Written by Lucy Sweet

Health

Lady Parts: The Postnatal Body

After giving birth, there comes a new strain of strictly female disgustingness. But it’s all perfectly natural, so why should we pretend it isn’t happening? Lucy Sweet urges mothers everywhere to tell the world about their battered postnatal hoo-ha, and don’t stop until everyone in Asda has fainted.

post natal lady parts

Illustration by Lucy Sweet

Stretched Pelvic Floor

CREEEEEEAK. PSSSSSSSS. What’s that? A rusty hinge on the door of the Batcave? A cobra emerging from its snake-charming basket? No, it’s your PELVIC FLOOR, which used to be fully operational and is now like a broken dumb waiter in an abandoned hotel. Making the muscles down there move takes two clenched fists and a hell of a lot of willpower, and when you bend over, a jet of pee comes out, earning you the local nickname “Old Lady Who Smells of Piss”. Of course, if you do up to 200 pelvic floor exercises a day (while you’re washing up! Or while you’re crying because your baby won’t sleep) then you can regain your tight chuff. But the effort of doing this, combined with breastfeeding while watching back to back episodes of The Millionaire Matchmaker, will prove too much, so you are destined to have a bucket fanny with wind whistling through it forever. Oh WELL. *eats crisps*

The Crab Ladder

When you’re pregnant, a little line of dark fluff appears from your downstairs to your belly button. It looks a bit like Craig David’s beard, and it’s basically Mother Nature’s equivalent of drawing on you with a Sharpie and saying, “HA! You’re MINE NOW!” It hangs around for a little while afterwards but don’t worry, it’s not a permanent resident. While it’s there, though, you feel a bit like a minor overweight member of a ‘90s boyband, posing in a crop top on the cover of Smash Hits. As if you don’t feel unattractive enough…

Nips Like Dustbin Lids

If you constantly nibble, pull and chew on something, it’s going to look a bit knackered, isn’t it? Like an out of shape jumper you keep pulling over your knees. And the same goes for your poor nipples, which will become stretched beyond all recognition by all that mauling, pumping and tugging. Like the Mona Lisa’s eyes, your nipples will follow you round the room, and be roughly the size of dartboards. Still, at least when you finish breastfeeding you’ll always have a couple of coasters handy for your wine glass.

The Second Coming

Everybody knows about the birth, but what about that other birth? The much less attractive one, a few days later? When I had my son, the ladies in the ward – all in various stages of stitched-up, hormonal disarray – were waiting for one thing and one thing only: the FIRST POO. “They won’t let you out until you do a poo,” one of them whispered through the curtain. We all wondered with horror what it would be like. We paced the room like ghosts, overwhelmed with sleep deprivation. We vowed that what happened in the ward would stay in the ward. We listened to the excruciating cries of our newborns, but mostly we listened to the excruciating cries of our digestive system and thought, “WHAT IF I SPLIT MY KIPPER?” When nature took its course, it was a delicate operation, to say the least. In fact, I can’t remember it now. I must have blocked it out (like the toilet).

And FINALLY…The Never-Ending Period

When you have a baby the medical profession sends you home with sanitary towels that look like double duvets. After the fun of wrapping yourself in them and pretending to be Frankie Howerd in Up Pompeii dies down, take a good look at these jumbo jobbies, because they will be your best friends for SIX WHOLE WEEKS. Yes, as well as having to wake up every microsecond and look after a defenceless being even though you have zero experience with babies, you’re also on the blob for over a month. HURRAY! The official name for it is lochia, apparently. Because giving it a fancy Greek name makes ruining the sofa seem much more noble, doesn’t it?

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Written by Lucy Sweet

Lucy Sweet is a writer and incorrigible lard arse. Her nursery school teacher said she would never be a proper lady, and she was right.