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That Time I Didn't Poop for 10 Days After Giving Birth

Photograph by Twenty20

I'd never experienced hemorrhoids until I gave birth to my first child. I had heard of them, even been warned about them, but always thought, how bad can it be? You throw on some Preparation H and go about your day, right?


After pushing out a child, your bum experiences a whole new world. It can get turned inside out, literally. Because I was a young(ish) first-time mom and was deathly afraid and embarrassed to let anyone in on what was happening south of the border, I suffered in silence.

A few days after being home from the hospital, I felt very sore in that general area. And going to the bathroom resembled having someone rub sand paper between my cheeks. I could barely walk. I felt sick to my stomach all the time. And I ended up holding in my poo for 10 days. Yes, you read that right. Ten. Days.

No wonder I couldn't stand up. I was packed full of a shit-ton of, well, shit.

I was so afraid to move my bowels because the pain was excruciating every time I tried. Almost as bad as my contraction during my all-natural childbirth. I literally could not relax enough to go. I would even sit on the pot and give myself pep talks.

"You can do this," I'd say. "Just breathe."

But I couldn't do it.

And so I decided I didn't need to poop ever again and I would hold it in forever.

I bought tube after tube of hemorrhoid ointment. I tried the inserts (DO NOT TRY THESE!). I sat for hours in a hot bath. I stuffed cold cloths and ice in my butt crack whenever I could. I tried stool softeners, but they didn't soften anything. I thought for sure I was dying or would need surgery at the very least.

When you're a first-time mom, it's rare to are able to lay down and put your feet up. You're trying to figure it all out. You don't rest. And I certainly wasn't comfortable calling a friend or family and telling them I had a scorching case of the ass blossoms and needed some major help up in here.

Please help me. I have not pooped in nine days. I can't live like this.

But I should have. I ended up letting the hemorrhoids get so out of hand that I finally broke down and called my doctor. I was at my wit's end crying into the phone while my child (finally) napped, "Please help me. I have not pooped in nine days. I can't live like this." I ended up going in to see her that day and she wrote me a prescription.

She also told me to lay off anything with a lot of iron or protein, keep up with the water, back off the sugar and eat lots of good fats.

I did all of those things. I would have done many, many more—even some I would never admit to later—if I knew it would make my swollen, brown starfish calm the hell down.

And it worked.

The next day, I was able to move my bowels like, well, a mother who hadn't sat on the pot for 10 days. And I'd never been so excited.

I called my husband and told him we needed to go out and celebrate because his wife finally took a much needed dump. I know, totally romantic.

So, if you're suffering because the lining of your arse is hanging out, please, please, please call your doctor and get the help you need. There's no need to walk around full of crap for almost two weeks like I did. And trust me, there's no shame—we've all been there. Just think of it as a rite of passage into #momlife.

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