16 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Labor And Postpartum, Now That I'm Almost A Year Into Motherhood

16 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Labor And Postpartum, Now That I'm Almost A Year Into Motherhood

Hi, I'm Hannah. Last June, I had my first baby, a girl named Eleanor. I cannot believe she is almost a year old. This past year has been the fastest and the slowest of my life, and there have been so many moments I've felt overjoyed, overwhelmed, overtired, and everything in between.

Woman and baby sitting on a blanket outdoors surrounded by floating soap bubbles
Hannah Loewentheil

One thing I can say for certain is that labor and postpartum come with many surprises. So whether you're a fellow parent, expecting a baby, or just thinking about maybe having kids someday, here are some of the aspects of having a child that I wish someone had told me a year ago.

And one more thing: I know this can be a difficult subject matter, whether you are struggling to conceive, experiencing postpartum depression, or anything of the sort. Please skip this post if reading this type of content is not helpful for you right now, and know I'm sending you love and support.

1.That my body still wouldn't really feel like mine for months.

Mother sitting on a park bench, feeding an infant covered with a blanket, next to a stroller with a small dog inside

2.That I would feel like life might never be normal again, but normalcy *does* return.

Woman in a striped top using a breast pump and holding a wine glass

3.That after reading and hearing so many horror stories about delivery, labor, in my case, would be so much easier than expected.

Person in hospital bed with IV, holding something in mouth

4.That my boobs would change...a lot.

Woman smiling at camera holding a sleeping baby in a onesie, with "Jessica" necklace, indoors by a window

5.That the night sweats would last months.

Person in bed with a pillow over their head, wearing a sleeveless top, lying on a rumpled bedsheet

6.That my hair would change drastically.

Person combing hair with a brush, seated at a desk, facing away from the camera

7.That I'd feel stronger postpartum than I ever did before.

Woman holding a sleeping baby in a carrier, with an ice cream cone in her hand

8.That I would bleed a lot in the first weeks postpartum.

Hands holding an adult incontinence underwear against a blue background

9.That sex would hurt...for a while.

Scene from a film with a man and woman lying in bed, expressions suggest an awkward situation

10.That having a baby would challenge my relationship with my husband.

Family portrait with two adults, a baby, and a dog, lounging together and smiling

11.That parenthood would come with lots of anxiety and constant worrying.

Woman holds baby, both facing the sea. She's in a sleeveless dress; the baby in a onesie. They stand on a sandy beach

12.That after-birth contractions are a thing.

Newborn baby with hospital ID band holding an adult's finger, wrapped in a striped blanket

13.That it would be really difficult to get minor, everyday tasks done for a while.

Open washing machine with a mix of laundry items inside

14.That my hormones would go pretty wild when I stopped breastfeeding.

Woman with a tearful expression, close-up selfie, wearing a necklace and polka dot top

15.That I'd have a huge amount of new respect for my own mother (and all mothers).

Child in a hooded polka-dot top sits on an adult's shoulders, both looking away contemplatively

16.That it would be the most fun I've ever had.

Woman holding a child, both looking at a rainbow over a beach landscape

I'd be lying if I said the first year wasn't challenging. But it has been incredible, too, and it just keeps getting better.

Hannah Loewentheil

Now that I've told you about my experience, I'd love to hear from you. What were some things about labor, postpartum, or parenthood that you were surprised by? What are the things you wish someone had told you sooner? Tell me in the comments or add your thoughts to this anonymous form.