I looked at my vagina for the first time since giving birth the week before my 6-week postpartum checkup.
I'm so glad I did.
I won’t lie, this scared me a little. I had a third degree tear and many stitches along my perineum. They eventually dissolved but turned into bumpy granulation tissue. When I touched my perineum during showers, it felt swollen, tight, and irritated.
I had my son about three and a half years ago and I STILL have linger issues from that perinatal time in my life. The seven hours of pushing, vacuum assisted delivery, and third degree tearing no doubt have a lot to do with where I am now. As you might imagine, I had persistent vaginal pain, for months. The intensity of it lessened over time, but I was never really comfortable until I sought professional help.
As with so many women who experience PPD, Jess’s story is complicated. She didn’t have it with her first child, Sarah, and the signs and symptoms with her second child, Joseph, didn’t appear until close to a year later. What’s more, the symptoms that typically describe PPD didn’t quite match what she was going through.
As long as women are giving birth, the need to support postpartum moms remains. We’re far from ensuring that support, and in the past few years it seems as though access to comprehensive women’s health is increasingly threatened.
If you've ever pumped at work, you'll probably be able to relate to these mamas keepin’ it real and sharing their pump-at-work stories. Even if you haven’t, it’s worth appreciating that commitment ‘cause it sure doesn’t sound easy.
Pump-at-work mamas. You get extra kudos on this Labor Day. Why? Because pumping is damn laborious. Doing it at the office is at best, awkward. At worst, it solicits hostility.
Regardless of where you pump, it's labor-intensive. All those plastic parts. The sanitizing. Finding a plug. Hooking your boobs up to a mechanical suction. The careful transferring of expressed milk from container to cooler or bag. The whoosh, whoosh, whooshing.
A gynecology appointment is a bit like going to the dentist. No one particularly looks forward to it. At best it’s going to be uncomfortable and we hope that they don’t find anything wrong requiring another appointment or a procedure.
According to a June report from the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 40% of women don’t go to their postpartum checkup.
Not once, but twice (and almost a third time) all over my underwear and clothes. My obsession with postpartum care came out of a desperate fear that I’d be wearing diapers long after my infant son stopped wearing them.