To begin, I’d just like to warn anyone who knows me personally to maybe skip this one, unless you’re okay with getting to know me on a more intimate, and embarrassing, level. Also, if talk of bowel movements makes you uncomfortable, then go away, because it’s about to get very real.
We all have to do it: the first big bathroom trip after baby. Vaginal birth, cesarean—doesn’t matter how the baby got here. That first postpartum bowel movement is like your first test, the first rite of passage all moms will have to face. Some women are lucky enough to skate through it just fine. But many, like me, struggle with the inevitable constipation we’ve come to dread. For those who are about to have a baby and will be facing this next event soon, here are the 6 stages of my personal victory: the first postpartum poop.
Come with me through my thought process:
Whew! I just birthed an 9-pound baby so the hard part is over, right? *Few days later* When am I going to poop? It’s been a while… Oh. My. Gosh. No. No no. There’s too much tenderness, I’ve been ripped and stitched, and everything is inflamed to the point where I couldn’t tell what was what down there when I got brave enough to use a mirror. I’ve been constipated before, so I know how hard pooping can be already without adding “baby’s path of destruction” to the mix. How is this going to be possible?
And then, the 6 stages began:
Denial: Well, I guess I’m just never pooping again. I can hold it for 6 weeks while my lady parts heal. Yes, I know, dear husband. I know I need to drink more water and take my stool softeners, but it doesn’t matter because I’m avoiding that toilet like the plague.
Or maybe, if I relax and don’t even think about it, the crap will just magically slide right out with my pee and I won’t even notice! Then, this uncomfortable, tight feeling in my bowels will just go away and all will be right in the world!
Acceptance: Okay, okay. I have to poop eventually, so might as well just try and see what happens. That’s all I have to do: Sit on the pot, take deep breaths like I did through contractions, and the food baby will come right out without any further tearing or searing. Let’s do this thing! Now, which bathroom is the most secluded in the house so my husband and mother-in-law won’t hear my pitiful whimpers and vocal self-encouragement?
Anger: Oh holy pffff, why is this so hard! A human being came out of my body through another tiny hole so why can’t I just suck it up and get this crap out of me?? I hate you, husband. I hate you, poop. I hate you, intestines. I hate you, stupid phone for not distracting me! I’m never having a baby again!
Bargaining: All right, here’s the thing, God. If you can just let me get this out right now and take away the pain, I’ll be the best wife/mother/friend/stranger in the world. I’ll stop complaining about my lack of sleep. I’ll give my husband more sex. I’ll quit eating all the junk food and I’ll eat those veggies I’ve got molding in the kitchen. I’ll go to church on Sunday and not fall asleep. Just. Please. Let. Me. Poop! (All of this is accompanied by a tiny rocking motion while hugging myself and crying a bit.)
Desperation: I’m tired of prairie doggin’ it; I’ve got to figure out how to get these crap logs out of me! Google: foods that relieve constipation. Google: just had a baby and need to poop. Google: surgery to remove lodged poop. Google: videos of puppies playing (because I get distracted and am in need of a serious pick-me-up). MiraLAX? Check. Prune juice? Check. Enema? Next on the list, if the hubby is willing to stick it up my butt for me.
Relief: Well, it was inevitable. One way or another, it had to come out and it finally did. Oh the sweet, sweet relief! I think I may have heard an angel’s chorus singing for my victory as I yelled, “I POOPED!” and heard “Yay!” from my slightly grossed out husband. Let’s not talk about the size or consistency or the stretching—let’s just say I’ll be better prepared next time. IF there’s a next time.
Goes downstairs and holds baby girl—Yup, there’s gunna be a next time.