Giving birth can be one of the most rewarding times in any woman’s life, but the days (and weeks) following childbirth are no joke. Unfortunately, there is often so much focus on the pregnancy and giving birth that what happens afterward is somewhat ignored and brushed under the rug.
The fact is, postpartum life has many different presentations, and you are going to have ups and downs. This is absolutely normal! Some days, you may look down at your child and wonder how you brought such a perfect human into this world, and other days? It is reasonable to feel like the world’s biggest failure (even if you are not!).
Discussing postpartum life is a rite of passage for us women; it is like that instruction manual that everyone forgets to hand out, but that would improve our lives if given the chance to peruse it. Therefore, here is our version of the postpartum survival basic manual — and everything you need to know about postpartum life.
The Pain Is Real
To be blunt, everything will hurt after you give birth. Your body has just gone through a process of labor and it must recover from the trauma. Do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it, either. You are not less brave or capable of a momma for it, and asking for help allows you to focus more on your little one.
Do not try to white-knuckle through this pain, either, or try to endure it without pain relievers. Needing medicine is not a sign of weakness. Take as many as prescribed to help you cope with the pain. It is important that for these first days you are as comfortable as possible while you adapt to your new life with your baby.
Your Body Is Going To Change
After childbirth, it is likely that you will look in the mirror and you will not see what you are used to seeing. You will have to use huge compresses on your sensitive parts, you will have swollen and painful breasts, and can we talk about those dark circles due to your now-interrupted sleep routine?
This is all completely normal. Try not to dwell too much on it, as it is all part of the post-partum process. Tidy yourself up as you can, but if you do not have the time or the motivation, go easy on yourself. It is no big deal, and you can face glamming up when you are ready.
If you feel like it, put on a smudge of lipstick or some concealer. It takes only a couple of seconds, but it will do wonders for your self-esteem. Jewelry and beautiful pajamas will brighten your day, too, without compromising comfort.
It is the little things that will lift you up in the postpartum stage of your life. By embracing your new look, you can see yourself in the mirror and continue to feel good about yourself. Eventually these challenging days of the postpartum blahs come to an end, and things will gradually start to improve for you.
Breastfeeding Is Not Easy
You may not get the hang of breastfeeding the first time, and you may even feel guilty about it, or worry that your baby may be going hungry. Trust us: that is not the case, and you should never feel bad about your struggles with it.
Breastfeeding is hard for every new momma. It is not like those images in the media, where everything is happy and perfect. Seriously, you should not feel bad about it, and the reality is that many mothers struggle with breastfeeding, whether their milk supply is low or your baby does not want to latch.
It can take more than 10 days to establish correct breastfeeding, particularly learning the correct posture. You will see cracks in your nipples, and it might be uncomfortable. The risk of mastitis is also considerable, so you should take the time to educate yourself well.
Do not be afraid to ask for advice from your OB-GYN or any support group about breastfeeding, either. And above all, share everything with your loved ones and confide in them about your struggles. They are there for you. All this will be worth it once you see your baby start to grow and flourish under your love.
Your Emotions Will Go Haywire
One of the most complicated things that all new mothers have to deal with is this state of permanent emotional vulnerability, that desire to cry about anything, including stress, home duties, and even your intimate life. It is called baby blues, and it is a lot more common than you think.
What causes the baby blues? Typically, it is due to the increased secretion of hormones during labor, mixed with more than a little bit of insomnia and a hearty dose of enormous happiness with your new baby. The good news is that it typically only lasts about fifteen days.
However, if time passes and you are still feeling down, it is important to recognize the very real risk of postpartum depression. The dividing line between the baby blues and postpartum depression is very fine, but it is important to remain alert about it.
If you suspect that you may have postpartum depression, do not keep those feelings to yourself. It is more common than you may realize, affecting up to 10% of all new mothers. By confiding in your partner or your best friend, you can start the path of connecting with a healthcare professional to get you the much-needed postpartum depression treatment you deserve.
Enjoying Life As A New Mother
After these crucial and crazy weeks of postpartum life, you will see that step by step, everything will slowly start to feel “normal” (or as normal as the new mother life can be!) once more for you.
As the days pass, your baby will find their space within the family and, for you? Being a mother will become a unique and wholly rewarding experience. However, by taking the time to educate yourself about what to expect after childbirth, you can help make the most of this wonderful new time for you and your family.