The postpartum period.
It’s scary, painful, exhausting, overwhelming, but above else — beautiful.
I’m about to become a mother of two. So, this isn’t my first go-around with postpartum.
With my firstborn, I had a very traumatic birth experience and an even more painful recovery. Postpartum is such a lonely and vulnerable time for a mom, especially a new one. While your OB talks about it, and you hear about it from friends and family, there’s really no way to prepare for it fully.
Knowing what my experience was like the first time, I’ve spent more time trying to prepare myself for the weeks that lie ahead. Here’s how I intend to make this postpartum different than the first.
Simply put, this means that after the baby is born, you spend 5 days in bed, 5 days on the bed, and 5 days near the bed. By doing this, you can give yourself a solid two weeks of focused, intentional rest. Trust me, I know what you’re thinking. I have a two-year-old at home and her plans do not include my staying in bed all day, every day. If you have other kids at home, you definitely won’t be able to do this without support, which is why this is such an important rule to follow! You NEED support.
Know The Signs
I spent four to five months wondering if I had those “baby blues” or if I was truly suffering from postpartum depression. In the end, it was definitely PPD. I let too much time go by without help and this put more stress on me than it should have. Now that I am fully aware of the difference (and so is my husband), we can be prepared if I start exhibiting signs of it.
Six weeks have flown by and it’s time for that six-week postpartum checkup with your OB. You may be dreading it and even want to cancel it. Don’t. This is the time to be honest, be blunt, and ask for help if you need it. You can fill out the surveys with a 1-10, but unless you speak up, your OB won’t truly know how to help you.
Nourish Your Family (and Yourself)
Let me point out that my husband is an amazing cook and fully capable of taking this task on. However, my husband will have a lot on his plate during this time, too. So this time around, we planned for a meal delivery service, like Hello Fresh, and we prepped a couple of freezer meals. We also added food delivery gift cards to our registry for those harder days.
Give Yourself Grace
Giving birth is no small task. Either way you do it, the recovery will be tough. Your body changes, your mindset changes, your mental health can take a toll, and now you have a new tiny human to take care of. If all you did was feed your baby for the day, you did an amazing job.
Postpartum is hard. I would argue it’s even harder than pregnancy. But it’s worth it and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You just need a little support to get there.
Resources for Moms:
- The Periscope Project: https://the-periscope-project.org/resources-for-mothers-and-families/
- Postpartum Support International: https://www.postpartum.net/
- Mindful Springs Counseling: https://mindfulsprings.com/perinatal-wellness-program/
- Children’s Hospital Colorado: https://www.childrenscolorado.org/doctors-and-departments/departments/psych/programs/mental-health-moms/