Well, we have survived almost as many months with Adelaide on the outside as we have with her on the inside! She turns eight months old next week and in some ways it is hard to believe that only eight short months ago I was sitting at home, a few days past my due date, wondering when this girl would show up. But when I think of the sleep deprivation and working off the extra pounds, the eight months seem very, very long 😉
Everyone talks about the changes that happen during pregnancy. And everyone likes to tell their own miraculous and traumatizing birth experience. Even recovery is touched on often. But in the months after giving birth I still felt like I was getting reacquainted with my body… and struggling with a few postpartum changes I was not expecting.
So, here are the postpartum changes I was not prepared for, with the last one being the one I’ve been working on the most recently:
1. Hair loss: Everyone mentioned that their hair fell out a few months postpartum, but what I didn’t expect is that my hair is quite a bit thinner than it was before I was ever pregnant. Everything I’ve read says that your hair is just returning to its natural growth and regrowth cycles but my tresses would beg to differ. I’ve taken up using a thickening shampoo + conditioner and focusing on these tips to help stop or reverse the process.
2. Skin Changes: I had mentally prepared to lose the weight I’d gained with each pregnancy but what I didn’t plan for is the extra skin that didn’t disappear as the pounds came off. Lotions with vitamin E help tighten the skin but mostly it just takes time. Even as stretch marks fade, the skin is still just there.
3. Back Pain: I was excited for lower back pain to go away once I was no longer pregnant but no one mentioned that it persists long into the newborn months. The hours spent hunched over a newborn trying to nurse and carrying an extra 10-20 pounds in my arms for the first year didn’t help. Daily exercise and yoga stretches were a necessity (along with some ibuprofen). Cat and cow (yoga poses) are great for relieving back pain … bonus points for doing it with your newborn lying on the floor making faces up at you while you do it.
4. Dry Skin: Before babies I moisturized my legs in the summer and applied plenty of aloe after a sunburn, but that was the most I thought about what I put on my skin. After this second baby though, once the total sleep deprivation had worn off, I was convinced I was having an allergic reaction to our laundry detergent. My skin was SO dry and itchy. We switched detergents a few times, I doubled my water intake, and I started watching the fabrics I chose to wear. Nothing helped and my skin was painfully and irritatingly dry.
What I didn’t know was that dry skin can be due to a hormonal imbalance after child birth and can persist for up to a year post partum.
I noticed it mainly at night when things had calmed down but if I wasn’t careful I’d start scratching and end up with angry red lines across my legs (or back, or stomach). I tried so many different lotions before I came across Curél® Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer. Some other lotions would offer immediate relief but Curél is the only one that has made a noticeable difference in my skin. It is thicker than any other lotion I tried but absorbs quickly. It leaves my skin feeling hydrated but not sticky.
The interesting thing about this lotion is that it works on the ceramides in your skin. Don’t know what ceramides are, and how they affect dry skin? Don’t worry, I looked up “ceramide” for both of us: they’re a family of waxy lipid molecules that are found in the skins outer layers and help retain moisture. Instead of just treating the symptoms, like most lotions do, hat it works on goes to the source and helps your skin retain more moisture, helping your skin improve its retention over time. The way this lotion works is really interesting. You apply it right when you get out of the shower, on wet skin, before you even dry off. Then you just towel dry and go about your day – that’s it! There’s no waiting around for it to absorb, which is a good thing, because everyone knows that babies are exactly patiently waiting for you to finish a long beauty routine! I also used this as a regular lotion when I wasn’t showering and it worked really well.
update: I’ve also been using massage oil with lavender in it and that has been really moisturizing and soothing as well!
I’ve been using this moisturizer daily for a month now, and I’ve noticed that my dry skin looks more hydrated and feels softer. I’m still trying to be consistent with applying Curél® Hydra Therapy every day and drinking a lot of water, but I’ve been able to resume my hot showers and haven’t had to think about the type of fabric I wear over the last few weeks (thank goodness).
Do you struggle with dry skin? What postpartum changes were you unprepared for after baby? Tell me in the comments below!!