Basically it boils down to this:
"You think pregnancy is hard? Postpartum is harder."
FYI- postpartum is the period after the baby is born.
Now this may not be true for everyone. I know a local Phoenix mom who suffers from Hyperemesis Gravidarum , (severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy) but for the majority of women, this is in some way, shape or form, is the truth.
When you go to your OB/GYN for your pregnancy there isn't a lot of talk about AFTER the baby is born. In fact, other than, CONGRATS see you in 6 weeks, the only postpartum topic that may be brought up is birth control. ACOG says your doctor should talk about postpartum depression. Well, this is covered when they ask at your initial visit if you "ever had postpartum depression with a previous child?" It is also covered in, "let us know if you experience any postpartum depression after the baby is born." In routine OBGYN visits there isn't a lot of time to prep you for what may really happen during the postpartum period.
I also feel like this is a topic that a lot of new moms don't talk about. They feel comfortable talking about the lack of sleep, but they don't mention any of the things that make them seem crazy. I am going to list just a couple for you.
1. After the baby is born, you may fight with your significant other more than you ever have in your life. Not because you don't love them, but because you are exhausted. You are more tired than you have ever been in your entire life and the one person you always depend on has no clue how to help or read your mind. Blame it on the hormones, the sleep, the breastfeeding, the crying, the soreness, the recovery, anything, and everything. It doesn't matter. Most people will fight during this time. Stupid things too... like why wasn't the trash taken out 2 hours ago instead of now? And why would someone grab the wipes before they grabbed diaper? As if it really matters... but after that baby comes this fight could last for an hour. Usually stopped when you, your partner, or the baby falls asleep. Hopefully you were so exhausted that you don't remember the fight when you wake up.
2. No one knows how to take care of your baby like you do. Just accept it. No one will ever do it good enough, but that doesn't mean your baby won't survive if they do it instead of you. The underlined point is what I am trying to make. Moms have this weird idea that if their baby is crying and someone else is holding him, the person holding the baby is doing something wrong. Your baby probably would be crying at that moment too if they were in your arms too.
3. Weigh yourself after 2 weeks, then have a celebration. Then don't weigh yourself ever again. Okay, maybe another time. The most rapid weight loss is at 2 weeks. The first few days after the baby is born you have retained fluid, breast engorgement, and if you step off that scale you might be disappointed. At 2 weeks your swelling should be gone and you will see your amazing weight loss. After 2 weeks though, the weight takes slower to go down. You won't continue to loose 20 lbs every 2 weeks.
4. Your hair falls out. It has something to do with the estrogen and progesterone shifts after having a baby- but I promise it will not all fall out. You will not go bald from having a baby. You might have a clogged shower drain, but you will not be bald.
The list goes on and on, so I will close with this ending thought. Post partum is hard but your sweet baby, some sleep, and a little bit of time will make it the best part of your life to date. I wouldn't trade this time in my life for anything else and I am sure you won't either. Learning every little thing about your new baby and smelling their sweet baby breath and kissing them all over is the best anyone could ask for. The cuddles, the snuggles, and that first smile make every ounce of post partum stress worth it.
It is so worth it... and just know you aren't the only one who is going through the emotions that you are going through. Been there, done that.