With baby number 2 on the horizon, due to arrive in the next 7 weeks, I am feeling two things about the postpartum period. One is very reflective and two is the need to have ‘my house in order’, so to speak. I have found myself going back to my experience with a newborn for the first time and planning ways to be more prepared for what I know is coming.
There’s tonnes to expect, a lot that people do not and probably cannot prepare you for. Changes to your body, sleeping patterns, energy, attention/focus, relationships (with spouse, friends and family). It is extremely overwhelming, exhausting and it does take its toll if you do not manage the situation. Also if you are managing the situation, it is still a very difficult process to go through in the first few weeks of your baby’s life.
My own experience was traumatic. I was ill prepared. I didn’t even know the basic fact that I was going to have sleepless nights that could go past 12 weeks. I had no clue that I would have to wait 6 weeks to have sex again and also didn’t expect to not want to have sex for a WHILE. The postpartum phase starts when baby is born and continues to about 6 weeks of your baby being alive.
Postpartum depression is often spoken about and there is enough content online about how to identify and manage it. This is a good article on postpartum depression for further reading. What I think isn’t spoken about enough is just the postpartum struggle in general. How freaking hard it is. Below are the things I struggled with and I’m preparing myself mentally for:
Bonding with baby
The first time my baby and I made contact the emotion I had was a bit intimidating for me. I didn’t feel that initial amazing bond. I saw a little baby that I could barely hold in my arms confidently, staring at me with so many questions that I didn’t have answers to. I felt an overwhelming pressure to be perfect. And that set the tone for our postpartum period. I felt like a mess and like I was fumbling, trying to figure out who I was and what I was doing.
This time around I will give myself time to get used to being a mommy to this baby and to not feel the pressure of being perfect from the get go.
The painful nipple
I had a bad breastfeeding experience with baby no 1 but I will not dwell on this, you can read my experience here. I will say that I failed the first time, I plan to try this time around but I have an equal respect for formula feeding because fed is best. The PAINFUL nipple, let’s just take a moment of silent for the painful nipple. This is something that really freaks me out.
Nipple cream and ice packs will be my friends for this and I will put mind over matter. The pain does pass.
The constant crying
I generally can’t stand loud noises so the baby crying in the first few weeks really affected me. My daughter had colic (yes it was real colic, even if you do not believe in colic, I experienced it with baby no 1).
I eventually got used to the crying and so I will just keep calm and drink wine. The point is to remember that the baby crying is actually communication and not complaining that you are a crappy parent.
Hubby and I experienced some relationship blues. We sipped on relationship on the rocks for several months when baby came. I actually was preparing myself mentally for divorce. I must tell you, this is completely NORMAL. Speak to anyone that isn’t sitting on a high horse or isn’t married to Mr Perfect and they will tell you that it does take a toll on the relationship.
My husband and I have spoken about how we have been through it before and when I go into my psycho moments due to hormones he won’t take it personally. We are going to just be gentle and forgiving during the adjustment. We have a 3 year old toddler so this will be a bit different. I look forward to sharing my experience with you.
The lonely feeling
It did not matter how many people were around me during the postpartum period, there was still a feeling of loneliness inside me. Like I was the only one going through what I was going through. It wasn’t a constant feeling but it did show up from time to time.
Speaking to other moms going through the same or who had been through it did make me feel better. This time around I am going to embrace and own what a strong and powerful supermom I am. At the same time I will allow myself to cry when I need to and just feel the emotions for what they are.
The recovering body
A major thing I was not prepared for was the change that hit my body the first time. I didn’t expect it was going to be so different and uncomfortable. I was recovering from stitches, dealing with a throbbing vagina and hemorrhoids. My boobs and love handles had stretch marks which thankfully faded to at least 80% after some time. I still looked pregnant and OH the aches and the pains.
This time around I know what to expect so I will stock up on: Preparation H for the hermorrhoids, lots of epsom salt for my salt bath for the stitches and throbbing vajay. The new body will be embraced, loved and thanked for bringing out a little special human into the world again.
Wish me luck! Due date is currently 23 March, counting down each day 🙂