Forget what they show you on TV or in movies. Nobody gives birth and then jumps seamlessly back into their pre-baby life. There will be bleeding. And wild mood swings. And a swollen uterus. And leaky breasts. And so many other things no one ever could possibly anticipate—thanks, in part, to the fact that these wacky postpartum symptoms are almost never discussed.
But now, parents are getting real about the unexpected things they experienced in the postpartum period, and it's all kinds of relatable. A mom penned a Reddit post posing the question: "What is something that happened postpartum that wasn't totally unexpected for you?" The original poster shares that, while she did not experience any foot swelling during pregnancy, her legs "absolutely ballooned" after delivery.
Users share their own unexpected experiences as well. Their replies range from brutally honest (some may call it TMI, we call it just the right amount of information to share in order to normalize postpartum realities) to incredibly vulnerable admissions.
Let's just say that, if this thread is any indication, increased sweating and body odor are pretty common occurrences after someone gives birth. "The sweating, my god the sweating. For the first couple weeks I would sweat through pjs and sheets. I'm four months PP now and every. Single. Night. I wake up with my shirt collar soaked in sweat. Just the neckline/collar, though," one commenter writes.
And another weighs in with: "The BO. I swear I have to shower at least twice a day. I changed my deodorant about three times already. Hoping it goes away. With my first I could shower in the am go to sleep wake up and then shower at night the second day and still smell fine. I get really hot now too. Could be related, not sure."
Here's a fun little tidbit: In addition to the increased body odor, postpartum parents also report that their sense of smell stays heightened long after pregnancy is over. What a joy!
Oh, and those random bouts of nausea? Those still happen after you've delivered, according to replies on this thread. I can confirm this: At two-and-half years postpartum, I still get hit with random moments of nausea…and every time I mention this to someone, they ask if I'm pregnant, which is just…not okay. Ever.
But strange bodily functions aren't the only weird things that happen to new parents. Many respondents delve into the emotional aftermath of giving birth as well.
"The amount of crying when I got home, it was a huge shock to me with the hormonal changes and how utterly sad I felt and cried everyday for about 2-3 weeks," one user writes. This. Is. Real.
Postpartum parents are feeling anxiety about their babies' well-being too—which doesn't seem terribly surprising, but the way your mind plays tricks on you after you give birth? Nothing can prepare you for that. "The first few months after my son was born I kept waking up frantically thinking he was in bed with me and I'd accidentally co-slept unsafely instead of putting him in the bassinet," one user shares. "My postpartum brain was mistaking my 9lb Chihuahua (who cuddled in bed with me every single night for 6 years before she passed away last month) for my baby."
This thread is totally worth a read. From rare, totally unexpected things (like a case of Bell's palsy) to totally common postpartum changes (hair loss and night sweats seem practically inevitable, at least based on the responses in this thread) to mental health changes, these responses cover a lot of ground. And if you're experiencing any strange, unexpected things after giving birth, it's the perfect thing to read if you need a reminder that you're definitely not alone.