Motherhood and the Scoop on Poopby Elizabeth MacDonald
Rarely does a mother shy away from a conversation about poop. I mean, we mothers wipe shit, clean shit, worry about shit, and deal with shit every day. We lay awake with our motherhood anxiety and then wonder if that odd smell is actually shit. Before motherhood, poop was nothing more than a bodily process that came up in 0.00002% of conversations. But now it's such a regular topic of discussion that you can chat about it over wine with friends, while at date night with your partner, or over the phone with your mother.
All the Motherhood Stages of Poop
PregnancyConstipation may have you eating more fiber than ever before, but then, oh crap! (Literally) Diarrhea can come when you least expect it. This stage of poop isn't really a conversation starter, and most moms forgo sharing these crappy details of pregnancy with others -- even their midwives! But just wait, there is so much more poop in your future.
LaborPooping while pushing is human nature, but everyone is so embarrassed over it. Again, no one wants to mention this aspect of pregnancy and birth, but it's there, as common as you'd think it would be.
The terrifying poop comes next. After pushing a baby out, the last thing you want to do is have a bowel movement. Laxatives are definitely recommended. This is the turning point in the conversation about poop. Your birth team will talk to you about this first pooping experience, and you will share because they all just saw you squeeze a watermelon-sized human from your vagina. Within those first few weeks and months, you may realize that you did not escape pregnancy without getting hemorrhoids. That's a whole other conversation.... bloody poop. Ugh.
Your Newborn's Poop
The sticky, black, tar-like poop is disgusting. It stains everything and takes serious wiping skills to get that baby butt clean. This is the poop that every new mom uses to jump into the poop conversation. You will start tracking the amount of poop that comes out of your baby, and recording how often it happens. Jaundice levels and output of poop are greatly related, and high bilirubin levels can be scary. I personally believe that this is when you truly become comfortable talking about poop. It is when motherhood anxiety and worry creep in; that's the point you will ask anyone and everyone about their baby's poop. Then the poop turns into mustard seed looking poop. But, truly, it can't be right, so you'll need to google baby poop colors and consistencies. You'll ask the pediatrician and show pictures to your friends. (Yes, this is all normal.) And then the pooping stops for a few days, and you panic. "Where's the poop? Why isn't my baby pooping?"
The baby may even become gassy and a bit uncomfortable, but they still won't be pooping! It can stretch out for days, sending you to the drugstore or doctor for help. You'll lose sleep thinking about the surgeries your child will need to get him to poop. Just as life always does, the shit works its way out. Your lost sleep will be forgotten and you'll move on to the next poop conversation:
Yep, the poop that escapes the diaper, climbs the back, drips down the legs and trails behind the infant. These moments typically happen while you are on your way somewhere important or fun. They also happen when you aren't prepared with extra clothing or a bottle of wine.