What to Expect *in the Mirror* Postpartum

What to Expect *in the Mirror* Postpartum

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I gotta be honest with ya.

Ladies, having babies is hard. And while is it most definitely worth it (kids are so amazing!), we can’t downplay the fact that it is really tough. Pregnancy will get long, labor is extremely taxing, and when you look in the mirror postpartum…well, you *might* wet yourself a little when you gasp.

Yes, there are a few of you who will look amazing in your postpartum pictures. But unfortunately those few are the exception. Most of us will probably deal with at least a few of these ailments. So here they are, along with a few suggestions on how to help!


Whether its vaginal delivery or c-section, labor is hard on your body. Not only will you feel tired, you will look tired. The “fatigue look” will probably be similar to what you look like the morning after a difficult workout, a rough night’s sleep, and a bad hair day all combined. Times five.

How to help this? Get sleep. Sleep. Sleeeeep. Kick visitors out of your hospital room or family out of your house and take as many snoozes as you can get. An Epsom Salt soak in a bathtub will also help ease some of those aches and pains. And a gentle massage can do wonders!

Swollen face and bad makeup

I shook like a leaf for the first couple days postpartum. Eyeliner? Yeah. No way. You may not shake a ton, but the fatigue will probably make you want to do as few movements as possible. Your face could also be swollen from pushing during vaginal delivery.

What can you do? If you must wear makeup, do the easy applications. Foundation, mascara, and maybe a little blush. If your face is really swollen, don’t worry about makeup for a few days. Put a cold washcloth over your eyes to help the swelling go down, and apply some aloe vera to your face like a mask. Those two things will help calm your skin and ease the swelling. (Also make sure to wash your face after delivery, you will be sweaty).

What to Expect in the Mirror Postpartum
Just do the easy makeup, nothing difficult! PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Jiggly tummy

This will be the time in your life for an authentic Santa Clause impression. Don’t believe me? Right after you have your baby, stand up and say “Ho, ho, ho!”. Your tummy will bounce up and down like a bowl of jelly. I thought it was hilarious, but if it weirds you out too much you can wear a postpartum wrap. Just make sure not to get it too tight- you want all the gunk from labor to get out of there! Some abdominal massage can also help the swelling go down but be warned, this hurts pretty bad!

Little extra junk in the trunk

Chances are, you will put some weight on during pregnancy. It will become pretty obvious to you once you’re not pregnant anymore. Right after delivery, the best thing you can do is breastfeed your baby! I pumped like crazy those first couple weeks and it took about two weeks for me to be comfortable with how I looked. Your case will be different, but feeding baby is the best thing you can do until you are cleared to workout by your doctor!

What to Expect in the Mirror Postpartum
Pexels / Pixabay


You may look a little ghostly after delivery, depending on how much you bled and how long you pushed. I bled a lot and pushed for three hours, so I looked pretty scary. However, the color kind of rushed back to me with the IV fluids they were giving me. So make sure you drink lots of water and eat! You will probably be starving postpartum (especially if you weren’t allowed to eat during labor) so get your fill of yummy foods and it will help you feel a lot better!

Swelling down there

DON’T LOOK **DOWN THERE** for at least three weeks after delivery!! At the very least it will be swollen and distorted, possibly with a mess of stitches if you had an episiotomy. It will make you want to hurl to look down there. So just leave the hand mirror in the cabinet and don’t make an effort to peek. It’s bad.

To help you heal down there, make sure to take sitz baths alternating cold and warm. This will help with the swelling. Additionally, keep something cool down there. The postpartum diapers from the hospital are absolutely amazing for this, but this article for postpartum pads also helps a lot! I would also suggest keeping witch hazel wipes in your hospital bag and applying them religiously, they really help a lot too.

New stretch marks

Your body will change even further during delivery, and you may have new stretch marks on your hips or bum. Things move so much, they could practically be anywhere.

What can you do? Apply lotion. Yes there are special lotions for stretch marks, but really any lotion will do the job. I like to use Cetaphil, and my stretch marks have faded a ton. In a few months they will fade to white lines that you’ll hardly notice 🙂

Swollen legs

You will not want to go out sporting a mini skirt, let’s establish that. Your feet and legs will swell tremendously after delivery. My feet were two shoe sizes bigger for about a week! My legs were like pillows!

So put your legs up. Seriously, any chance you get. I would always put my legs up against the headboard for 15 minutes before bed and I found that helped a ton. And again, Epsom salt sitz baths are amazing. Take as many as you can!

What to Expect in the Mirror Postpartum
Fill it up with water and epsom salt! MikesPhotos / Pixabay

After all these crazy postpartum symptoms, you may be feeling a little down on yourself. But take heart! You just had a kid! You did something that is impossibly amazing and miraculous. Celebrate because you get to meet your new little baby and pregnancy is finally over! You can take a picture of yourself and keep it, proud to look back on the face that did something so amazing.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel M

Had your baby? What did you think when you looked in the mirror? Tell us in the comments below!


What to Expect in the Mirror Postpartum


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