They say pregnancy is tough on your body and labour is the equivalent of running a marathon but what about when that’s over? Raising a baby is full of delights, not all of which are relaxing or restorative. In fact, none of them are. Most parenting activities are designed to ruin your body which is undoubtedly a design flaw. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few ways parenting has ruined me physically, cue the violins.
Having dealt with hay fever induced wheezing most of my life, I became one of the third of women whose asthma worsens during pregnancy. A quick medical consultation told me that I’d be back on a ‘reliever’ inhaler (Ventolin) designed to be taken when the familiar tightness started in my chest. Thankfully for me that tends to be exercise induced or on days when the pollen count is particularly high. I was convinced this would pass once the baby was born but no, I appear to be stuck with it. As someone who continually misplaces her inhaler, I’ve bought a couple spare asthma inhalers online which are secreted around the house/car/handbag. So thanks baby, it’s been a wheeze.
Oh lord. Between the carrying, the lifting and the bouncing, every single bone in my body aches. In fact, as I sit here typing this, I’m trying to stretch out my hip. Despite all the warnings not to, I routinely carry the boy on the same side of me, sticking my hip out to help support the 22lb dead weight of him. Eight months of continually bouncing him to sleep for the first eight months of his life left both me and the husband with knees akin to an eighty year old ex-trampolinist. Not content with all of that, we perform the back breaking task of attempting to lower a sleeping baby in and out of a cot multiple times a night. Phew, talk about back pain. Basically I’m a limping, aching wreck right now.
I’ve always had thick hair, something I’ve hated up until the last 12 months. Suddenly, having thick hair is a benefit because it’s coming out left, right and centre. Around three months into parenting I started to lose all the hair I didn’t lose whilst pregnant, something that’s terrifying when you’re in the shower holding clumps of hair in your hands on a daily basis. Luckily for me that started to slow around the same time that my son learnt how to rip hair out for fun. That’s right. Lean in, wrap around hand, pull. And so the hairloss continues. The good news on this one is it’s not just limited to me, my husband gets the exact same hair-reducing treatment. At this rate we’ll be researching wig makers and hair transplants!
Eye Bags AKA The Grey Tinge Of Exhaustion
Whilst we’re not up every hour these days, we are still up at least once a night. I worked out the other day it’s been a worryingly long time since I had a full night’s sleep. I’m reliably informed it doesn’t get any better either, if it’s not teething or feeding, it’ll be worrying about them at school or waiting up for them to get in of an evening. My mum often tells me she’s been unable to sleep due to us children which by my calculations means these eye bags are going to be a permanent feature around here. Which is why I’m still up past midnight most nights on my computer… obviously.
With all the hormones racing around in your body through pregnancy and postpartum, there are bound to be changes. I wasn’t expecting my skin to change quite so dramatically though. Aside from the hang overs (literally) from carrying another human inside my skin, breastfeeding has had it’s own impact on things not quite being as ‘up’ as they once were. My once verging-on-oily skin is now dry and often itchy, I have to work far harder to stay hydrated and I have to take daily supplements to stop my iron levels from getting too low and causing skin issues. Apparently it’s quite common with mums that breastfeed beyond six months but it still came as a surprise to me!
What about you – what ways has having a child wrecked your body? Why does no-one warn us of the car wreck that our bodies will become postpartum? Tell me it gets better people, please!
I had to read this article as it resonated with me, hard! Notwithstanding all of the above, which are very real, pregnancy permanently disabled me. It’s rare, and despite my son now being almost 3 and a half, the Drs still can’t decide exactly what happened to me. But since 5 months into my pregnancy, I have needed crutches to walk/stand and have been in excruciating pain every single day, 24 hours per day. Some days I can’t move at all and require a wheelchair. My son is fine, which is the main thing, but pregnancy certainly ain’t a bed of roses for everyone, my life is changed. Nor is trying to be a Mom to a newborn when you can’t stand or walk. Still the best job in the world though!!
Oh my goodness Kellie, that sounds awful! Obviously it’s important that you and your son are fine but that must have been such a shock to the system and another huge adjustment on top of having a newborn. I hadn’t realised that that was even a possibility… it is the best job in the world but it’s pretty damn hard at times! Thanks for commenting x
Oh god, so many ways my body has been ruined! Neil tells me I have to stop going on about my foof so much but when something that traumatic has happened to your body, you can’t help but talk about it ALL THE TIME!
I hope the asthma eases again, you never know, maybe another baby will reverse it back! The body is a weird thing!
Oh god, the less said about that the better! I hope so too, I think part of it may just be how damn unfit I am these days… going to the gym is PAINFUL!
Oh I sure as hell agree with the joint pain! And I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis back in 2008 so basically it got worse when I gained weight while I was pregnant.
That sounds so hard, I’ve always had really good joints before, very flexible and never any pain so this has been a real shock to the system. I feel for you having to deal with arthritis on top of pregnancy/children lugging!
16 months on and my hair is only just starting to come back properly
I’ve got little wings growing out the side of my head. It’s horrific!
Yes yes yes and yes!! I can’t even begin to explain all the ways my body is now shot after 6 kids 😱
I can’t imagine. The trauma one’s managed is enough for me, I’m a wreck these days!
I didn’t know that about dry skin being common for women who breastfeed beyond 6 months! My skin got really dry and itchy too and I breastfed for 18months so maybe that’s something to do with it! Ive discovered Aveeno cream which has been great!
Apparently it’s to do with your iron levels! Or atleast, that’s what they tried to tell me! I think after 6 months they start to deplete your nutrient stores as well. Crazy isn’t it? Ooooh I’ll give it a go, thanks x
Where do I start? I can definitely sympathise with the aches and pains and breastfeeding leaving things a little south. Not to mention the baggy skin, excess weight, and being absolutely knackered! Oh no, you’ve set me off..
I know, once you start thinking about it it’s far too depressing but you can’t stop!!
Snap on the hair loss and exhaustion…nothing can ever prepare you for the exhaustion and no one will ever understand until they go through it themselves. 18 months on I am still suffering from exhaustion and feeling like I have no energy all the time even though I am going to sleep at 10.30 each night but its the break up of sleep that’s the killer for me. Also looking back at photos pre-pregnancy I look shattered now and certainly aged!!!!
Sleep is SUCH a major factor. It’s definitely ageing to not get a decent rest!!
Couldn’t agree more Hayley, especially the hair loss. I genuinely worried if something more sinister was going on as I had such a huge loss after P. The exhaustion never ends, just as sleeping got semi-decent, work began and now I am in a permanent state of exhaustion.
Isn’t that parenting full stop? Permanent state of exhaustion?! I’m glad it’s not just me that suffered ridiculous levels of hair loss!