**As a special note, this blog entry talks about some detail into things that happen with a woman's body after pregnancy. It is not for the faint-hearted. Proceed with caution!
How many of us who have gone through labor and delivery came out of it thinking: "Oh yeah, that's EXACTLY like all of my friends said it would be!" Well, I wasn't one of those people. I was the person who came out of my labor and delivery saying, "REALLY?! This is what my mother went through? No wonder she didn't tell me!" Then, after the first six weeks of Baby being home, I knew exactly why my mother never told me everything that would happen...she was afraid she wouldn't become a grandmother!
Now, don't get me wrong. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE being a mother, and I'd never ask for anything - or anyone - else. However, let's face it, labor, delivery, and those first few weeks are not like the movies or TV shows. Labor lasts a lot longer (for those of us lucky people); delivery involves a lot more sweat and other things that aren't pretty; and those first few weeks are indescribable (albeit, wonderful when you look back at them a few months later).
After talking to a lot of other new moms, I realized just how much we didn't know about the entire process of becoming a mom. Yes, yes, yes...we all were taught the birds and the bees, but who really knew about the six-week menstrual cycle you'd have after Baby arrived; breast engorgement; nipple pain; the pain of episiotomies, lacerations, and abrasions - not to mention the pain sex for the first time after Baby can bring? It seems as though these topics are either taboo or items that everyone must figure out on their own.
While other people are busy getting all of those "New Baby" gifts, I've decided to begin a new gift giving tradition. This gift contains overnight pads without wings (for those times when nothing smaller will do and the wings would just irritate certain areas), nursing pads (after many different trials, my favorite brand being Medela), Medela nipple cream (because it's more like a lotion than Vasoline), and Motrin IB (for those pains that stick around even after you've finished the doctor's pain prescription). I also recommend to my friends that they purchase some cheap underwear that they won't mind having to throw away. I've thought of tossing in a bottle of K-Y, but even that's a little too personal for me!
So, for all of you other moms out there...what were the items that you couldn't live without (for you) after Baby was born? Or, what items would you recommend to other Moms-to-be?