I am going to give it to you straight.
Being pregnant was the easy part, no matter how often I complained about being tired, that weird pain in my leg, the swelling, well that was a breeze compared to dealing with your own body and a newborn. I know everyone is different and everyone will have different pregnancy and postpartum experiences, but here are some ‘truths’ from me to you.
- You need to look after you. Regardless of how labour went you will need to take care of yourself afterwards. That might mean caring for stitches, swelling, and general discomfort. My advice here is ask your significant other/parents/in-laws for help. For the first two weeks I would take the time each evening to take a salts bath, get ready for bed and just have a few minutes of me time. This helped with healing and gave me a mental breather at night (which I found the hardest knowing that I wouldn’t be in for a good nights sleep). This also gives you a moment alone to cry. I did cry (a lot) and it made me feel much better…
- Tired. Exhausted. Those are not strong enough words to describe how I feel. Babies wake up A LOT. According to stories from friends/family I actually have a good sleeper (meaning in between feedings I typically get 2 hours of sleep) many only get 30 mins to an hour. Also, remember when I said I was super tired when I was pregnant… well thats what naps are for…not so easy now.
- Your hormones will make you feel like crap. Mine have made me very prone to crying, feeling guilty and looking at my kid and thinking why have you done this to me. The bright side? Give it a few days/weeks and you should start to feel like yourself again. At about week 4 I was finally feeling a connection with baby B and was no longer thinking of shipping him away so I can sleep again.
- Getting your body back. After 9 long months I was excited to feel like me again. The good news is in the first week or so you will loose weight. I lost about 25 pounds in two weeks, so much so I was feeling pretty smug about getting my before baby body back. Then…I levelled out. Looks like the last 20 I am going to have to work for.
- Breastfeeding is no easy task. I gave it a solid 4 weeks before I threw in the towel. We had to start supplementing at the hospital just to get discharged, so this might be part of the reason it didn’t work out for me. Is breast best? Nope, keeping your kid healthy and alive is best. Remember that.
- Recovering takes time. Things I have figured out about myself recently…I am super impatient! I was recovering well, so I asked my midwife about getting back to the gym. She said I could start back, but not do certain movements (FINE! I’ll take it). So I have been back at the gym for a few weeks now and overall it feels great. Then I do some movements that you think would be fine and I again find myself in pain. I want to be 100% back, but I also must remind myself that I am only just over 8 weeks postpartum. Slow down and give yourself time to get back.
- Your significant other. In the 7 years we have been together I have never thought about D in such a negative way. When my hormones were going nuts it was as if he was navigating threw a war zone every time he spoke to me. Now that I have levelled out it is getting easier, but you still need to hold back from trying to correct your significant others every move. I want the help, but cringe sometimes as he doesn’t do things the way I would. Just be prepared, your relationship is truly tested when a newborn is in the house.
This new adventure called being a mom is nothing how I thought it would be. Some aspects are better than I thought, others are way harder than I could ever imagine. Either way, the whole thing is not as
scary bewildering as I thought it would be, it is amazing how you just figure it out and realize one day that you are naturally a pro.
If you are expecting and wondering about what is to come, I hope this puts you at ease and prepares you somewhat. Good luck new mommas!