Behind The Butter

Postpartum Advice


Popping in this morning to let you know I wrote an honest piece on the postpartum period over on the What to Expect blog! In it, I talk about all the things…including butt popsicles, how an epidural saved my life and how fitting back into your jeans is overrated. Consider yourself warned.

Head over there to check it out, if you so desire.

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  • Ann
    October 2, 2014 at 3:23 am

    Thank you for writing this! I too pushed out a 9lb baby and couldn’t walk or do anything for way longer than I expected. At three weeks I could only go to the store for about an hour before I had to go home. No one I knew had those issues and it’s so encouraging to hear others with similar situations.

    • Laura @ Raise Your Garden
      October 6, 2014 at 5:58 am

      I totally agree! I felt like I couldn’t leave the house with my first child. I was too tired and still in too much pain. Plus, I was too embarrassed to tell my OBYGN that I was still in pain, crying all the time, dealing with slight depression and that things “down there” didn’t feel right. Thanks for the honesty, so refreshing.

  • April
    October 2, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Hi Jenna-

    You and your family are too precious for words 🙂 I love following your blog and insta and I feel like we could sit down and have a cup of coffee and be the best of friends–ha! I was wondering if you had any other recommendations for devotionals and/or journals. I loved the Abide Journal and now I am looking for another one to jump into. I know that NTD Advent devotional is out, but I need something to keep me in the Word until it arrives. Any suggestions?

    P.S. You are doing a stand up job as a new mom! You honesty is refreshing.

    Take care!

  • Kimberly
    October 2, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Loved your honesty. I remember those moments even though it was 4 years ago already. Add hemmrhoids to the list as well! I then ended up back in the hospital 11 days postpartum with major kidney stones that required two additional surgeries. Yes, I cried a lot in the shower too! It always baffles me when I see women who bounce back and look/act normal days after labor because that was sooooo not my experience.

  • Urban Wife
    October 2, 2014 at 6:25 am

    I saw the article last night on my WTE app as I was reading my weekly bump update. It brought a smile to my face and of course, memories of our son’s birth. The human body sure is amazing though and resilient, thank God! Well written piece, Jenna. Thanks for sharing!

  • Emily
    October 2, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Jenna, your honesty is beautiful! You are amazing!!! I don’t have children but so admire you for many reasons. Thank you for this refreshing approach to motherhood that is unmatched on any other HLB.

  • melissa
    October 2, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Thank you so much for your reflection! I gave birth to my son on July 2 (also a 9 pounder) and I truly relate to your story on SO many levels. Reading your reflections both reminded me of the pain (emotional and physical) and renewed my sense of joy for motherhood. Being a parent is complicated and being a mom asks so much of you that sometimes it is hard for me to remember/reconcile my new and former selves. I will say it is amazing to be a part of a mom community (which I know you have sought out and found). Somehow sharing one’s story among a community of strong women reminds you that this new path is rewarding if hard. You are amazing and your family looks like it is thriving as it grows together. Which is what I hope for mine as well. If you ever feel like reading another baby story, here is mine: but again thank you so much for sharing yours. And, yes those butt popiscles where truly life saving!! (and my jeans still won’t squeeze on but like you said it’s okay and I need to give myself permission to love my body right now for all that it has accomplished).

  • Laura
    October 2, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Did anyone else get more use out of the boppy newborn pillow than their babies did?! I swear I sat on that thing exclusively for the first 3 weeks until it became instinct, then realized that I didn’t need it anymore. Haha

    I cried everyday for the first 6 weeks and it took me 3 months to come to grips with the fact that I had a baby, it needed ME, and this was my life now. Now it’s second nature!

  • Candice
    October 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for sharing! All of your updates have really helped me prepare for our baby’s arrival.

    Question: How many of each size of the work horse cloth diaper do you find that you need?

  • Tiffany
    October 2, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Loved your article! I also had a large baby and couldn’t walk without crying for about 6 weeks! No one really tells you that stuff 🙂

    Just wanted to chime in on the weight loss…I was one of those women who didn’t lose all the weight until I stopped nursing (Prolactin can cause you to hold onto weight). Even when I did lose it all…my pre-baby clothes never fit quite the same. So I got rid of them…who needs the pressure of that hanging around?! Now I get to take my cute baby shopping for a whole new wardrobe 🙂

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork
    October 2, 2014 at 10:36 am

    What a great article! Sounds exactly like what my friend went through and I’m sure it’s what most women do. It’s important to put this stuff out there–that as wonderful as motherhood is, there are some parts that are new and hard to deal with and, let’s be honest, down right messy.

  • Jo
    October 2, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I have to agree, epidurals are where it is at! My baby boy is 11 weeks today and it was only a few days ago that I finally fit into my (biggest pair of) non-maternity jeans. I tried on a pair of jeans a few weeks after giving birth and couldn’t get them remotely close to all the way on despite having lost a good chunk of my pregnancy weight. Thanks for the honesty, I love following along with you and Grayson as you travel down this new path <3

  • Nicole @ Broken Road Creative
    October 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

    My second baby will turn a month old tomorrow and I gotta say, I love reading articles like yours. I think these days women are quite unaware of “the extent” of what pregnancy, the postpartum period, and handling a newborn entails. It’s probably some combination of highly edited social media posts/blogs/etc., women not talking with each other about these things, and as you said, just not having experienced it firsthand. Heck, even as a second-time mom, there were plenty of things I hadn’t experienced with my first or just plain forgot that took me by surprise this time around! Anyways, great article!

  • Annie
    October 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Beautiful piece, Jenna. I wish more new mom bloggers would be really honest about how hard – truthfully, more mentally than physically – having a baby really is. No matter how much you love your baby, anyone’s patience is tried during late night screaming fits, etc. Thanks for this!

  • Karin
    October 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Thank you!! You just gave me hope… And described my exact feelings. My little boy is 13 days old, and I miss my life… So great to hear that it gets better 🙂

  • Kelly
    October 3, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Love your article! The first few weeks are so hard! I cried a lot too, was recovering from a c-section and would dream about a hotel room all to myself where I could just sleep for days, haha! But it gets soooo much better, and then you can’t picture life any other way! Now we’re about to do it all over again with #2! 🙂

  • Nicole
    October 3, 2014 at 5:31 am

    I am almost 36 weeks pregnant with my first. I am getting quite discouraged because everywhere I read on the internet is a mother telling everyone how hard and miserable newborn life truly is. I feel like people always says, “No one ever told me___.” But I feel like that is ALL ANYONE EVER TELLS ME. That my life will be pretty much hell and then somehow it improves. I feel like I must be on a different planet than everyone else since this is all I hear constantly, while everyone else posts..”i wish someone would have told me.”

    • Lori
      October 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Hi Nicole, I feel compelled to reply to your comment. I’m with you. While I respect and appreciate Jenna for sharing her story, I had my first child 2 years ago and this message was definitely all over the internet at that time and I’m sure it had been long before then too. I’m a little confused by the comments where it seems like this is all news to them, when I’m sure that most of the readers here read many other blogs too. Seems almost like kissing up, to me. Maybe I’m wrong there, but on lots of blogs it seems like commenters put bloggers on a pedestal and act like they are doing the most amazing thing for all humankind by writing honestly. I guess that’s just the way people feel about honesty in this day and age. For what it’s worth, I’ll tell you that in my experience (just had my 2nd child 5 weeks ago), yes there were some tears in the early days and in many other stages too, because yes, it is hard. But I knew when I decided to have a child that my life would be very different and I was in no way miserable or mourning my old life. Don’t feel discouraged. I think everyone’s experience can be similar and different at the same time. For example, my 2nd baby was 9lbs 11oz, I had an unmedicated, no intervention birth (NOT saying that’s better, just different), barely tore, and recovery was not bad at all. I’ve also had no trouble breastfeeding either of my children. Again, I’m not saying I’m anything special, I just want people to know that its not always horrible. Again, I respect Jenna’s experience, I think she’s doing a great job and seems very happy as a mother. Just wanted to share my opinion because it made me sad that all you are hearing is how its so miserable. Life will be different, that’s for sure, but your perspective is everything.

      • Danielle
        October 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm

        Very well said Lori.

      • Jane
        October 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm

        Totally agree with Lori! I respect Jenna very much for sharing her story and experience so openly. However I had the same fears as you before having my baby after reading blogs, etc. – I think the tough parts do get over-emphasized (probably with the best of intentions) and that is not at all how it is for everyone. Don’t be discouraged. And I have to add that yes natural birth is not for everyone, and it is hard and painful, but in no way “overrated.” Wishing you the best!!!

    • Emily
      October 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      I saw your comment and wanted to share with you that taking care of a newborn has actually been one of the greatest joys of my life. I know that this is not everyone’s experience, but it has been mine. You are about to embark on the most awesome adventure; look forward to it. Yes you will be sore. Yes you will be tired. But the experience of meeting and getting to know your baby is really amazing regardless. And life is different, but in such a great way. That has been my experience at least. I have a 4 month old and a 2 year old. The 2 year old is way more work at this point 🙂

    • jenna
      October 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Oh Nicole…I truly feel terrible if that’s the message you got at the end of my article. Grayson is the biggest gift in the whole world, and like I wrote in the article – I wouldn’t trade all the messy diapers, late nights or crying fits for a second because having him is truly amazing and life changing. Sure, it’s an adjustment but that’s just it…an adjustment. We’re almost 5 months in now and I really can’t imagine life before him because our lives are just so FULL with him! And yeah, there are some really hard days in the beginning. Anyone will tell you that…but that’s just a season and it gets so much better. Your life will not be hell! I really, really hope it didn’t sound like that in my article. I only meant to convey to readers that there are trying times in the beginning, but it gets better with every day that passes!

      • Grace
        October 6, 2014 at 9:37 am

        I’m a long-time lurker, but this comment made me want to write! DON’T feel discouraged. Personally, I loved the newborn days. I read all of the “horror” stories when I was pregnant, and went into things feeling really nervous and scared. And yes, it’s hard! I had what would seem like ‘nightmare’ birth experience – almost 60 hours of unmedicated, intervention-free childbirth, and I had nearly 4th degree internal and external tears. My daughter nursed 24-7 in those early days (literally 12-14 times a day for the first six months!), and she didn’t sleep through the night until she was 19 months old.

        BUT – before you think this is another “just you wait…” stories, I LOVED those early newborn days! I would relive them in an instant. I miss it so much! Despite the crazy labor and delivery, my recovery was relatively easy and not nearly as painful or debilitating as I expected. Breastfeeding never hurt and was easy for both of us, I never minded the frequency (there’s nothing better in the world than having a milk-coma baby sleeping on your chest), and we didn’t wean until my daughter weaned herself at 34 months! I loved co-sleeping, and despite going back to work full time at 12 weeks, the sleep deprivation was never overwhelming, and my body completely adjusted and I rarely felt tired. And when she did start to sleep through the night, nearly a year and a half later, I had so much energy I felt like I could set the world on fire! And now I have a beautiful, funny, sweet, affectionate, hilarious, gregarious toddler who is the best company I could possibly imagine.

        I think having a hard or easy experience postpartum is a total crap-shoot. All the preparation in the world can’t prepare you for it, and it is hard, HARD work. Whoever started saying that parenthood should be easy? Living a good, honest, rewarding life of any kind is hard work, why would parenting be any different? But it will also be the most joy-filled and rewarding experience of your life. And no matter what, the love you will feel for your child is so overwhelming and all-consuming, you will be willing to do ANYTHING for them, and it will make whatever difficulties you face so, so worth it. Good luck!

      • lindsey
        October 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm

        Also, I’d like to add that the awesome amazing moments and feelings you get from your kid CANNOT BE CONVEYED IN WORDS!!! It’s so much easier to blanket statement the hard times 🙂 the good times are crazy awesome and it’s hard to believe that someone learning to crawl, or sleep through the night, can bring so much joy and giddiness to two people!

    • jen
      October 6, 2014 at 11:21 am

      I know this thread doesn’t need another reply, but I can’t help but add my 2 cents because this is something I experienced while pregnant too and have since thought a lot about in choosing what to share with pregnant friends. I really think it’s just one of those things you can’t possibly comprehend until you’re in it. I can’t imagine anyone has a baby and thinks “yup, this is exactly what I expected. ” It’s just such a foreign experience that you can’t comprehend until you’re there, no matter how much you’ve armed yourself with knowledge. As a result I think most 1st time moms find themselves thinking “Holy crap! This is harder than I thought” at some point. I think the 2 different perspectives on sharing are those moms that want to try to save other pregnant women that shock by loading them up with the full scoop, and those moms (me, for 1) who figure that there is no avoiding the shock of the change and it’s best to just say something along the lines of “Yeah, it can be rough, but every new mom finds her way and you’ll find yours too.” Heck, I had no experience with kids and am generally pretty unremarkable, but I survived my trial by fire with an infant that slept kess than 4hrs a night, screamed nonstop sll day unless held while walking, and barfed huge amounts about 35 times a day. It was so hard, and I cried. But I also loved her so much that my heart could barely stand it, and she needed me to become someone new, someone stronger. So I did. No one could possibly have explained that to me before she arrived, and if they’d tried I just wouldn’t have gotten it despite the best of intentions.

      All that jusy to say, it’s hard to know what’s helpful to share sometimes. But I know we all agree that no matter how challenging new motherhood is, there’s nothing more magical than the love you feel for that little person. And for me at least, it just keeps getting better. (My oldest is now 3)

      • jen
        October 6, 2014 at 11:48 am

        Sorry to be so longwinded. Had to add that I did think your article was spot-on Jenna. Healing from my csec was way harder than I expected, and the exhaustion of new motherhood and the abrupt change in my life was just mind numbing.

        I sometimes think part of why I was so shocked by how hard it was was because a lot of the stuff I’d read, including my hypnobirthing class, made it seem that with proper preparation you could essentially ensure yourself a positive birth experience and blissful time with your new baby. I knew preparation had worked in my career and had the arrogance to buy in to the idea that if I’d been able to master my life thus far, why not motherhood? Yeah… I’ve learned my lesson now. Articles like Jenna’s were a comfort to me when I was that new and overwhelmed mom, and they could have been a warning to me if I’d only been open to the idea that being a mom wasn’t like getting good grades or career success, preparation doesn’t guarantee a thing.

  • Sara
    October 3, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Hi am currently expecting my first baby and have to say I have loved reading about your journey with your son. Thank you for posting everything you do!

  • Michelle
    October 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Beautiful article. Every stage of a being a new mom is so overwhelming, yet equally wonderful in its own way. My son is about to turn one — along the way I wondered if we’d all make it and now I’m wondering where the time went!

  • Laura
    October 4, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    My “baby” turned two last month and I’m all weepy after reading your article… the newborn and post-partum period seems like so long ago, but also seems like it was “just yesterday” in some ways. I loved your mom’s comment about night bringing a new morning… made me cry a little. 🙂 Also, looking back I don’t know that I really started feeling 100% like my “old self” until my son stopped nursing when he was 17 months old. My body has changed in what seems to be permanent ways, too. My hair went from stick straight to kind of wavy, I have saggy skin on my belly (even though it’s flat), my hips are wider even though I’m back at pre-baby weight, even PMS symptoms are different!

    Anyway, I’m rambling now. 🙂 The “all in” intensity of learning how to be a mom certainly went down for me as my son has gotten older and more capable of doing things on his own. At the same time, my love for him continues to grow each day in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined. There’s something special about little boys!

  • Emily @ Tips on Healthy Living
    October 5, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    This is wonderful, and so honest. Thank you!

  • Leah
    January 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I really appreciate the realness of that article. I am currently in my second trimester and while there are days I want nothing more than for my little girl to come out and meet the world, I am also remembering to enjoy the time with my husband I have left just the two of us, and you really helped remind me of that! Thank you for your honesty and candidness! 🙂 ~Leah