What They Don’t Tell You

There is a whole list of things that people don’t tell you after you have kids. I’m sure that some moms do talk about it, but it’s not really listed in books anywhere. I remember at our pre-natal class, our teacher mentioned her hair had completely changed after having her children – once poker straight, it was now totally, and unmanageably curly.  I know my hair has changed a great deal – it’s texture is totally different, the hair at my temples grows toward my face now, and well, not shockingly, there is way more grey in it. I think it’s also curly, although the short cut I’m currently sporting hasn’t grown out enough for me to really tell.

My stomach, once a slightly rounded display of femininity (and trust me, I RUE the fact that I used to whine about a gently sloping tummy), now more closely resembles a question mark thanks to my cesearean scar. And the skin surrounding the scar has absolutely no sensation anymore.

And one thing that no one ever mentioned to me is my complete and utter inability to hold my bladder anymore. Gone are the days when the twinges of needing to pee were merely something to note and carry on. Now, when my body says I need to pee, I need to find facilities, post-haste. I am not able to sneeze at all if I don’t cross my legs. I find myself, shamefully, embarrasingly, unable to hold my need to pee for longer than a few minutes when I do need to go, and the safety of the internet allows me to admit to you all that there has been more than one occurence where I was not able to make it to the toilet in time. Thankfully, these incidences were all containable and while Kale might have witnessed it, he thankfully isn’t old enough to rat me out to random people, like say, the lady in front of us at the grocery store.

I know there are exercises to do to try and strengthen all those muscles that have been destroyed by carrying a baby inside me for 9 months, and if you think for two seconds I do not faithfully do them then you are gravely mistaken. I swear my internal monologue runs something like this “kegel kegel kegel Kale don’t do that kegel kegel kegel”. I also know that there are drugs I can take but they scare me because it’s not like “muscle surgery in pill form” which means that the pills either dry you out or screw with some of your pre-programmed bio-responses, and both of those options kind of scare me.

I can’t sneeze without carefully crossing my legs, and I instantly sort out where bathrooms are when I go to unfamiliar places. I am trying to relearn that I can’t ignore the need anymore. I remember when I had to hold my bladder for the ultrasound at the end of my pregnancy and you know what? That scares the pee out of me. In fact I need to pause here in writing this to go and pee because that thought just gave me the heebies.

 No longer being able to trust your bladder is reason # 34687924 why I don’t really want to have another baby. Reason # 1 is that, despite having a good friend who has recently had a triumphant VBAC, I am terrified of the idea of vaginal birth now that I had to have an emergency c-section. Funny, since I felt so confident and so well prepared going into Kale’s last trimester. Reason # 2 is I don’t want to mess with the good thing we have.

So why do I keep calculating my ovulation times, and why do I continue to calculate the age difference between Kale and a sibling as each month goes by?  I mentioned to my mom today on the phone that your body has a survival instinct and it selectively remembers all the crap-tacular things that happen those first few months. The robo-puking, the non-sleeping. Your body chooses to forget all that yucky stuff and just makes you remember the lovely, nostalgic stuff. I’m on to you, body. I kept a blog, and I remember how much certain parts of early infancy sucked. You can’t fool me!

12 years ago


  1. Reason #2- I didn’t want to mess with the good thing we had going on either. Nobody told me that having him would make the good thing even better!

    Reason 1- every birth is different. I think that my 2nd I was much more focused on Outcome vs Process– I wasn’t as hung up on the BIRTH as I was getting the BABY. Not so emotionally invested in the ‘perfect’ birth– so that when we had to emerg transport, I didn’t feel like I had ‘failed’ in any way to have another home birth. I KNEW things were NOT going well, and was prepared for whatever happened.

    So…. I guess what I am saying is…. the birthing is only 24 hours. I might be a SUCKY 24 hours, but still, it’s over soon. AND we get da baby when it’s over.

    And a side bar– I am SOOOO GLAD we waited the 5 years between them. It’s a GREAT age split and has made babyhood way easier. For example, right now, kev is cleaning the kitchen, I am on computer, and the kids are playing together. Jenna will keep him amused for an hour– I can hear them giggling away right now. 🙂

    I always felt very indifferent about having another child, but I’m SOO glad we did. But, No. More. Kids.

  2. As soon as I started reading your post I started “kegelling”. I definitely don’t do it in a routine way and I’m sure I will regret it at a later date. Luckily (?) the only time I really have to pee and my body refuses to wait is when I get out of the bath. I find this very strange but at least it’s not something I can’t handle since there is usually a toilet handy when I’ve emerged from the tub. As for having more children I have to agree with everything you said. I was totally prepared for child birth and not really scared in the way some of my pre-natal friends were. However, since I ended up having a c-section (which has healed to the point of almost being invisible) I don’t really think I’d want to have a vaginal birth and spoil things down below 🙂 All this is academic of course because we aren’t planning to extend our family but I still think about these things anyway.

  3. I so hear you. I am sure we could put together a list a mile long with things they don’t tell you change after baby. Seriously. At the risk of sharing too much information my personal favourite is the emotional roller coaster PMS has become.

    I also agree that our bodies play tricks on us to get us to baby number 2. I have just started getting to the ‘I miss when you were a little baby’ stage with my daughter. Makes me want another. But then I remember what those first 6 months were like. I am also terrified because our girl is a good sleeper. Which means by murphys law the next one will be a terror. And yet I still think we will have an other eventually. I must be insane. Ahhh motherhood.

  4. As for spacing of kids, I’ve done it both ways. My first two kids are 18 mos apart and then there’s a five year gap between #2 and #3. My experience is that the bigger gap is much more enjoyable for me as a parent, I actually get to enjoy his babyhood and the other two don’t physically “need” me as much as a two year old would.

    Here’s something else…I didn’t know my morning sickness would be worse with each pregnancy (not debilitating, but definitely unpleasant), or that my “baby blues” would become full blown depression the third time around.

    As for not messing with a good thing, I REALLY WORRIED about that with #3 as he was a surprise, but it just became our new normal and is our new verson of a good thing.

  5. How come the women with C sections have incontinance? I would think that those who did vag birth would have more issues with that? Just curious.
    Also, I had more incont issues after my first than my 2nd. Even tho Caden was bigger (by 3 pounds!), my body recovered much more easily than with Jenna. Also, there was no tearing the 2nd time.
    Just a thought. For me, even WITH the transport to hospital, #2 was easier than #1.

  6. Your body can make it happen while your mind is busy doing something else, so don’t even THINK about it unless you want it to happen.

    Let me be a lesson to you. E was a genuine accident. My mind had nothing to do with it. I went back to work after a year’s mat leave; hated my job, as before; one month later, pregnant again. Probably better that way as I do tend to overthink and having it be an accident was the only way I was going to get to #2.(and avoid having the convo w/SA who really didn’t want any kids at all, initially…)

    I agree, more time in between = better for you. More time for kegels!

    My bladder control is actually fine, but I have an enormous bladder anyway.

    And now you know: the rest of the story.

  7. This made me laugh: “Your body can make it happen while your mind is busy doing something else, so don’t even THINK about it unless you want it to happen.”

    I had been thinking about it for a while but was planning on waiting until after my second round of eye surgery – but now eye surgery is on hold until #2 is weaned. And really, I think the perfect spacing has more to do with the parents than anything. There is a huge gap between my siblings and I which means I never had them to play with. With the Mister there was 4 years between him and his brothers (one older, one younger) and they didn’t really get a long or play together as kids either. So for that reason I wanted the kids no more than 3 years apart so they can play together (now watch them hate each other). And even though we are 10 years apart my sister and I are now really close and talk on the phone almost every day. There really is no planning the perfect anything but I do feel that siblings are important. Who else can you bitch about your parents to?

    As for the birth thing I’m not even thinking about it this time – I honestly don’t have the time these days and sometimes I forget that I am pregnant. Apparently you have to book your midwife BEFORE you get pregnant in this province now that the gov’t pays for it and I didn’t do that. I really don’t want another c-section, am afraid of having a vaginal birth since I’ve never done it yet and don’t know what it will do to my body but since this is #2 I know that none of that really matters and a couple weeks after the birth I will have healed from whatever I go through and the sleep deprivation will make sure I forget it all anyway because my c-section recover was traumatic but here I go again.

  8. The problem with the things they don’t tell you is that the list is a mile long – and not everyone has the same things happen. My bladder control is A-OK, even after 30+ hours of fruitless pushing the first time, and a VBAC the second. But I don’t think my C-section scar will ever look right. It’s still raised and red, thick and lumpy almost three years later. My feet also changed shape. I’m still nominally a size 8 but my shoes fit … differently … I think my feet got wider. I can’t wear some shoes that I had from my life before kids.

    I’d second the comment someone else made about life after the second kid being even better. You’ve heard it from me already in person, but I’ve found #2 so much more enjoyable – but it’s also made me appreciate the baby memories of #1 so much more (even the red-faced endless screaming of the first six months). Of course, now I’m really worried about upsetting the apple cart, and so I’m less bullish on trying for a third than I was before.

  9. HaHa Clara! My #3 was such an accident…I was ON THE PILL! We went to Vegas to celebrate our anniversary and were talking about how screwy it would be if we got pregnant and how my DH should really make an appointment to get a vasectomy! Four weeks later, I was writing something on the calendar and thought to myself, hmmm that can’t be right.

    Oh yes, not everything stays in Vegas.

    1. HAHAHAHAH Jill, that’s an awesome anecdote. And part of the reason why I really don’t know why I keep putting nearly this much thought into this whole thing. It’s gonna happen whether I want it or not, if its meant to be.

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