Before the birth of my son, I spent a long time talking with many of you about physical effects postpartum and how, considering the lengthy list of potential problems, it's odd how little they are discussed.
For the curious, here's my experience. I don't claim that it is typical in any fashion.
Pain down there-- achy three days and then serious stinging on the toilet for about 5 days, much less bad than I imagined.
Boobs- sore cracked nipples for about three weeks; needing to wear a bra all the time, including sleeping for 5 weeks; itchy, sweaty and generally uncomfortable all the time still. Leakage when my "milk came in" and minor since, mostly at night. Did have an infection at a week and a half-- didn't take antibiotics and it went away.
Bleeding- very very heavy first two days, like a heavy period for another week, like a normal period for the next week, spotting for a while and then starting up again heavy around my four week appointment. Actually stopped at five weeks. Might have been longer since I was on blood thinners. Never had any clots the size of a fist or larger (you're supposed to call your doctor with these) but definitely passed some doozies.
Temperature control-- horrible when my milk came in (freezing and sweating simultaneously) and off for a full five weeks, including bad night sweats.
Contracting uterus-- one of the freakiest things I've experienced is the draining of my uterus by a nice nurse pushing on it, followed by direct links between dianthus sucking and tingling in my tummy region. It was very weird while still at the hospital my tummy was still so large and hard. By two weeks it was soft and now it looks like I'm just carrying excess fat around the stomach rather than recently pregnant. I'm still wearing my maternity capris but really want to lose some weight before it gets much colder so I don't need to wear my maternity pants (all of which are dress pants for work with fairly wide spandex tops and no pockets.
Post partum depression-- my crying all the time for most of the first five weeks felt more like a physical than a psychological symptom, if that makes any sense. I never thought that I was going to hurt myself or my child and I always thought that exercise and time would make it better (and I thought that it would get better), so it may not "really" have been PPD, but many books label "regular" baby blues as lasting a week or less and PPD lasting longer. I didn't stop crying daily until sometime after I stopped bleeding, about five weeks. I feel much better now.
Incontinence-- Never had any fecal incontinence, thank goodness, and urine hasn't been bad-- just when I sneeze or cough, and it's less of a problem than when I was pregnant. Still, should have done more kegels.
Hair loss- One doesn't lose much hair while pregnant (mine looked great, I might add) so sometime after the baby is born, hormones shift and one can lose six months worth of normal hair loss at once. This has not happened to me and my hair is lovely when it is down. Of course it is never down because Dianthus can grab, so I didn't really realize how long and blond it currently is until I brushed it out over the weekend. 'Cause I'm vain and want somebody to see it, I thought I'd post a picture for all of you to admire.
Oh, as to why the physical aspects are so little discussed, I suspect it is because the emotional issues overwhelm the physical or there are just too many other things to do (unlike pregnancy, which is largely waiting, so you can think about and talk about your body). Or that people need to forget quickly.