I just saw an add for Frida Mom that was allegedly banned from airing during the Oscars. The point of the ad is that most women are not prepared for postpartum care, and I couldn’t agree more!
When you get to the postpartum unit and get settled into your room, a nurse comes in and explains how to take care of your newly injured lady bits, but even that can’t prepare you for the reality of it. To pee hurt so bad I would cry, and the thought of wiping was cringe-worthy. You have to pat yourself dry of urine, spray warm water to “clean” yourself, and then pat that dry. Then they want you to put on mesh panties with a pad that’s bigger than your thigh. Oh, and don’t forget the 2 inch thick ice pack you’re supposed to shove in your panties as well. So how the heck do they expect you to sit down with all of that shoved between your legs putting pressure on your injured vagina?
I am a preemie mom, so my story is a little different. I didn’t get to have my baby with me for more than nine weeks, which made some aspects of postpartum care easier and other parts more difficult. I remember getting up in the middle of the night to change my gigantic pad and wondering how women feel this awful AND take care of a newborn. My vagina felt like it had been in a fight. It hurt to sit and the stitches from where my labia had been torn were very sore.
I remember visiting my sisters after they had their kids and wondering why they were always lying down and walking funny. Once I had my son, I was finally let in on the secret: sitting hurts. But I’m a preemie mom, so I spent 8-12 hours a day SITTING in a hospital chair in my son’s room in the NICU. Taking care of my lady bits took a back seat to taking care of my tiny baby. I packed pads and ice packs in my day bag, but many times I didn’t want to get up and use the public restrooms on the unit to take care of my aching vagina.
I only used the sitz bath once, and I only used my spray bottle to clean my stitches while I was at home. And I wasn’t at home that often. Something needs to be done to better prepare women for the trauma of taking care of their traumatized vaginas postpartum. Hopefully Frida Mom can set a new precedent for postpartum care!