Why is nobody talking about post birth cramps?
My first labour with my oldest son was your typical text book labour, you know the drill: waters break, contractions follow, dilation and then BOOM (well not exactly, more like a WAAHH), I had a baby!
But nothing, absolutely nothing prepared me for the horror show I was going to experience after the birth of my second, two years later.
I had heard chatter about “period cramps” that came along after having a second child, but these were NOT period cramps.
It was a quick labour, within a few hours I was fortunate enough to have two big, black beautiful eyes staring at me. I held my beautiful girl and instantly began to feed her, the most intimate and beautiful experience as if to confirm that she was mine.
As I fed her for the fourth time that night I felt my stomach explode, in so much pain without even realising I curled into a foetal position and began moaning quietly.
Rocking back and forth with tears streaming down my face, I found myself rolling off the hospital bed and onto the ground, with my baby still attached and one hand pulling at my pants the other cradling her tiny, hungry body.
I cried for what felt like forever as I stared at the buzzer hanging above my bed that I could no longer reach. The pain was excruciating as if with every suckle she made there were a hundred knives tearing apart my insides.
I wanted to rip her off my chest and be done but I couldn’t do it to her, I thought if I was able to birth her then I’m sure I would be able to handle these “period cramps”.
She fell asleep and in that instant I took a deep breath in, as I climbed back onto the bed, confused because I was disappointed in myself, was I that sensitive to pain right after delivering her?
I buzzed the nurses as soon as I could, wiped my tears and within a minute a young curly haired nurse walked in. I didn’t wait for her to ask what was wrong, I only found myself blurting.
“I’m in a lot of pain every time I feed her and I don’t think I want to feed her again.”
I felt the tears coming in and before I knew it she was hugging me, her curls in my mouth and my baby asleep between us.
“Oh honey,” she said, patting me gently on my back. “It’s completely normal, that’s your uterus contracting down every time you feed.”
‘My uterus is WHAT. Contracting?? AGAIINNNNNN. Was birthing a human naturally not enough?!’ Those were my thoughts only, my reply was much more polite, “I need something pleaseee”.
“I’ll grab a Panadol for you.”
With that she hopped off the bed and within a few minutes I was drinking down two tablets. They did NOTHING, although with each feed the pain became less agonising, the truth was I wasn’t prepared for it and I think that’s what made me more upset.
Planning on giving birth? Monique Bowley and Bec Judd discuss everything you’ll need for the first three days with a newborn, on Hello Bump.
I understand other mothers are compassionate towards first time mums, but motherhood and pregnancy especially isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows, we need to know the good and the bad.
If not other mums, midwives should at least prep mothers for these “period cramps” and recognise the emotional toll that comes along with experiences such as mine.
A quick google search from my hospital bed and I found instant comfort with mothers around the world who had felt the same way. One even confessed to being too frightened to feed her third child, so she simply didn’t.
So as you could imagine, third time round, I walked into that delivery room with EVERYTHING I needed: a hot water bottle, an extra blanket and a packet of Advil that I had to declare to the nurses.
Panadol has never treated any pain I’ve had as quick as Advil, so you can bet that the second I placed our youngest to feed I swallowed a tablet simultaneously.
A conversation needs to start, these experiences shouldn’t just be typed up on baby forums by other mums who suffered silently, but spoken about amongst women who truly care for the emotional wellbeing of their fellow mamas.