Whether you ate leftovers that have been sitting in the fridge for one day too long or your hormones are all out of whack as the result of a global pandemic, you've undoubtedly experienced gastrointestinal distress at one time or another. Add labor and delivery to the mix, and it's sure to be even more common. Although it's something far too few new parents give voice to, a new mom on Reddit recently shared her experience with postpartum constipation.
Writing under the handle u/paleandtimeless in the Baby Bumps subreddit, the original poster (OP) explained that she's two weeks postpartum and has been dealing with constipation since giving birth.
"I constantly feel like I need to poop, spend forever on the toilet, and then nothing comes out," wrote the OP.
She explained she had gotten a little "TOO used to ignoring the poop urges," because while on a walk, she suddenly had to go … badly." "I was wearing one of those massive hospital pads, so my mess was fairly contained," recalled the OP.
But while she was cleaning herself up, a little bit of the mess spilled from the pad to the floor.
"My husband noticed I was cleaning the bathroom floor and said, 'Oh no! Did [dog] have an accident?'" wrote the OP. "I paused for about one second before saying, 'Yeah, so weird. I just found it when I got back from the walk.'"
Ultimately, she was unashamed to blame the pup, concluding, "Today, I chose my pride."
Other Redditors stated that they knew all too well what it was like to deal with postpartum GI issues like the OP's. "My friend described pregnancy and postpartum as the most beautiful and disgusting time of her life," wrote u/Toastie_AF. "Seems accurate so far being a first time mom myself."
u/CeruleanPimpernel noted, "I didn't poop for three weeks when I was pregnant. When it finally came out I broke the toilet in a rental house. Everyone sharing said house with me politely pretended they did not know what was happening, god bless them."
And u/catty_wampus shared, "My first postpartum poop clogged our toilet and started flooding the bathroom. Dare I also mention I was having to try to breastfeed while this happened? My poor husband had to figure out where to buy a drain snake for the toilet in the middle of the night and try to fix it. Then, in my postpartum haze, I thought my baby would die if my bathroom had contact with poop water and proceeded to clean my whole bathroom four days after a C-section. Not my best night."
As cringey as these stories might be, they're crucial for new parents to know just how common postpartum constipation really is.
"No one talks about the fact that constipation is one of the worst complications of having a baby," says Jennifer Wider, M.D., a women's health expert in Fairfield, Connecticut, and author of The New Mom's Survival Guide. "I had no idea how painful it would be, and I'm a doctor."
Thankfully, from filling up on fiber to working out and seeing a gastroenterologist, there are a plethora of ways to relieve postpartum constipation. In the meantime, if you happen to have an accident like the OP, you can take at least a little bit of heart in knowing you're not alone.