Aunt Flo's Back (And I'm Not Sure How to Feel About It)
The first postpartum period brought a mix of emotions, including excitement.
It’s been nearly two years since my last period. I almost forgot what it was like.
While trying to conceive our first child, visits from Aunt Flo were irregular and sporadic. It made it harder to track ovulation and a period was a sign that we still weren’t successful. I was actually pretty surprised when we found out I was pregnant because my last period was at least two months before that!
After having my daughter, I knew it could take awhile for my menstrual cycle to return, especially while breastfeeding. Most moms who aren’t breastfeeding can expect the return of their menstrual cycle within the first three months, with the average being 45 days postpartum. The normal range for nursing moms varies greatly and is dependent in part on how long and how often baby is breastfeeding with the average being 14 months after birth. Our plan was to start trying for our second child after our daughter turned one. Although my period returned around the six month mark, it was irregular again, coming every two months the rest of that year. We waited a little longer before trying, then my period started coming on time, once a month for three months in a row. Third time was a charm so we got to work and conceived our son.
I wasn’t sure how long it would take for Aunt Flo to come back around again this time. I’m still nursing my son–in fact I’ve been breastfeeding non-stop for a little over three tears! I’d heard from some moms that theirs came back faster after their second kid. When six months came and went, I started to wonder about it a little bit, but mostly forgot about it. So, I was quite surprised to receive a visit 13-months postpartum and all the emotions it unleashed.
A sense of relief tinged with disappointment that recent activities weren’t making any decisions for us. We are still considering a third baby, but not quite this soon. Without a period, ovulation has been “out of sight, out of mind” even though I know it’s possible to get pregnant without one. Now that it’s back, we really need to be more mindful about birth control methods until we are ready to add to our family, even if a surprise would have been welcome.
However, knowing my body is getting ready again made me giddy. In the back of my mind I wondered if her late arrival would impact fertility—we’ll see. The discomfort and cramping made me nostalgic and weepy, reminding me of both my labors and deliveries. And even though menstrual cramping is mild compared to labor contractions, I forgot how awful they make me feel. Aunt Flo’s return has prompted a few questions due to the lack of privacy in the bathroom with an inquisitive, verbal preschooler.
Mostly I’d say I was happy for her visit though, but only if she promises to come around regularly until we are ready for the next baby. Then she can pack up and stay away for good.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN