It didn’t take much time — or rosé — for things at our latest installment of Wine & Gyn to get very real and very personal. HelloFlo’s Naama Bloom moderated the discussion about life after having a baby among three mothers and industry leaders: sex and relationships expert Dr. Logan Levkoff, OB-GYN Dr. Jaquelline Perlman and Keech Combe Shetty, co-CEO of Combe Inc., the makers of Vagisil®.
Cracked nipples, skin discoloration and tips for making the most of post-baby sex (hint: Vagisil® ProHydrate Natural Feel Moisturizing Gel helps) were among topics discussed candidly throughout the night. (Oh, and there was also a story about vaginal explosion; more on that later.)
“We learn so much when we’re honest,” Levkoff said, recounting the guilt she felt about not enjoying her first pregnancy. “It’s much better to be honest with the people in our lives than to sit in quiet and think that someone is going to judge you for all those feelings, because those feelings are real and [they] don’t make you a bad person.”
Ahead, some extremely honest thoughts and confessions about what life is really like after having a baby, as told at Wine & Gyn.
On self-lubrication woes
“Not every person produces copious amounts of lubrication. We have this idea that if we’re aroused, obviously there’s going to be lubrication, but our brain and our bodies aren’t always synced up that way. There should be no shame or guilt if it doesn’t work the way you want it to. That’s why we have products to help us.” — Dr. Logan Levkoff
On breastfeeding struggles
“I recommend breastfeeding, but it’s a choice. Not everybody wants to do it, and nobody should be shamed into doing it, and nobody should feel guilty about it. Breastfeeding is not easy. It’s maybe natural for the baby, but it’s not so natural for us. It’s position dependent. There’s nipple pain. There’s breast pain. For some it’s easy and for others it’s painful. We have to understand that as providers and as women.” — Dr. Jaquelline Perlman
“I produced way, way, way too much milk. Even after my daughter would feed, I would still have to pump so I wouldn’t get engorged. I breastfed for three months, and my daughter had only breast milk for the first six months of her life because that’s how much I froze. It was insane. On Christmas Day, I had mastitis, a 104-degree fever, and was delirious. I was like ‘that’s it, we’re calling it.’” — Keech Combe Shetty
On being overwhelmed before your baby even arrives
“I threw up every day for 19-1/2 weeks. I wanted to kill someone. I’ve never been so miserable in my entire life. I’m pretty sure at six to eight weeks, I told my husband, ‘We made a mistake. We need to end this now.’ It was bad.
“I was suffering thinking I was the worst human being in the entire world… but being a good parent isn’t about saying it’s so much fun all the time. Owning the fact that even if this is something you want, it feels overwhelming and crappy at times is OK.” — Dr. Logan Levkoff
On skin discoloration
“This can happen because of high hormones. It’s called melasma. Some women get it on their face and others get a dark line on their stomach [linea nigra]. Most of the time, it will fade after pregnancy, but it may not necessarily go away.” — Dr. Jaquelline Perlman
On no two recoveries being the same
“After my first C-section, it took me four weeks to be able to walk again. The second time, I was mobile after two weeks.” — Keech Combe Shetty
On having your vagina explode
“I had a very short labor with just 15 minutes of pushing. You would think that’s fabulous, except then I heard the words ‘Jaque, your vagina exploded.’ Needless to say, there was one hour of stitching.
“If you push a little longer, it gives the vagina a chance to elongate and relax, and everything adapts. But when you do it in 15 minutes, nothing adapts. Everything healed properly, but when I first got home, I couldn’t sit — not even on three pillows. Turns out I had a tiny blood clot within my incision. Once my doctor took it out, it all healed much better and much faster.” — Dr. Jaquelline Perlman
On not losing your sexual identity
“It’s really easy to take the sexual side of ourselves and put it on the backburner when we become a parent. But remembering that you’re a sexual being with a capacity for pleasure is really valuable. I think that’s a huge component of self-care.” — Dr. Logan Levkoff
This post was sponsored by Vagisil®.