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The postpartum Crohn’s flare up is real.

I had read about it, I had been told about it but I couldn’t help but think that perhaps I might be one of the lucky ones. However, after a pregnancy of eating whatever I wanted (oh, the joy!) it turns out my luck had run out and after approximately five days after birth…wham! It began!

Flaring five days after a C-section

My first question was quite simply: Why me? Yes, I’d been lucky enough to have a gorgeous, healthy little boy but how could my body possibly figure out that five days post-C-Section that it was time for a change? I’d heard of some women flaring after months or perhaps even several weeks but five days seemed especially cruel. I’d barely learnt to change a nappy in that time and all of a sudden it was time to worry about two people’s bowel movements! Why couldn’t I just have a little more time to get this mum stuff figured out first?

The link between hormones and Crohn’s

My second ‘why?’ was quite simply, why does this happen at all? We know so much about IBD but how do we not still understand the hormone connection and if there’s ever anyone who wants to test it then please use me as your subject! The hormonal connection with me and IBD is STRONG. I feel horrendous on my periods and felt awful during the 1st trimester of pregnancy-but incredible during the 2nd and 3rd. But if we know there’s a connection, why can’t we study it? And can’t you just give me a medicine that can replicate the pregnancy hormones to keep me ticking over-I’ll even take the morning sickness if I have to! OK, perhaps not!

Sleep and healthy eating are two things that help me with Crohn’s

What’s worse is because it’s so common, my IBD team have been reluctant to see me and decide a treatment plan until my little one is 10 weeks old, since digestion issues are common post-birth for anyone and it could settle. And some days it does seem like I’ve settled. Then some days it’s so much worse. Or perhaps it just feels worse; because before I could sleep it off or take a duvet day. Now sleep is far between and I can’t manage to find a way to stick to my healthy eating because all I want to do is have wine and chocolate to take the edge off. And gosh it seems particularly cruel that my stomach seems to be upset by wine, just when I’ve never needed it more? Sadly sleep and healthy eating are the two things that help me manage my Crohn’s the most and lower my stress-but I just can’t manage to do either!

Juggling a Crohn’s flare and motherhood

I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was incredibly tough juggling this with motherhood. I love my baby so much but I’m scared that I’m not going to be able to be the mother I want to be because of my Crohn’s and it puts into perspective my condition more than ever. Before I’d worry about getting ill in case it got in the way of my work or socialising but now I’m petrified I won’t be able to look after my little one and that I’ll end up with surgery or bed bound-and he’ll need me and I can’t be there. It’s something I never thought about much before deciding to have children. I thought about finances and living situation and childcare but I never thought: can my body cope with being a mom? I don’t think whatever the answer that I’d be put off having children but can empathise with those who feel it could just be one struggle too many.

For now, I am uncertain how my postpartum flare-up will pan out; all I can do is wait for things to get better.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.