A Story About Postpartum Hormones

Hormonal changes, or at least the side effects of each, seem to be more prevalent when I’m postpartum than when I’m pregnant. I definitely notice the changes in my body during pregnancy like the swelling, the heartburn, the rib pain, etc. but there’s not much of an emotional rollercoaster happening as much as when I’m postpartum. I guess that’s because I’m pretty much mad the entire pregnancy. I’m not mad at anything in particular – anger is just my general disposition.

This was especially true of my pregnancy with Carter – the only one that occurred during the living-in-hell heat of an Arizona summer. That’s the pregnancy when I had actual outbursts at other humans about things like it not being obvious whether I’m supposed to swipe or insert card when paying at a checkout (and no, Target lady, I don’t want to sign up for the Red card or whatever it is), or people asking me questions (STOP ASKING ME QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT I WANT TO EAT AND JUST PRESENT YUMMY FOOD TO ME!).

I mean, I don’t think there’s an actual stay-at-home-parent motto. It’s just every time I complain about my situation, someone ultimately says, “This too shall pass, Mama.” So, in the spirit of waiting until this all passes and I feel like a normal woman again, below is a list of things I experience as a direct result of postpartum hormones. I’m hoping you’ll read them and nod your head that yes, you too experienced the same which is secretly the initiation into the motherhood sorority I’m creating.

Shh, don’t tell anyone.

1. B.O.

Ever see the Seinfeld episode about the valet’s really awful B.O.? If not, you should go watch it immediately because it’s funny, and also because this is how I smell for a good few weeks after labor no matter how many times I wash my armpits. I’ve even hovered over the bathroom sink while awkwardly washing my armpits with the strongest soap I can find and a washcloth to no avail.

2. Greasy, greasy, greasy hair and then…hair be gone!

Not much is more attractive than the layer of greased lightning constantly sitting at the roots of my hair. Fortunately, the top layer remains grease-free cleverly disguising the oil-fest happening underneath. If I flip my head over and brush my hair where the oil is, it will stand up like a troll’s hair does. More fun – Around 3-months postpartum, all that hair I grew and retained during pregnancy suddenly falls out in mounds.

3. Thinking about all the worst things in the world

Warning: this is awful.

This is one of the worst ones for me because it always happens at the worst times like when I have a quiet moment in the shower, or when I’m just about to drift off to sleep, or when it’s just me and the baby during a middle-of-the-night breastfeed. I will start thinking about all the horrible things that could happen to my family, especially my children.

One time, I imagined myself standing over Carter taking pictures when I drop my extremely heavy, professional camera and it falls on him, smashing his face and breaking his skull. I think about my family on an airplane holding each other closely and crying as it’s about to crash into the ocean and we’re all about to drown. I’ve imagined myself at the grocery store with my children. I’m loading Carter into his car seat and into our minivan when someone runs up and kidnaps my daughters who are still in the shopping cart.

Basically, my imagination runs wild with the most horrible thoughts. Fortunately, these become less and less frequent as time goes on.

4. Crying

This is somewhat related to #3 in that #3’s topics can cause me to cry uncontrollably. But sometimes I’ll also cry for seemingly no reason. Karis sings a cute song? Here come the tears! A nice, old man gets me my favorite salad dressing off the top shelf and just out of my reach at the grocery store? Pool of tears. Someone comments on my Instagram feed, “Love your feed!” Non-stop sobbing.

5. Hey there, acne, I haven’t missed you!

I’ve struggled with acne since puberty but when I’m pregnant, for once I have this amazingly glowing, beautiful skin (and a really swollen face). A few weeks go by postpartum and heyo! Zits start popping up everywhere. And then #4 hits me hard yet again.

Thankfully, I think that’s all. At least, that’s all I can remember for now which isn’t saying much because my brain with all the sleep deprivation doesn’t even recall details from earlier this morning.

Mamas of the internet, what do you go through postpartum?

Her Confetti - Michelle Koechle - What to Expect Postpartum Hormones