Holy Hormones Honey! Rebecca Cuneo Keenan comments on her first post-baby period – and makes one wonder if there is a period god?
What’s Your Period Like After You Have a Baby?
Rebecca Cuneo Keenan
November 16, 2012
I’m trying to think of the perfect metaphor for that first post-baby period. It’s kind of like an avalanche, or a broken dam or like a gushing geyser except, you know, upside down. Oh, and except bloodier. Of course, that unstoppable torrent of blood is not rushing down a mountain side or up a river bank where you might be able to protect yourself with a wall of sand bags or, at the very least, flee the scene. No, it comes from within your body and threatens to ruin your best a clean pair of underwear and drip down your legs and through the jeggings you put on even though you can’t wear a back up giant maxi pad in them because, dammit, you’ve had three kids and the stretchy material is flattering and you just thought you could get away with it, okay? Are you satisfied yet?
I see now, too, that it get worse with every baby. And I don’t know if there’s any science to back this up, but it feels like the longer you get to go without a period, the more the period gods curse you. I went 16 months without a period after my first baby, and my, oh my, was that first period bad. I only got an 8 month break after my second baby, but it was still just as bad. This time, though, I had 14 glorious, period-free months. You just know I was going to have to pay.
In fact, I was so sure I was going to have to pay that I’ve been walking around with a box of tampons in my purse for the past three months. I put them there just before my trip to New York City in August and I am still gobsmacked that I didn’t start my period in the middle of the Martha Stewart keynote or while I was stranded in LaGuardia airport for hours on end. If I’d been on the flight ahead of mine, the one that was actually stranded on the tarmac for three solid hours, then I would have gotten my period. If I’d been stuck on a tarmac for three hours with my tampons packed in my checked luggage then I would have gotten it for sure.
But that didn’t happen. And then, two weeks later I thought I had the worst PMS in the history of womankind and was walking around in a hormone-induced rage for two days solid. I was sure it was coming this time. I mean, I’d been away from my baby for four days in New York. I had not been waking up in the middle of the night to express breast milk and I only pumped once on the last day I was gone. Then two weeks later I was so utterly engulfed in a fury that telemarketers were hanging up on me? It had to be, right? But nope. I guess it was just a bad mood.
This is all to say that I’d been expecting it. I’d been prepared for it, even. I walked around with tampons in my purse for three consecutive months and I remembered to stock up on panty liners. I am a grown, adult woman with three children and I was not going to let the unexpected arrival of a menstrual period get the better of me again. Nope. Not again. This time I was ready.
So when my period finally did arrive on Saturday morning, I didn’t panic. I groaned and complained, yes, but I didn’t panic. I went about my life, popping Advil and attending to my feminine hygiene as necessary. The children were a bit miffed by the sudden “Mommy needs privacy in the bathroom” rule, but whatever.