower-less days. It’s changing diapers in the middle of the night with one eye barely open. It’s rocking a tired baby to sleep and almost rocking yourself to sleep as well. It’s having this extreme devotion to keep your baby alive despite how freaking tired you are. It’s caffeine. And more caffeine.

Post-partum is being emotional and crying. It’s questioning whether it’s the typical baby blues, or something more serious like post-partum depression. It’s calling your family or friends at ridiculous hours when you feel like you can’t shake the madness of a baby that won’t settle down. It’s shedding tears over random strangers on YouTube and finding yourself an emotional rollercoaster over every single thing.

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

Post-partum is worrying. Constantly worrying. It’s making sure your little baby’s chest is going up and down at all hours of the day, even after you just checked. It’s even choosing to poke them to make sure they’re okay when you feel like you can’t see his chest rising and falling under the blanket he’s swaddled in. It’s laying in bed and wondering if you locked all the doors and then forcing yourself to get up and check for the fifth time. It’s having your pediatrician’s number on speed dial and making appointments to get every single thing checked out when you feel like something is off.

Post-partum is trying to be a good mom while trying to not neglect your husband or home. It’s wanting to spend time with your husband, but barely having the energy to hold a conversation about anything other than the baby. It’s debating with yourself about how long the laundry can sit in the baskets before you have to put them away. Or can the baskets just be your new dressers? It’s trying to stay on top of the dishes, but ultimately deciding that paper plates are the way to go for now. It’s vacuuming the rooms the baby is always in, but overlooking the others until the weekend when you have more hands. It’s trying so hard to keep up but realizing it’s impossible to do it all, perfectly. It’s accepting that that is okay and that you are allowed to focus on your newborn for now.

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

Post-partum is learning to navigate the world of parenting with social media. It’s trying to not allow other’s opinions to ruin your own views. You knew about the Mommy Wars before you gave birth, but now you question yourself with every new article you come across. It’s trying to find your own parenting style when technology is bombarding your every turn.

Post-partum is trusting your instincts in a way you never have before. It’s having this innate ability to know exactly what to do, even if you’ve never taken care of a newborn before. It’s taking on a new role of protector where you would fight fearlessly for this little one. It’s opening your heart to more love than you ever imagined. It’s finally understanding a mother’s love and that deep connection you’ve only heard of before.

Post-partum is beautiful. And messy. And exhausting. And amazing. And scary. And rewarding.

It really is a one of a kind experience. You really are juggling a life you’ve always known with a tiny person you just met. Navigating these new waters is one of the biggest adventures we go through. But you’ll look back on these VERY short moments and smile at how sweet this experience really was.

Whether it’s your first or your sixteenth, we all start at square one when a new member of the family comes into our lives.

Cheers to motherhood and the way it shapes us into the amazing women we were meant to be.”

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Schultz of Tried and True MamaSubmit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

Read more from Molly here:

‘Hey Dad, I want to raise your son. I want him as my own,’ I insanely told my dying father. ‘I didn’t want to put that burden on you,’ he said. He died just 18 hours later.’

‘I didn’t realize how much I would miss my dad’s handwriting. I didn’t know handwriting could be part of the grieving process. Mourning handwriting? But I did. I still do.’

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