7 Things Medical School Didn’t Teach Me About Postpartum

Dr. Jolene BrightenPublished: Last Reviewed: Postpartum Leave a Comment

Any mom knows … motherhood is a crazy journey full of hard days, even harder laughter, and unexpected lessons learned along the way.

I decided to write down some of what I experienced that medical school did not prep me for and the common concerns that many of my patients share with me (that is, once we close the office door) about the surprises they faced as a new mom.

7 Things Medical School Didn’t Teach Me
About Postpartum
(And Your Doctor Probably Didn't Share)

  1. Ouch, My Nipples! Um, I had no idea I’d want spew a slew of curse words every time my child latched on that first week. Sure, you find your rhythm with your child eventually because it’s like … find your rhythm or die!
  2. My Swollen Vagina. Why doesn’t anyone talk about this? There was some attention paid to the thought of using cold packs following birth, but no one really talked about the degree of swelling, pain, discomfort and how my vagina would be the most foreign part of my body for a good while. And then when the swelling went down…eek! Speaking of vaginas…
  3. Forget Hemorrhoids … What is up with this bump on my vagina? Vaginal varicosities is what is up and they happen the same way hemorrhoids do— too much pressure on the blood vessels. But no one tells you that you might get a vaginal “hemorrhoid” and very few patients will want to bring this up to their doctors. I’ve diagnosed many cases of vaginal varicosities with many of my patients after delivery and can tell you, it is more common than you might think.  
  4. There’s No Deadline. Due date … passed. Number of hours it took my mom to birth … passed. These arbitrary dates and times mean nothing and that baby comes whenever it wants. Needless to say, I learned some patience and humility as I birthed. And continue to learn that time is truly relative.
  5. Pooping is Scary!!! My body just delivered a human and now I need to pass stool? No way. NO. WAY. There is a real fear about anything coming out of anywhere down there for at least a day … maybe a week. But as I talked about in my book, you do not want to find yourself constipated so taking necessary steps to soften your stool and make sure you are regular is a must!
  6. The Guilt! OMG, what is with all this guilt us moms feel? We are feeling down on ourselves for breastfeeding too often, not enough, for feeling exhausted, for taking a bath … you name it, one of us has felt guilty about it.
  7. I Am Utterly Alone. This is was a sobering realization for me while I was birthing and it continued throughout my postpartum period. It isn’t that I didn’t have people supporting me, but when you are birthing, it is 100% you and your body that is charged with the task of delivering your baby. It’s scary, isolating, but also incredibly empowering because no matter how you chose to birth, you are the mother that grew that little human and did whatever it took to bring that life to this world.
    The feelings of being alone, isolated, and in need of greater support are almost universal. This is probably the least talked about and the hardest aspect of being a mother (besides the sleep thing … don’t get me started on the sleep). After recognizing how little my doctor prepared me for postpartum and really, how little I had prepared myself, I set out on a mission to support all mothers – whether you’re in the preconception, pregnancy, or postpartum portion of your journey.

That’s why I set out to create a first-of-its-kind bundle of original eBooks, videos, audio courses, and special offers just for moms. And in honor of Mother's Day, we are celebrating the entire week by offering this unique and valuable resource for only $47! 

Learn everything you need to know about this amazing package that includes contributions from  50+ of the leading practitioners in health and wellness. Just as a little sneak peek, the Mom’s Wellness Bundle includes:

  • The Mom’s Wellness eBook with 100+ recipes, wellness tips, and more from more than 25 leaders in the health space.
  • The Mom Bundle, which includes exclusive interviews with the top docs and scientists in natural and functional medicine, eBooks, online courses, eCookbooks, videos, and more.
  • More than $400 in savings from some of my favorite natural brands.

I hope you’ll check out this invaluable resource created for anyone who wants to learn more about fertility, postpartum care, self-love, deep nutrition, and more! And remember, the special price of $47 is only good until May 7th, after that, the price goes up to $97. 

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is a women’s hormone expert and prominent leader in women’s medicine. As a licensed naturopathic physician who is board certified in naturopathic endocrinology, she takes an integrative approach in her clinical practice. A fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances, Dr. Brighten empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones. She is the best selling author of Beyond the Pill and Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth. Dr. Brighten is an international speaker, clinical educator, medical advisor within the tech community, and considered a leading authority on women’s health. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and a faculty member for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. Her work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Bustle, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, Elle, and ABC News. Read more about me here.